Bodyweight Leg Exercises for Mass, Strength and Power

Are you looking for effective ways to tone your lower body without hitting the gym? Bodyweight leg exercises are a great way to build strength, improve flexibility, and sculpt your legs and glutes.

Strong legs are vital for full-body fitness, athletics, and physical performance, as well as overall health and well-being.

It will bring you a whole new world of leg strength, taking your home leg workout to the next-level and burning up those thighs, quads, and calves.

In this article, I’ll discuss the following:

Table of Contents

Leg Anatomy

The leg is divided into the upper leg (thigh) and lower leg (calf).

  • The upper leg consists of one bone, the femur
  • Whereas the lower leg consists of two bones, the tibia (located on the big-toe side) and fibula (on the little toe side).

The legs consist of dozens of muscles that flex, bend, extend, adduct, abduct, and rotate your legs and allow movement.

This ultimate bodyweight leg exercise focuses on all four main muscle groups — the quadricepshamstringsglutes, and calves.

Understanding how they all fit together and work with each other will ensure you get the most out of your bodyweight leg workout.

Leg Muscle Anatomy

Quadriceps

The quadriceps femoris, located in front of the thigh, has four separate heads: 

  • Vastus medialis 
  • Rectus femoris  
  • Vastus lateralis 
  • Vastus intermedius 

Hamstrings

The hamstrings, located behind the thigh, are a group of three muscles that originate from the ischium bone of the pelvis: 

  • Biceps femoris
  • Semimembranosus
  • Semitendinosus 

Gluteals

The gluteus maximus arises from a large area on the rear of the pelvic bone, passes down behind the hip joint, and attaches to the upper femur. This powerful muscle causes hip extension.

Calves

The lower leg contains 10 different muscles. The calf comprises two muscles: The gastrocnemius and Soleus.

Other thigh muscles include the following: Hip adductors (Inner thigh), hip abductors, hip flexors.

This blog contains detailed descriptions of all major bodyweight leg exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, and Calf muscles.

How to Choose the Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

When it comes to bodyweight leg exercises, most people just go straight for the squat once they’ve got their basic bodyweight squat down, and they think that’s all there is.

But the exercises you choose to spend your efforts on should correspond directly with what you need to work on for your particular goals.

Instead of just picking random exercises to work on, we’ve included exercises that address one or more of the following key points like improving muscle mass, strength, endurance, Power, and speed.

In the exercise descriptions below, you’ll see recommendations for exercises for all lower body parts.

That way, you’re not wasting your efforts, and you’re building the specific attributes you need for your life. Win-win!

Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises For Mass and Strength

Here are our best bodyweight leg workouts to help you start off on the right foot and make your leg day much more interesting.

  1. Bodyweight Squat
  2. Bodyweight Sumo Squat
  3. Lunges
  4. Inverse leg curl
  5. Sissy Squat
  6. Step Up
  7. Hip Bridge
  8. Good Morning Exercise
  9. Jump Squat
  10. Hip Thrust
  11. Bulgarian Split Squat
  12. One-Arm Bench Dip
  13. Jumping Rope
  14. Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise
  15. Squat Hold Calf Raises

1. Bodyweight Squat

If you’re looking for straightforward bodyweight leg exercises to add to your routine, the bodyweight squat is a great staple exercise to get you started.

The bodyweight squat is a strengthening exercise that can be performed virtually anywhere with no equipment and limited space. It’s a highly functional movement, working all the major muscles of the legs.

It’s important for beginners to learn the bodyweight squat before progressing to weighted squats.

Beginner Variation of Bodyweight Squat

  • Wall Squat (using a wall for support)
  • Chair Squat (squatting down to touch a chair before standing up)
  • Bodyweight Box Squat (squatting down onto a box or bench)

Beginner Variation of Bodyweight Squat

  • Pistol Squats (single-leg squats)
  • Plyometric Squats (explosive jumps at the top of the squat)
  • Prisoner Squats (hands behind your head)
Bodyweight Sumo squat

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Your knees and feet should be pointing in the same direction.
  3. Raise your arms out in front of you for balance (or you can leave them by your side)
  4. Keep your head up and torso upright.
  5. Inhale as you squat by simultaneously flexing your hips and knees, making sure to descend at least until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  6. Exhale as you return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your back straight, head up, and torso upright.
  • Don’t allow your knees to push too far forward.
  • Make the bodyweight squat more difficult by pulsing at the bottom of the squat.

