leg workout at home

5 Killer At Home Leg Workouts - No Equipment Needed

June 21, 2021

The largest muscles in the body are found below the waist so you might be thinking that you will need heavy weights to train them properly. The good news is that you can get a killer leg workout in with just your bodyweight. You can tweak the volume, angles and muscles targeted to get the most out of a no equipment at home leg workout. We will be providing 5 at home leg workouts that you can do, only using your bodyweight. All you need is a get up and go attitude, water and maybe a towel to wipe off all that sweat.

Look down at your legs, do you think they deserve a little more attention? Your legs are your mobility so you should train them as such. If faced with the option of taking the stairs up two flights or walking an extra few minutes to take an escalator up those same two flights, what would you choose?If you hesitated to answer that question you should read on.

leg workouts at home

Leg Muscles Anatomy

To train your legs properly you should first understand what the muscles are and their function in your lower body so you can form a solid body-mind connection before jumping into a leg workout.

We’re actually going to include hips and glutes here as they are important in lower body exercises. So, we will briefly touch on the anatomy and function of the hips, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

Let's start at the hips and work our way down to the calves.

Hips

One of the most flexible joints in the body, the hip is comprised of multiple muscles that are grouped together by their location and function. There are a total of four groups of muscles in the hip including abductor group, adductor group, posterior group and anterior group.  The muscles in the hip provide strength, stability and mobility to the hip joint and thigh bones. We won’t go into depth about all the muscles found in the hip but below is a general functioning of each group of muscles.

  • Abductor group: Found on the lateral side of the thigh, these muscles help with moving the thigh away from the center of the body. Spreading your legs to perform a split would be an example of when your abductor muscles are being used.
  • Adductor Group: Also, thought of as the groin muscles, these are located in the medial side of the thigh. They move the thigh in the opposite direction of the abductor group or in towards the center of the body. Used for lateral movements, a common injury suffered by athletes is overstretching these muscles leading to a groin pull. So remember, stretching is a must!
  • Posterior group: Responsible for straightening the thigh at the hip. This group includes the largest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus as well as the hamstrings group. All movements such as walking, standing, climbing stairs and running are supported by the contractions of the posterior muscle group.
  • Anterior Group: These muscles bend the thigh at the hip, including the iliopsoas group and quadriceps femoris group. Movements such as sitting or lifting your legs to kick a soccer ball or climb a ladder are supported by the contraction of this muscle group.

Glutes

Made of three muscles the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. These muscles help to keep our core and spine stable throughout various movements. You've probably noticed that the gluteal muscles have been in the spotlight in recent years especially with the rise of social media.

  • Gluteus Minimus: The smallest of the glute muscles, it helps to rotate the legs and stabilize the pelvis while moving.
  • Gluteus Medius: Located between the gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus, it also supports the rotation of the legs and stabilizing of the pelvis.
  • Gluteus Maximus: The largest of the gluteal muscles, it aids in creating force from the lower body and supports keeping you upright when standing or sitting. This muscle is the one that gets the most attention by defining the backside curvature.

More Resources on Gluteal Muscles:

Quadriceps

This strong and lean four headed muscle is located at the front of your upper legs. Working in unison, these muscles help with standing, walking and running while also keeping the kneecap stable. The quad muscle aids in the extension of the lower leg from the knee. The four heads of the quadriceps are as follows:

  • Rectus Femoris: This muscle partially covers the three vastus muscles and starts in the hip bone then attaches to the kneecap.
  • Vastus Intermedius: Found between the other two vastus muscles this is the deepest of the four muscles in your quads.
  • Vastus Medialis: Connects your femur to your kneecap, this tear drop shaped muscle runs along the inner thigh.
  • Vastus Lateralis: Found on the outside of the thigh, the largest of the four muscles connects the femur to the kneecap.

