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There are many great tools and exercises to train your legs, like barbell deadlifts, weight machines, dumbbells, bands, and kettlebells. But your body weight is a tool often neglected and forgotten in the chase for strong legs. 

Here’s the thing about bodyweight workouts, such as the bodyweight leg workout below—there is no need for fancy equipment, gym memberships, or driving to and from the gym. 

All you need is you, some time, and some willingness to get a sweat on. When you perform bodyweight workouts like the one below, it’s a great combination of cardio and strength to help you lose fat and gain muscle. 

And one of the best things about bodyweight workouts is they can be done in the comfort of your home. We’ll get into 13 bodyweight leg exercises for your leg workout and three bodyweight lower body workouts for your training pleasure. You can thank me later. 

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Benefits of Bodyweight Leg Workouts

The biggest knock against bodyweight workouts is it is difficult to measure improvement, and there comes the point when progression gets more challenging, too. But when time is an issue, and you don’t have access to weights, bodyweight leg workouts have a few benefits. 

Better Relative Strength

There are two types of strength: Absolute strength is how much weight you can lift and relative strength is how much you lift compared to your body weight. You will improve your relative strength whenever you do more reps with your bodyweight workouts.

resistance band squat

RELATED: Lower-Body Resistance Band Workout

Mix Between Strength and Cardio 

These bodyweight leg workouts will improve your relative strength, but because you’re working the bigger muscles of your legs, you’ll be training cardio, too. Improving your cardiovascular system by performing bodyweight leg workouts improves your aerobic system and your ability to do more work because of the improved efficiency of your cardio-respiratory system.

RELATED: Cardio Exercises At Home

No Time, No Equipment, No Problem

Bodyweight workouts are convenient and can be performed anywhere. Whether you lack time, lack access to equipment, or are looking to add variety to your workouts, bodyweight workouts are great. Because you are not using equipment, the transition time between bodyweight exercises is minimal, allowing you to do more work in less time. 

Warm-up for Leg Workouts

The primary purpose of a warm-up is to prepare your body and mind for exercise. As this is a bodyweight workout, there is no need for a time-consuming elaborate warm-up. Just a warm-up to get your core rocking, posture reset, and legs ready to go through a full range of motion with each exercise. 

RELATED: Best Warm-Up Exercises

This warm-up should do the trick nicely:

Dead bug 6 reps per side

Bodyweight leg lowering 6 reps per leg

Glute bridge 10 reps

Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch 30 seconds per side

Inchworm 6 reps

3 Bodyweight Leg Workouts

Here we’ll use supersets for muscle and strength, time for a cardio-based workout, and a circuit workout for beginners. Before doing any three bodyweight leg workouts, please perform the warm-up above. 

Leg Muscle Workout

Do 3-4 sets of each superset, resting as little as possible between exercises and 60-90 seconds between supersets.

Superset:

Jump squats 8-12 reps

Wall sit 30-60 seconds

Superset:

Reverse lunges 12-15 reps per side

Glute bridge 15-20 reps

Superset:

Side lunge 12 reps per side

Split squat 8-12 reps per side

Bodyweight Cardio Workout

Circuit: Each circuit goes for 5 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes after each circuit and do 3-4 rounds.

High knees 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds

Squats 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds

Alternating reverse lunges 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds

Bear crawl 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds

Alternating walking lunges 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds

Circuit Workout 

Circuit: Rest for 2 minutes after each circuit and do 2-3 circuits.

Squats 10-15 reps

High knees 15 reps per side

Glute bridge 15 reps

Split squats 8 reps per side

Wall sit 30 seconds

Bear crawl 15 reps per side

13 Movements for Bodyweight Leg Exercises

Here are 13 of the best bodyweight leg exercises for your training pleasure. 

Air Squat

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core. 