2. Bodyweight Sumo Squat

The Sumo Squat is one of the other great exercises for your bodyweight leg workout. It is a variation of a standard squat. The key difference in this squat is that you take a wider stance and position your feet turned out.

While all squats work the glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and calves, the leg positioning of the sumo squat works the inner thighs as well.

When performed in high volume, the sumo squat is a great movement option for a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.

  • Beginner variations: Sumo Squat Pulse
  • Advance variations: Jump Sumo Squats, Sumo Squat with Calf Raise
Bodyweight Sumo squat

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turn your feet out, externally rotating your hips.
  2. You can keep your hands clasped together at your chest or open hands in front of your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in, then push your hips backward, lowering into a squat.
  4. Keep your core tight, back straight, and knees forward.
  5. Pause, then exhale and make sure you’re pushing through your heels and engaging your inner thighs as you come back to your starting position.

Tips

  • The lower back should have a natural arch with chest out.
  • Keep your abs tight throughout exercise.

3. Lunges

Bodyweight Lunges are an excellent leg exercise to build thigh muscles and glutes. Along with squats, lunges are highly recommended to build mass in your butt and quad muscles.

It requires good balance, so if you have issues keeping your balance, start off by doing the lunges exercise without weights as you learn the proper form.

Beginner Variation of Bodyweight Lunge

  • Walking Lunges (moving forward with each lunge)
  • Static Lunges (holding the lunge position without moving)

Advance Variation of Bodyweight Lunge

  • Jumping Lunges (switching legs mid-air)
  • Lateral Lunges (stepping to the side instead of forward)
  • Clock Lunges (stepping in different directions, like 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock)
Bodyweight Lunges

How To Do

  1. Keep your arms by your sides and stand upright.
  2. Keeping your back straight, take a step forward, bending your knees and getting them as close to the floor as possible.
  3. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot.
  4. Keep alternating the leg with which you lunge.

Tips

  • Bend as far and low as possible without losing form.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

4. Inverse leg curl

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with bodyweight exercises for the leg, why not try Inverse leg curl.

It is an unconventional hamstring exercise that isn’t common, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

The inverse leg curl (bench support) uses your body weight to work the hamstrings and is just as, if not more, challenging to do.

Inverse leg curl

How To Do

  1. Get on your knees and anchor the back of your heels under a bench or a barbell.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest or you can keep them by your sides.
  3. Inhale as you allow your body to slowly fall forward, controlling the descent as much as you can with your hamstrings.
  4. At the bottom of the movement, catch your body with your arms and lower your torso to the floor, as if performing a knee push-up.
  5. Exhale as you push your torso back up and off the floor just enough until your hamstrings can take over and pull your body back up to a vertical position.

Tips

  • Use your arms as minimally as possible.
  • To protect your knees, use a mat.

5. Sissy Squat

The sissy squat is a top leg mainly quad building bodyweight exercise, that also works on your hip flexors and strengthens your core simultaneously.

While doing that exercise, act as if you were kneeling on the ground without moving your upper body. The only moving part of your body is the lower portion of the leg.

To add resistance, hold a weight plate on your chest with the arm that is not stabilizing your body.

Sissy Squat

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart and hold on to something sturdy that can support you.
  2. The best way to do sure this exercise is executed correctly is to try to keep your hips and back straight.
  3. Bend at the knees and lean the body backwards so that the tension comes into the front of your thighs.
  4. Lower back as far as you can, keeping a neutral spine throughout.
  5. You should form a straight line from your knees to your head.
  6. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Use dumbbells or a weight plate to make the exercise more challenging.
  • Keep your back and hips straight.

6. Step Up

The step-up is a great exercise for building legs strength and power. This exercise targets quads and also involves calves and glutes & hip flexors.

The step-up is a great all-round exercise that is perfect for all, since it can be modified to create a challenging workout for anyone, whether you have just started exercising or have been training for years.

