The 5 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Stronger Legs
If you want to strengthen and tone your muscles, look no further than bodyweight exercises. Using just your body weight is a simple yet effective form of training when you don't feel like going to the gym or don't have access to equipment. Nailing down the mechanics of bodyweight movements first and foremost will help you sculpt stronger, muscular legs, says Donna Cennamano, manager of training for CycleBar. This will also serve as a solid foundation you can build upon when adding weights to your routine. Cennamano breaks down the five best bodyweight exercises for stronger legs that you can start doing today.
Get ready to use just your body weight to build up the lower-body strength you desire. As with any strength-based training, for it to be a success, "repetition is key," Cennamano points out. She recommends kicking things off with two to three sets of eight to 10 reps of the below moves. Sticking with this routine two to three times a week for just 15 to 30 minutes will deliver results.
Keep reading to learn all about Cennamano's top-recommended bodyweight exercises for stronger legs. And for more fitness inspiration, be sure to read 9 Best Exercises for Men To Get Bigger, Stronger Legs.
Squats start with you placing your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Hinge your hips back like you're going to sit in a chair, and make sure your chest stays "open and lifted." Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Press through your feet to return to standing. Cennamano says you can extend your arms in front of your body for added stability. "To get the most out of the activity, play with a slower tempo and hold when sitting back. Targets the quads," she adds.
Lunge and Reverse Lunge
Lunges and reverse lunges activate the hamstrings; they serve as a stellar functional movement to build strength and boost your balance. You'll begin by standing with your feet placed hip-width distance apart. Bring your left foot forward, making sure your upper body remains straight. When your front leg bends, keep your knee from going over your toes. Your back knee should lower at the same time. After performing eight reps, do the same movement on the other side.
This next exercise is a solid alternative for individuals who are unable to perform lunges or squats because of knee restrictions, Cennamano explains. Get ready to open up your hips. Start by lying on your left side on a workout mat. Then, lift your right leg as high up as you're able to, and slightly bend your knee. Lower your right leg, and repeat the motion eight to 10 times. Switch sides.
The glute bridge is another bodyweight move that you'll complete on your workout mat. This exercise activates your hamstrings and glutes. You'll begin by lying down flat on the mat, bending your knees, and placing your feet a foot away from your buttocks. Press your hips toward the ceiling as your glutes lift off the mat. Push through your heels. Then, lower back down for one full rep.
The best bodyweight exercises for stronger legs wrap up with hip extensions. Position a soft pillow beneath both knees as you assume all fours. In this tabletop position, you'll bring one leg upward to 90 degrees so that the bottom of your foot faces the ceiling. Pulse a few times, then lower it to complete one full rep. Repeat on the opposite side.