Hamstrings

Comprised of three muscles on the back of the thigh, the hamstring muscles help with knee and hip movements in squatting, walking, bending knees and tilting the pelvis. These muscles contract to bring your leg behind your body by bending the knees. Tendons connect the hamstring muscles to the bones of pelvis and knee. The three muscles of the hamstring are:

  • Semitendinosus: Found between the semimembranosus and the biceps femoris, it starts at the pelvis and extends to the tibia.
  • Semimembranosus: The largest of the hamstring muscles, it starts at the back of the thigh by the pelvis and stretches to the back of the tibia.
  • Biceps femoris: This long muscle starts at the thigh and reaches the head of the fibula on the outer thigh close to the knee.

Calves

Comprised of two muscles, the soleus and the gastrocnemius, the calf muscles are on the back of the lower leg. Both muscles join and merge at the base of the calf muscle then connect to the Achilles heel via strong connective tissue. These muscles are important for walking, running and jumping by lifting the heel, propelling us forward.

  • Gastrocnemius: The larger of the two calf muscles, it is comprised of two heads that create the infamous diamond shape.
  • Soleus: This is a flat muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius.

5 Killer At Home Leg Workouts with no Weights

Getting to the good stuff now, we pout together 5 brutal bodyweight leg workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home. The leg exercises included in these at home workouts range from beginner to advanced. Each exercise contains step by step how to, the difficultly level, muscles worked and the pertaiing workouts (found just below the workouts in this article).  These no equipment home leg workouts are spread amongst multiple training protocols as follows:

  • Workout #1: Traditional style leg workout where you will complete defined sets and reps of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise.
  • Workout #2: AMRAP style bodyweight leg workout where you will do as many reps as possible of each exercise.
  • Workout #3: Circuit style no weight leg workout where you will move from one bodyweight leg exercise to the next after finishing required reps. Once completing the round of exercises, you will have a short rest before moving onto the next round.
  • Workout #4: Ladder style bodyweight leg workout where you will complete supersets of bodyweight leg exercises with ascending and descending reps back-to-back.
  • Workout #5: Plyometric style leg workout where each exercise requires explosiveness.

Notes: You won’t need any actual equipment but some exercises will require a bench or chair that you can jump up on to so make sure it is sturdy and that you don’t mind getting it dirty. You will need enough space where you can take one large step forward and backward as well as to the sides.

As we always recommend; before beginning any workout you should include a 5–10 minute dynamic warmup and upon completion of the workout you should complete a 5-10 minute cool down or stretch.

#1: Traditional Leg Workout at Home

In this at home leg workout we structured it like a gym routine where you should complete 10 reps and 5 sets of each exercise listed. In this home leg workout, you will target all major muscles of the lower body including the hips and glutes. No rest between exercises. Take 1-2 minutes rest between each round.

  • Sumo Squats: 5 sets x 10 reps
  • Curtsy Lunge: 5 sets x 10 reps (10 reps each leg)
  • Elevated Hip Thrust: 5 sets x 10 reps (hold for 3 seconds)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat: 5 sets x 10 reps (10 reps each leg)
  • Glute Bridge with March: 5 sets x 10 reps (10 reps each leg)
  • Plie Calf Raises & Calf Raises Superset:  5 sets x 10 reps (10 reps each leg)

#2: 30 Minute AMRAP Leg Workout without Weights

In this leg AMRAP at home workout you will be doing 9 different leg exercises for 45 seconds each where you will do as many reps as possible then rest for 15 seconds before completing the next exercise. You will be doing two rounds of all 9 exercises with a brief rest of 1 minute between the three rounds. Try to improve your number of reps each round if possible.

  • Squats: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Lateral Lunge: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Plie Calf Raises: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Sumo Squats: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Front Lunges: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Calf Raises: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Split Squat: AMRAP x 45 seconds 
  • Curtsy Lunge: AMRAP x 45 seconds
  • Calf Jumps: AMRAP x 45 seconds

Note: If possible try to track how many of each exercise was completed to see you progression over time. 

#3: Squat Circuit Leg Home Workout

Squats are one of the best leg exercises you can do at home. Bodyweight squats are great for burning calories while targeting all the muscles in the lower body. In this squat circuit you will perform 6 squat variations.

Complete this bodyweight squat circuit by doing 20 squats of each exercise before moving on to the next with no breaks until you finish the 6th exercise. Rest up to 2 mins then continue until you’ve done 5 full circuits or a total of 600 squats.