You could also try the following variation to make it more challenging.

  • Weighted Step-Up
  • Single-Leg Step-Up
Bodyweight Step Up

How To Do

  1. Place a knee-high box or bench in front of you.
  2. Stand with your feet in a comfortable hip-width stance.
  3. Step forward with one leg onto the step and drive through that thigh to bring your body upward.
  4. Bring the trailing leg to the top of the step and stand on the box.
  5. Then step back with the opposite leg to the floor and lower yourself.
  6. Alternate legs with each rep.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Control the movement, using your muscles to slowly lift and lower yourself.
  • Be sure to keep your low back in its natural arch and your upper body upright throughout the whole movement.
  • Keep your body upright and your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.

7. Hip Bridge

Strong glutes and hip muscles are essential for various athletic activities, including running, jumping, and change of direction movements

A hip bridge, also known as a glute bridge, is a good starter move for glutes, hip, hamstring, and low back muscles.

Research shows high gluteal muscle activity during a single-leg bridge compared to other gluteal strengthening exercises.

To make bodyweight leg workouts more interesting and challenging, try experimenting with:

  • Stability Ball Hip Bridge
  • Weighted Hip Bridge
  • Marching Hip Bridge
Hip Bridge

How To Do

  1. Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
  4. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in, so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  5. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.

Tips

  • Do not push with your arms.
  • Don’t overextend your back during the exercises, this may cause lower back pain.
  • To make the Hip bridge exercise more difficult, hold a weight plate on your lap.

8. Good Morning Exercise

The good-morning is one of the best bodyweight leg exercises for mass and strength. It primarily targets the muscles of the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.

  • The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position,
  • While the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension.

In this exercise, you bend forward at the hips while holding a barbell or without weight, and then you return to an upright position.

Good Morning Exercise

How To Do

  1. Stand holding a stick (or Weight) on the back of your shoulders, grasping the stick at each side.
  2. It can also perform the exercise as in the bodyweight version.
  3. Keeping your knees slightly flexed and your back and neck neutral.
  4. Inhale as you flex your hips to lower your torso until it is close to or fully horizontal.
  5. Exhale as you raise your torso back up to the starting position by extending your hips.
  6. Complete the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your back and neck neutral throughout the exercise.
  • It is recommended that the lifter avoid rounding (flexing) or rotation (twisting) at any point during the movement.
  • Keep the movement slow, the form strict, and the weight light.
Read More: 15 Best Hamstring Exercises For Mass And Strength

9. Jump Squat

Jump squats also known as squat jumps are the power—packed HIIT version of squats.

And their variations help shed fat from the body, tone your butt and legs, and improve strength and balance.

Squat jumps are a great leg exercise to include in-home workouts since they can be done in a small space without any equipment.

For a more advanced version, try:

  • Tuck Jump Squat: Perform a jump squat, and at the peak of your jump, bring your knees up towards your chest, tucking them in before landing.
  • Broad Jump Squat: Begin with a squat, then explode forward into a long jump, immediately going into a squat upon landing.
Jump Squat

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Quickly drop down by bending at the knees and hips, letting your glutes track backward to lower yourself into a squat.
  3. At the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, quickly and explosively reverse direction, driving up through your heels and the balls of your feet to lift your body off the floor as high as possible.
  4. Land with soft knees and immediately lower into the next rep.

Tips

  • Keep your head up and your torso upright.
  • Don’t perform this exercise with cold muscles. Do a cardio warm up before it.
Know Your Fat Loss Calories Requirement: Weight Loss Calculator

10. Hip Thrust

The hip thrust is a popular exercise which is used to target the glutes and hamstrings for muscle and strength-building purposes.

Now, a lot of people are afraid to perform this movement or just not interested since it requires a little setup, and may even look a little funny.

Try doing more challenging bodyweight hip trust leg workouts.

  • Single-Leg Hip Thrust
  • Band-Resisted Hip Thrust
Hip-Thrust

How To Do

  1. Lie down on a bench with your shoulder blades against the bench and your bottom on the floor.
  2. Spread your arms out on either side of you so that they’re resting on the bench.
  3. Bend your knees and, place your feet flat on the floor, approximately shoulder-width apart.
  4. Keeping your torso rigid, and core tight, and then lift your hips off the ground while engaging your glutes.
  5. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your glutes.
  6. Inhale as you lower the thigh by flexing your hips.

