Working out from home without any equipment sounds like it wouldn’t be effective but sometimes it can be a better workout than the gym. When you design a leg workout at home you just have to be creative. All you need is a chair, steps and a willingness to put in the work. The workout I put together is something that most people can handle. This list of leg workouts from home don’t require any equipment and can be done with just your body weight. Here’s the at home leg workout that I’ve put together. On this list we focus on using bodyweight exercises. These bodyweight leg exercises are something you can do from home with minimal equipment. Most of these workouts use just your bodyweight. Doing this workout doesn’t require and weights or a squat rack which can help save time and money.
Here’s our list of leg workouts at home.
One of my favorite at-home leg exercises is the jump squat. The jump squat works all the muscles in the legs and gets the heart rate up at the same time. When doing a jump squat simply place your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and point the toes out slightly. After you set up your feet you will lower your hips a little below parallel. Then accelerate up until your feet lift off the ground. When doing jump squats it’s a good idea to keep your hands around the chest area. Start with 3 sets of 8 and add reps every week until you get to 20 repetitions in each set. If you are injured or have issues with the joints you should skip the squat jump.
If you want to change things up you can do jack squats this is where the starting position will have feet hip width apart then move them to a little farther than shoulder width apart while jumping when the feet are in the outer position.
These two type of squats are a good choice for a lower body workout. Bodyweight squats can feel ineffective but by adding a jump it can be more challenging.
Clam shell exercise
If you’re doing jump squats and notice that your knees are caving in you might want to add clam shells to your workout program. This exercise will focus on the hip abductors. You will be doing this exercise with a resistance band.
Example of hip abduction with a band:
Get a band that is a loop that can go on you legs around the knees. Lay down on your side and have your knees bent. Lift your knee up towards the sky and repeat 10-15 times. This exercise is a great one if you have trouble with you knees and will help you keep your knees in a straight line while exercising.
If you want to do this resistance band exercise standing you can do band walks. This will be done with the knees slightly bent and it will target the muscle group that does abduction of the hip. Muscles targeted are the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. When doing a standing band walk have soft knees so minimize stress on the knee joint.
Check out our article 10 exercises for hip pain.
One leg squat on chair
When planning an at home leg workout the one leg squat is a great choice. The one leg squat works on stability and strength at the same time. The one leg squat also helps to build strength independently on each leg. To do the one leg squat with a chair simply sit in the chair, point your toes forward, lift one leg up, put your hands out front and lift your body up out the chair. Some things to keep in mind when doing this. Your heel should remain on the ground while doing the exercise and your foot should remain straight. If you’re having trouble with the exercise you can add a pole, cane or chair to hold on to for balance. After a couple of weeks you should be able to knock it out without a problem.
The floor bridge is a great exercise that you can add to your leg workout from home. You can do this exercise with one leg or two legs on the ground. The benefit of doing this workout with one leg is that it works the legs independently. This can help balance out the strength in the legs. When doing the floor bridge simply lay on the ground. Place your right heel and left heel on the ground. Put both hands palms down about 2 feet from the body. Bring your heels up so that they’re under the knees, and lift the pelvis towards the sky then slowly lower the hips toward the ground. If you want to do the exercise with one leg simply straighten one of the legs while doing the exercise. When doing the two-leg bridge aim for 3 sets of 15 repetitions. When doing the one leg aim for 8-10 repetitions on each side. This is one of my favorite home leg workouts.
The side lunge is one of my favorite in-home leg exercises because it works in the frontal plane of motion. The frontal plane of motion is a motion that is performed from side to side or laterally. Working in this plane of motion is important because it promotes stability. The side lunge works all the same muscles as the standard lunge but it also hits the inner and outer thighs. Working the inner and outer thighs is important because those muscles promote stability. The side lunge is a great way to work the right leg and left leg independently.
The way we do the side lunge is to stand with the feet hip-width apart and step to the side with the hips down like a squat. The foot stepping to the side should remain under the hips and the other leg will be straight with a very small bend in the knee. When doing the side lunge I recommend doing 8-10 repetitions on each side with 3 sets.
Wall sits fit right in with our leg workouts from home program. All you need is a wall that is free of stuff and some willpower. The wall sits mainly works the quad muscles isometrically. An isometric exercise is a static contraction without any movement. This style of exercise is great because it minimizes the risk of injury while providing a great workout. When doing the wall sit with your back on the wall, the hips should be hip-width apart, knees bent at about 90 degrees, lower your hips until your femur is parallel with the ground, and hold for 30-45 seconds. This exercise will isometrical work your leg muscles.