  • Squat x 20
  • Split Squat x 20 (*10 each side)
  • Sumo Squat x 20
  • Hindu Squat x 20
  • Jump Squat x 20
  • In and Out Squat x 20

Note: Do 10 each side for split squats. Increase difficultly of this circuit by finishing the circuit in the fastest amount of time.

#4: Lunging Ladders  Home Leg Workout

This lunge leg workout isn’t for the faint of heart. You will complete ascending and descending ladders of four lunge variations. An ascending ladder is where you add one rep at a time (1-2-3...10) and a descending ladder you reduce one rep at a time(10-9-8...1).

In total you will be doing 400 lunges split into two sessions. Each session is made of two different lunges. Lunges are unilateral exercises where you will exercise one leg at a time. Therefore, you should focus on one leg from reps 1-10 then switch legs for reps 10-1.

Front Lunge x Curtsy Lunge

10 Front Lunge then 1 Curtsy Lunge-->followed by 9 Front Lunges 2 Curtsy Lunges.

Until you get to 1 Front Lunge and 10 Curtsy Lunges.

Then reverse this count until you get back to the original of 10 Front Lunges and 1 Curtsy Lunge.

Rest up to 3 mins

Reverse Lunge x Lateral Lunge

10 Reverse Lunges then 1 Lateral Lunge-->followed by 9 Reverse Lunges then 2 Lateral Lunges.

Until you get to 1 Reverse Lunge and 10 Lateral Lunges.

Then reverse this count until you get back to the original of 10 Reverse Lunges and 1 Lateral Lunge.

#5: Plyometrics Leg Workout at Home

Although the following exercises aren’t all technically all plyometrics, they are all about explosiveness and power. Each bodyweight leg exercise in this workout will involve jumping. That said, you should give it your all with each jump trying to get as much air as possible or as far as possible (lateral jumps). Each exercise will have four sets but varying number of reps in each set.

One Leg Box Jumps 4 sets x 4 reps (each leg)

Skaters 4 sets x 5 reps (each side)

Lunge Jumps 4 sets x 8 reps

Box Jumps 4 sets x 8 reps

Calf Jumps 4 sets x 15 reps

Rest up to 2 mins in between rounds

Note: Make sure you are aware of your energy levels especially when doing one leg box jumps and box jumps. if you are extremely winded take a short breather until you can safely perform the jumps.

Bodyweight Leg Exercises to do at Home

As promised, here are all the bodyweight leg exercises that were included in the 5 home leg workouts. Each exercise has a step by step how to, difficulty level and muscles worked.

1. Squats (Workouts #2, 3)

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your toes pointed out slightly.
  • Looking straight ahead, with your core engaged; slowly bend at the knees while dropping your hips like you are going to sit down
  • Once your thighs are parallel with the floor pause briefly then push through your heels until you are back to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

home leg workouts

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Hip Adductors, Calves, and Core

2. Split Squat (Workouts #2, 3)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Step forward with one foot like you are doing a lunge
  • Keeping your back straight, lower down until both knees are at 90 degrees
  • Push up until your return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

best home leg workouts

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads

Secondary muscles worked: Hip Adductors, Calves 

3. Sumo Squat (Workouts #1, 2, 3)

  • Stand in a wide stance with your toes pointing out at 45 degrees
  • Lower into a squat position by bending at the knees and dropping your hips until your thighs are parallel with the ground
  • Push up through your heels until you reach starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

home leg workout for men

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Inner Thigh (Quads & Hamstrings), Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hip Flexors, Calves, and Core

4. Hindu Squat (Workouts #3)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and raise arms out in front of you
  • Inhale while dropping your hips down and back towards the ground
  • At the same time lift your heels off the floor while reaching your arms behind you
  • As you try to touch your heels keep your core engaged while lengthening your spine
  • Briefly pause then exhale, lowering your heels and raising your arms up in front of you until you reach starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

home leg strengthening exercises

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Glutes, Quads, Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Hip Flexors 