Tips

  • Ensure that your neck stays neutral throughout the exercise.
  • Make sure your bench is secure and won’t move before trying hip thrusts.
  • Keep your torso rigid. Your back shouldn’t arch, and your pelvis shouldn’t tilt.
  • All the movement should occur in your hips.

11. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat also known as the single-leg split squat is one of the best bodyweight leg exercises.

It is an effective auxiliary exercise for improving your squat and lunge. It is also great for enhancing your balance and developing unilateral functional strength.

To promote equal contralateral strength (equal strength in both sides), start with your weak leg, and do not do more repetitions with your strong leg.

  • Beginner variation: Supported Bulgarian Split Squat.
  • Advanced variation: Bulgarian Split Squat on Bosu Ball
Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squats

How To Do

  1. Keep your arms by your sides, and stand with your back facing the side of a bench.
  2. There should be three or four feet of space between you and the bench.
  3. Extend one leg backward and place the top of your foot on the bench so that your body is being supported by only one leg.
  4. Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you squat down with your supporting leg until the knee of your back leg nearly touches the floor.
  5. Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position, driving through your heel.
  6. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise with your opposite leg.

Tips

  • When you squat, your front knee should not pass your toes.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

12. One-Arm Bench Dip

The one-arm bench dip is a challenging and very effective movement that primarily targets your triceps, but your glutes and quads also get worked secondarily.

Now, this is not a beginner’s exercise or for someone who does not have adequate upper body strength.

One-arm bench dip

How To Do

  1. Place your hands (palms) on the side of a flat bench with your back straight, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor
  2. Slide your buttocks off the bench. Raise your left arm and right leg straight out in front of you.
  3. Your bodyweight should be being supported by your right arm and left leg.
  4. Inhale as you flex your elbow to lower your body until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulder.
  5. Exhale as you extend your elbow to push your body back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and repeat the exercise with your left arm.

Tips

  • Keep your body upright and your back straight.
  • Keep your elbow close to your body and do not flare out.
  • To make the one-arm bench dip easier, keep both feet on the floor.

13. Jumping Rope

Jumping rope utilizes muscles that the seated calf raises miss. It builds endurance for the calf muscles, as well as strength and coordination.

Furthermore, jumping rope provides endless variations to keep the exercise challenging.

To jump rope, the individual must first make sure that the rope is the appropriate length for their height.

Jumping Rope

How To Do

  1. Hold the rope while keeping your hands at hip level.
  2. The knees must remain slightly bent, to land softly and to keep it from locking.
  3. Rotate your wrists to swing the rope and jump.
  4. The rope is flicked over the head and passed under the feet by pushing the toes into a quick but gentle hop.
  5. Jump with both feet at the same time, one foot at a time, alternating between feet, etc.
  6. Repeat until the set is complete.

Tips

  • Keep the upper body straight, knees slightly bent, and jump on the balls of your feet.
  • Engage your abs, loosen your shoulders and turn the rope only with your wrists, not the entire arms.
  • For a low-impact exercise, focus on doing faster and smaller jumps.

14. Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise

Bodyweight calf raise exercises are an effective way of strengthening your calves because the calf muscles take on so much of your bodyweight. 

They only use bodyweight, so they’re a really convenient calf exercise that you can do that home, or pretty much anywhere.

Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise

How To Do

  1. Stand up straight with your feet facing forward and placed hip-width apart.
  2. Keep a slight bend in your knee and hold your hands by your side
  3. Raise your heels by pressing the balls of your feet into the ground.
  4. You should move your body upwards until you’re standing on your toes.
  5. Hold this position and then slowly lower your heels back to the ground.

Tips

  • Pause and squeeze for a count of 1-2 at the top of the movement for added intensity.
  • Keep the balls of your feet on the edge of the block/step. If you allow the balls of your feet to come in more, the exercise becomes easier.
Know More: Bodyweight Calf Raise To Build Mass And Strength Of Calves

15. Squat Hold Calf Raises

Squat hold calf raises works the soleus muscles more than the gastrocnemius, but a considerable amount of force is still produced by the latter.