Lunges are one of the best exercises that you can do from home or in the gym. The lunge works the glutes, hamstrings and the quads. The exercise is easy to do and doesn’t require any equipment. To do the lunge stand with your toes pointed forward hip width part, step forward let the back knee drop almost to the ground and make sure that the front knee doesn’t pass the toes. Keep in mind the front foot should be firmly planted on the ground during the movement and the back foot will bend a little bit. Start by doing 8 lunges per side with about 3 sets. You can make the lunge harder by adding a jump from foot to foot.
When doing this the starting position should be with feet hip width apart. You will bring one leg forward at a time. One of the benefits of doing lunges is that it works multiple muscles at a time.
If you’d like to change up the lunges you can do a reverse lunge. The way you do this is by putting your feet hip width apart and putting your left foot or right foot back then stepping back and bending the knee on bringing it towards the ground. Try to keep the knee in a straight line when doing the reverse lunge.
One other lunge you can do is walking lunges. This simple change that can be done to keep more interesting. I like adding this movement into my lower body workouts because I can add things like a twist or a single leg Romanian deadlift with a medicine ball to challenge my legs a little more. When doing a twist it’s important to twist toward the leading leg.
Starting position for this can have you feet shoulder width or hip width apart. You can use stairs to get a little more range of motion with the movement. If you do this exercise with knees bent it will focus more on the soleus muscle. The soleus leg muscles are a good one to focus on for runners. When doing a standard calf raise you will have a slight bend of the knee.
Calf raises are something to add to the in-home leg workout because it promotes good ankle health and as well as a proper range of motion in the ankle joint. When doing calf raises all you need is a set of stairs or a step-up box. You can do calf raises off the floor but it will limit the range of motion. Calf raises work the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles which provide strength to the ankle joint. When doing calf raises you’ll set up your feet so they are straight ahead and hip-width apart. Once you set up, lower your body a little below the height of the step, you should feel a slight stretch in the Achilles tendon, now lift your body up so that your feet are in plantar flexion. Aim for 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
If you want to make the calf raises more challenging you can do single leg calf raises. This will work the right leg and left leg independently. Doing this will increase the load on the calf muscle and will help improve the muscle balances on the right leg and left leg.
Bulgarian split squat
The Bulgarian split squat is from of the most hated exercises on leg day. Every time I add them into my workout my legs feel it the next day. This is one of the best at home leg workouts you can do. The way you do this exercise is with your feet shoulder width apart.
This leg workout focuses on glute and thigh strength. This will work the leg muscles in a way that helps with balance, hip mobility and athleticism. By working on one leg at a time it can help build unilateral strength in the lower body. This exercise is good to prevent sports injuries and is a good part of any sports conditioning program. This at home leg workout will work the same muscle group as the lunge and the squat.
The way you do the Bulgarian split squat:
First you will need a chair, table or weight bench to lay you foot on. Once you place the top of the foot on the chair, table or bench you will slowly lower the knee toward the ground. The rear knee will bend as will the front knee. At the beginning of the movement the rear leg will be straight. Lower the leg toward the ground about 8-10 times then alternate legs and do the other side.
The pistol squat
The pistol squat is a great way to build strength and flexibility in your legs. To do a proper pistol squat, start by standing on one leg with your other leg extended out in front of you. Bend your standing leg and lower your body down toward the ground, keeping your other leg extended. Once your buttocks are close to the ground, press through your heel to return to the starting position. You can make the exercise more challenging by holding a weight in front of you as you squat. Remember to keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the entire movement. With practice, you’ll be able to do a perfect pistol squat.
The Donkey kick is a great exercise for toning the legs, glutes and abs. To do the Donkey kick, start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Keeping your right knee bent, raise your leg until your thigh is in line with your back. Hold for a count of three, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg. To make the Donkey kick more challenging, place a weight on your lower back or hold a medicine ball between your ankles. For an even greater challenge, try Donkey kicks with one leg raised and the other extended straight behind you.
If you’re interested in building a custom leg workout you can do from home reach out to us at www.onthegofitnesspro.com and set up a free session with one of our personal trainers.
Check out our blog on best ab workouts from home