5. Bulgarian Split Squat (Workouts #1)

  • Stand one step in front of a platform (chair/bench)
  • Reach back with your left leg placing the top of your foot on the platform behind you
  • Standing straight, slowly lower your left knee until it’s close to the ground
  • Push up through your front foot until you return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

leg exercises at home

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Hip Adductors, Calves

6. Jump Squat (Workouts #5)

  • Start in a squat position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  • Jump up as high as you can
  • Land softly on balls of your feet then lower down into a squat
  • Repeat for desired reps

home exercises legs

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Hips, Low back, Core

7. In and Out Squat Jump (Workout #3)

  • Start with feet hip width apart
  • Jump up, spreading your feet mid-air and landing with your feet wider than shoulder width apart
  • Lower down into a squat then push through the ground jumping up
  • Land softly back in starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

no equipment home leg exercises

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Hip Abductors

8. Front Lunge (Workouts #2, 4)

  • Stand with feet hip width apart
  • Step forward with your right leg then lower until your upper leg is parallel with the floor and left shin is parallel with the floor
  • Press through your right heel to return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

home leg workouts for mass

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Calves, Core

9. Curtsy Lunge (Workouts #1, 2, 4)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Step your right foot diagonally behind you while lowering your right knee to just above ground level
  • Return to starting position
  • Complete desired reps then switch sides

home leg day workout

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Hips, Core

10. Reverse Lunge (Workouts #4)
  • Stand with feet hip width apart
  • Step backwards with your right leg then lower until your shin is parallel with the floor and both knees are at 90 degrees
  • Press through the balls of your foot to return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

leg workouts at home without weights

Good for: Beginners to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Quads, Calves, Core

11. Lateral Lunge (Workouts #2, 4)

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart then step out to the side with your left leg
  • Squat down and back at a 45-degree angle towards your left leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor
  • Push up with your left foot to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

strengthen legs at home

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quadriceps, Hip Adductors, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Hip Abductors

12. Elevated Hip Thrusts (Workouts #1)

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and your calves resting on a platform (bench/chair)
  • Raise your hips until your body make a straight line from shoulders to knees, keeping your heels on the platform
  • Hold briefly at the top
  • Slowly lower to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

 can I build muscle with bodyweight leg exercises

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors

Secondary muscles worked: Calves, Quads, and Low Back to a lesser degree

13. Glute Bridge with March (Workouts #1)

  • Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip width apart and arms to your sides
  • Drive through your heels bringing your hips up until you’re in a bridge position
  • Holding the glute bridge position, lift one leg off the ground and bring that knee towards your chest
  • Then slowly lower that leg to starting position and lift the other leg as if you are marching in air. Keep core engaged without dropping your hips
  • Repeat desired reps

do leg exercises burn fat

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Glutes, Hamstrings

Secondary muscles worked: Core, Hips

14. Plie Calf Raises (Workouts #1, 2)

  • Start in a sumo squat position, feet spread wide with toes pointing outwards
  • Push through your toes and raise your heels off the floor by squeezing your calves
  • Slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

home leg workout for women

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Glutes, Inner Thigh (isometric) 

15. Calf Raises (Workouts #1, 2)

  • Stand with feet hip width apart
  • Press up through the balls of your feet so your heels come off the ground as high as you can
  • Briefly pause at the top then lower to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps

easy home leg workouts

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Calves

16. One Leg Box Jumps (Workouts # 5)

  • Set up a sturdy platform (box, chair, bench) about 6 inches in front of you
  • Stand on your right foot while raising your left leg off the ground with a bent knee
  • Swing your arms and bend your right knee slightly then immediately push through the ball of your right foot jumping up onto the platform in front of you
  • Land on the platform on one foot
  • Drop back down to the ground but make sure to land softly on both feet
  • Repeat for desired reps then switch sides

 leg exercises

Good for: Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Hips, Core

17. Skaters (Workout #5)

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart
  • Bring one leg behind you at an angle into a reverse lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees
  • Swinging your arms in front of your bent knee and jump to back leg forward, switching sides
  • Alternate swinging your arms as you jump side to side, resembling a speed skater motion