This exercise is performed by having the individual assume a squat position, with the feet shoulder width apart, and hands in front or placed on the hips.

While maintaining the squat position, the individual pushes up to stand on their tip toes and then back down to the ground.

Squat-Hold-Calf-Raises

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet about three to four feet apart, toes turned out.
  2. Bring your hands together in front of your chest
  3. Squat down by bending at the knees and hips, letting your glutes track backward to lower yourself into a squat.
  4. Raise your heel off the floor, and squeeze your calves.
  5. Repeat until the set is complete.

Tips

  • Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and maintain your knees in line with your toes.
  • Don’t perform this exercise with cold muscles. Do a cardio warm up before it.

Bonus: Curtsy Lunge

The curtsy lunge targets the quadriceps and glutes, similar to the regular lunge. However, it also activates additional muscles during the movement.

As you cross your leg behind and to the side, the gluteus medius on the supporting leg is activated.

This muscle plays a key role in stabilizing the hip. Additionally, the hip adductors, responsible for bringing the thighs together, are engaged during the curtsy lunge.

Curtsy Lunge

How To Do

  1. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step your right foot diagonally behind your left leg, crossing it behind you as if you were doing a curtsy.
  3. Bend both knees and lower your body down towards the ground.
  4. Aim to bring your right knee close to the floor while keeping your left knee directly above your left ankle.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the same movement with your left foot, stepping diagonally behind your right leg.

Tips

  • Focus on maintaining proper alignment throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your knees tracking in line with your toes to prevent strain on the joints.
  • Keep your upper body upright with your chest lifted and core engaged.
  • Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner to maximize muscle activation.

Benefits of bodyweight leg exercises

Before we dive into the exercises themselves, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of bodyweight leg exercises. First and foremost, bodyweight exercises are convenient.

You can do them anytime, anywhere, without any equipment.

Here are some key advantages:

1. Strength and Muscle Development

Bodyweight leg exercises engage multiple muscle groups in the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Regular leg exercise regimens can enhance leg strength and lower body muscle development, resulting in a stronger, more toned leg.

2. Functional Fitness

Strong legs are essential for performing everyday activities with ease. Bodyweight leg exercises mimic real-life movements, such as squatting, lunging, and jumping, which improve your functional fitness.

This means you’ll have better stability, balance, and mobility in your daily life and activities.

3. No Equipment Required

One of the greatest advantages of bodyweight leg exercises is that they allow you to do them anywhere, anytime, without the need for any equipment.

Whether you’re at home, traveling, or outdoors, you can always rely on these exercises to maintain your leg strength and fitness.

4. Improved Joint Health

Leg exercises help to strengthen the muscles around your knees, hips, and ankles, providing better support to these joints.

Strengthening the leg muscles can alleviate stress on the joints, reduce the risk of injuries, and promote better joint stability and overall joint health.

5. Increased Metabolic Rate

Leg exercises, especially compound movements like squats and lunges, engage large muscle groups.

According to a study, leg exercises stimulate the release of growth hormone and increase your metabolic rate, leading to greater calorie burning during and after your workout.

This can support weight management and fat loss goals.

6. Enhanced Athletic Performance

Strong legs are essential for athletes and sports enthusiasts.

It improves power, speed, agility, and explosiveness, which can enhance performance in activities like running, jumping, cycling, and various sports.

7. Convenience and Versatility

Bodyweight leg exercises offer a variety of options and variations to target different leg muscles and accommodate different fitness levels.

From squats and lunges to step-ups and plyometrics, you can tailor your workout to your preferences and goals.

8. Core Engagement

Several bodyweight leg exercises require core stabilization to maintain proper form and balance.

Furthermore, strengthening your leg muscles will also strengthen your core muscles, resulting in improved stability and posture.

9. Time Efficiency

Bodyweight leg exercises can be used in HIIT or circuit training workouts to make your workout more efficient in a shorter amount of time.

It is possible to achieve a full lower body workout by targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

10. Scalability and Progression

You can easily scale and progress bodyweight leg exercises to suit your fitness level, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast.