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart or in your preferred stance.
  2. Put your hands out in front of you, keeping your shoulders down and chest up.
  3. Squat down until your thighs reach parallel or lower.
  4. Push your feet into the floor and stand back up to the starting position. 
  5. Reset and repeat for desired repetitions.
Air Squat

Jump Squats

Muscles worked: quad, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lungs.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart or in your preferred stance.
  2. With your shoulders down and chest up, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Explode up so your feet leave the ground as you raise your arms above your head simultaneously.
  4. Land softly and reset and repeat for reps.
Woman doing squat jumps

Forward Lunge

Muscles worked:  Quads, glutes, and calves.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with the right foot and drop your left knee toward the floor until your right thigh is parallel with the ground. 
  3. Push your right foot into the floor and return to the starting position. 
  4. Either do all your reps on one side or alternate sides.
forward lunge demo

Reverse Lunge

Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Take a big step back with your left foot, sinking your left knee toward the ground.
  3. When your right thigh is parallel to the floor, reverse directions and bring your left leg forward to the starting position.
  4. Reset and repeat.
reverse lunge demo

Walking Lunge

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstring, and calves.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart in an upright stance.
  2. Take a big step forward with your left foot and drop your right knee until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. 
  3. Push through your left foot and bring your right leg forward to the feet-together position. 
  4. Repeat on the opposite side, walking forward with each rep. 
  5. Keep alternating sides for even reps on each side.

Split Squat

Muscles worked: Quads and glutes

How to do it:

  1. Begin in the half kneeling position, with your right knee underneath your hip and left ankle underneath your left knee. 
  2. Push through your left foot to stand up. This is the starting position.
  3. Drop your right knee toward the ground until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.
  4. Push through the left foot to return to the starting position.
  5. Do all your reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat.
Woman doing a split squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, and hip flexors.

How to do it:

  1. Place your right foot on a flat bench behind you and put your left foot in your preferred position. 
  2. Drop your right knee toward the floor until your left quad is parallel.
  3. Maintain a slight forward lean of the torso during the descent. 
  4. Push your left foot into the floor and rise to the starting position.
  5. Reset and repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.
bulgarian split squat

Side Lunge

Muscles worked: Glutes, adductors, hamstrings, and quads. 

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with good posture, with your feet together and your toes pointed forward.
  2. Take a big step laterally with your left leg.
  3. Push back into your left hip while keeping your right leg straight.
  4. You need to feel a stretch in your right inner thigh muscle.
  5. Push your left foot through the floor and return to the feet-together position.
  6. Alternate sides, or do all your reps to one side and then switch sides.
Med Ball Side Lunge

High Knees

Muscles worked: Quads and hip flexors.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend both of your arms to 90 degrees.
  2. Drive your right knee up then drive your left knee up.
  3. Stand tall as you drive your knees toward your chest.
  4. Keep alternating sides for time or reps.
person doing high knees

Duck Walk

Muscles worked: Lower abs, quads, glutes, and calves.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with an upright posture with your feet around shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat all the way down while keeping a neutral spine and your feet on the ground. 
  3. Keep your arms in front of you for balance.
  4. Take a step forward with one foot and then the other foot while maintaining the squat position.
  5. Alternate feet for time, distance, or reps.
Duck Walk

Bear Crawl

Muscles worked: Anterior and posterior core, hip flexors, quads, and deltoids. 

How to do it:

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  2. Press your hands into the ground, and hover your knees just above the ground.
  3. With your spine neutral, crawl forward by taking small steps with your right arm and left leg, then the left arm and right leg.
  4. Keep alternating sides for the desired reps, distance, or time.
bear crawl

Wall Sit

Muscles worked: Quads. 

How to do it:

  1. With your entire body against a wall, press your head, upper back, and lower back to the wall.
  2. Slide down the wall, walking your feet out until your thighs are parallel and your knees form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Hold for the desired time.
wall sit gif

Glute Bridge

Muscles worked: Glutes and hamstrings.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor with your heels on the ground and your lower back neutral. 
  2. Engage your core and drive through your heels to lift your hips and lower back off the floor. 
  3. Once your glutes are at lockout, slowly return to the ground, reset, and repeat.
glute bridge hold

Bodyweight Leg Workout: FAQ

​​Can you build legs with just bodyweight?

Yes, you can build leg strength with just body weight, but the key is to overload your legs progressively. Increase the intensity by adding more reps, sets, work in less time, pauses, or tempo—anything to increase your legs’ time under tension. 

What are some bodyweight leg exercises?

Some of the most popular bodyweight leg exercises are

Forward lunges
Single-leg deadlifts
Step-ups
Reverse lunges
Side lunges
Glute bridges
Squats
Single-leg calf raises

Can you do leg day without weights?

Weight makes strength training more straightforward, but you can do leg days without weights.  As long as you choose the leg exercises that work all the major lower body muscle groups with appropriate time under tension, adding muscle to your legs is possible using just body weight.

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