how can I get bigger legs at home

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes

Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, Calves, Hips, Core

18. Lunge Jumps (Workout #5)

  • Start in a lunge position
  • Explosively push through both feet, jumping into the air. While in mid air switch your leg positions and arms
  • Land softly and drop into deep lunge
  • Repeat for desired reps alternating back and forth

best home leg workouts

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Hip Flexors

Secondary muscles worked: Hips, Core 

19. Box Jumps (Workout #5)

  • Set up a sturdy platform (box, chair, bench) about 6 inches in front of you
  • Stand with both feet hip width apart
  • Bend your knees slightly, swing your arms and immediately push through the balls of your feet jumping up onto the platform in front of you
  • Land on the platform on both feet
  • Drop back down to the ground but make sure to land softly on both feet

home leg routine

Good for: Intermediate to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Secondary muscles worked: Hips, Core

20. Calf Jumps (Workout #2, 5)

  • Stand on the balls of your feet with feet hip width apart
  • With a slight bend in your knees push through the ground jumping as high as you can
  • Land softly on the balls of your feet
  • Repeat for desired reps

bodyweight leg workout at home

Good for: Beginner to Advanced

Primary muscles worked: Calves

Bodyweight Leg Exercises FAQs

Can you build leg muscle without weights?

Yes, it is possible to build leg muscle with bodyweight leg exercises. To build muscle without weights you must make your workouts progressively more intense. You can do this through a number of methods including increasing volume, shortening rest time, hitting different angles of various exercises and using other training methods such as AMRAP, drop sets and supersets. Progressive overload principles also apply to bodyweight exercises.

Beginners to exercise can definitely pack on some lean leg muscle from leg exercises without weights. However, it will be a little more difficult for regular weightlifters to put on muscle by performing bodyweight exercises. To make bodyweight leg workouts more difficult and effective, try adding in some unilateral and plyometric exercises.

What are the best leg exercises with no weights?

The best leg exercise you can do with no equipment is the modest squat. While it might not seem like an Earth-shattering answer, squats are one of the best bodyweight leg exercises you can do. Squats work all the major muscles of the lower body including glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Doing air squats can actually build lean muscle if following progressive overload methods, plus squats can help to improve balance as you can engage your core during the movement to keep the form and technique up to par. Lastly, squats help to burn tons of calories if done at a high pace.

Related: 26 Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

Is training legs good for weight loss?

A big yes! Leg training with or without equipment will help you burn an immense number of calories. The largest muscles in your body are found in your lower body so when you work them out your body requires more energy to fuel them. The heart has to work harder to pump blood to these large muscle groups therefore turning you into a fat burning furnace.

What exercises burn the most leg fat?

Many people ask how they can reduce fat in their thighs, but the unfortunate answer to this question is that spot targeting bodyparts for fat loss is a myth. The best way to reduce leg fat is to burn more calories, eat healthier and gain lean muscle. With that being said we find the best leg exercises to burn fat and add muscle are squats, lunges and plyometrics. The good thing is that there are numerous variations of these exercises so you should never get bored while also hitting different muscles within the major muscle groups of the legs.

Related: How Many Calories do Squats Burn?

What’s the best exercise to strengthen legs?

The best exercises to strengthen legs are usually considered the squat and deadlift. Both of these leg exercises require major muscles to work together as one. So, as these large muscles are recruited to work in unison, they produce more force. There’s a reason why powerlifters consider both squats and deadlifts two of the quintessential lifts to display strength and power. Considering this article is about no weight at home leg exercises, we would have to give the competitive edge to squats for strengthening legs.

 bodyweight  leg exercises

CONCLUSION

We take for granted the amazing gift of being bipedal and all too often we don’t use our legs as much as we should. It’s no excuse to skip leg day just because you might be stuck at home with no weights.

At home leg workouts can seriously kick your butt into shape. We often get asked, “how can I workout my legs at home if I don’t have any weights?”. The answer; do enough bodyweight leg exercises to make you regret asking that question in the first place.

Related: 9 At Home Workout Plans to Build Strength

Related: How to Workout at Home Effectively?

Related: 9 Best Tibialis Anterior Stretches & Exercises



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