You can modify the exercises by adjusting the repetitions, adding resistance bands, or progressing to more challenging variations as you gain strength and proficiency.

Benefits of Warm Up Before Leg Workout

Effective warm-up exercises are crucial for preparing your leg for a workout, reducing the risk of injury, and enhancing performance.

A proper warm-up can benefit your body in several ways, including:

  1. Increases blood flow to the muscles.
  2. Raises the body temperature and improves muscle flexibility.
  3. Enhances mental focus and attention.
  4. Reduces the risk of injury by preparing the body for exercise.

Warm-up exercises can include activities such as jogging, High knees, jumping jacks, cycling, or dynamic stretching.

It’s recommended that you warm up for at least 5–10 minutes before any leg workout

Cool-Down and Stretching After Bodyweight Leg Workout

Cool down and stretching are important parts of a workout that are often overlooked, but they are important for helping your body recover properly after exercise.

  • Cool-down refers to the gradual decrease in intensity at the end of a workout.
  • Stretching, on the other hand, is the act of elongating muscles to increase flexibility and range of motion.

The benefits of cool-down and stretching after exercise include:

  • Reducing muscle tension and increasing range of motion
  • Improving flexibility and preventing muscle soreness and stiffness
  • Promoting relaxation and reducing stress
  • Helping to flush out metabolic waste products from the muscles, which can improve recovery
  • Reducing the risk of lightheadedness or fainting after exercise.
  • It helps to prevent muscle imbalances and postural problems
  • Improving overall athletic performance by preparing the body for the next workout.

Best Stretching Exercises for Leg

Here is a list of exercises for cool-down and stretching after a leg workout:

  • Standing quad stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Butterfly stretch
  • Seated forward bend
  • Lizard pose
  • Pigeon pose
  • Frog pose
  • Wall calf stretch
  • Hip flexor stretch.

How To Design A Bodyweight Leg Workout Program

Structuring a leg workout program involves several key factors to consider, including exercise selection, volume, frequency, and progression. 

Here are some tips for structuring an effective leg workout program with bodyweight exercises:

Exercise Selection

Choose a variety of exercises that target different parts of the leg muscles, such as the quad, hamstring, glutes and calf muscles.

Volume

The volume of your workout program refers to the number of sets, reps, and exercises performed in each workout. 

A good starting point is to perform 3–4 sets of each exercise for 8–12 reps.

Frequency

How often you perform leg workouts depends on your fitness level and goals.

  • For beginners, 1-2 leg workouts per week are recommended
  • While advanced lifters may benefit from 2-3 leg workouts per week.

Progression

Progression refers to gradually increasing the weight, reps, or sets over time to promote muscle growth and adaptation.

This can be achieved by increasing the weight lifted, increasing the number of reps performed, or decreasing rest time between sets.

Recovery

Adequate rest and recovery are important for muscle growth and injury prevention.

Make sure to allow for at least one day of rest between leg workouts, and prioritize sleep, nutrition, and hydration to support recovery.

Bodyweight Leg Exercises For Mass, Power and Endurance

In order to program these exercises well, you gotta get clear on what your goal is.

Do you care more about speed or endurance? Setting PRs in these particular exercises or building generally useable strength?

Once you’re clear, this table will help you work them into your routine:

GoalRecommended Sets/Reps
Mass• 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps
• Rest 60 seconds to 2 minutes between sets
Pure Strength• 4-8 sets of 1-5 reps
• Rest 2-3 minutes between sets
Endurance• 2-5 sets of 12-25 reps
• Rest 60-90 seconds between sets
Power and Speed• 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (but it will depend on when your explosiveness starts to fail)
• Rest at least 2 minutes between sets

Sets And Reps For Leg Exercises

The number of sets and repetitions will vary depending on your fitness level, but this is a solid foundation for your workouts.

Sets

  • Beginners (with a year or less of training) should aim for about 12 weekly sets.
  • An Intermediate trainee (with two to four years of training) can increase the volume to 16 sets per week.
  • An advanced trainee (four or more years of training) may be able to get in up to 20 weekly sets.

When a certain amount of volume stops working and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase the volume and use that to make progress again. 

Reps

The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6–8 reps with heavy load
  • 8–15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges for the exercise to be effective.

Sample Leg Workout Plans Without Equipment

Please note that these are just examples, and it’s important to customize a workout plan to fit your individual needs, abilities, and goals.

At Home Bodyweight Leg Workout

ExerciseSets x RepsRest
Bodyweight squats 3 x 860-90 sec
Lunges 3 x 1060-90 sec
Glute bridge 3 x 1060-90 sec
Calf raises 3 x 860-90 sec

Intermediate Bodyweight Leg Workout

ExerciseSets x RepsRest
Squats 3 x 845-60 sec
Jump Squat3 x 1045-60 sec
Reverse Lunge3 x 10 45-60 sec
Standing calf raises 3 x 845-60 sec
Bulgarian Split Squats3 x 845-60 sec

Advance Workout Without Equipment

ExerciseSets x RepsRest
Single Leg Squat4 x 845-60 sec
Reverse Lunge4 x 845-60 sec
Hip thrust4 x 845-60 sec
Box Jump4 x 1045-60 sec
Calf raises 4 x 1245-60 sec

Weekly At Home Bodyweight Leg Workout Plans

The frequency of the bodyweight leg workout plan can vary depending on your goals, fitness level, and training schedule. 

  • If you are training your leg one day a week, then you should do all the exercises shown in the plan. 
  • If you are training your leg two times a week, then split the exercises shown into a weekly schedule. 

I would recommend maintaining the weekly leg workout volume the same.

8-Week Bodyweight Leg Workout Plan:

Week 1-4:

  1. Bodyweight Squats – 4 sets of 12 reps
  2. Lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  3. Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps
  4. Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps

Week 5-8:

  1. Single-Leg Squats – 4 sets of 8 reps (each leg)
  2. Glute Bridges – 4 sets of 8 reps
  3. Walking Lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  4. Hip Thrust – 4 sets of 8 reps
  5. Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps

12-Week Bodyweight Leg Workout Plan:

Week 1-4:

  1. Bodyweight Squats – 3 sets of 12 reps
  2. Reverse Lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  3. Glute Bridges – 3 sets of 12 reps (each leg)
  4. Calf Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps
  5. Plyometric Squat Jumps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Week 5-8:

  1. Bodyweight Squats – 3 sets of 12 reps
  2. Jumping Lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  3. Calf Raises with a Pause – 3 sets of 15 reps
  4. Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  5. Step up – 3 sets of 8 reps

Week 9-12:

  1. Squat Jumps – 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Walking Lunges – 3 sets of 12 reps (each leg)
  3. Glute Bridge Marches – 3 sets of 12 reps
  4. Calf Raises on a Step – 3 sets of 15 reps
  5. Box Jumps – 3 sets of 8 reps

These are sample exercise plans that you can modify to meet your needs and goals.

FAQs

Bodyweight leg exercises for explosiveness

  1. Jump Squats
  2. Split Jumps
  3. Tuck Jumps
  4. Broad Jumps
  5. Lateral Bounds
  6. Skater Jumps
  7. Single-Leg Box Jumps
  8. Plyometric Lunges
  9. Power Step-Ups
  10. High Knees

Bodyweight leg exercises for beginners

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Step-ups
  4. Glute bridges
  5. Calf raises
  6. Wall sits
  7. Standing leg lifts
  8. Standing hip extensions
  9. Side lunges
  10. Seated knee extensions

Can I build leg muscle without weights?

Yes, you can build leg muscle without weights. Bodyweight leg exercises like squats, lunges, and glute bridges can help you build and strengthen your leg muscles.

Can bodyweight leg exercises help with weight loss?

Bodyweight leg exercises can help you lose weight when you combine them with a good fitness routine and a balanced diet. Weight loss is primarily achieved through a calorie deficit, which is created by burning more calories than you consume

Takeaways

Bodyweight leg exercises are a great way to build strength, improve flexibility, and sculpt your legs and glutes.

You can manipulate bodyweight exercise routines to focus on different fitness goals, such as muscle mass, strength, endurance, power and Speed.

But best of all, these exercises can be done anywhere, anytime. So next time you need to get your blood flowing after sitting for too long, give some of these exercises a try.

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