Working your legs effectively at home is challenging. Because you are walking around on them all day long, they require a decent amount of resistance to work them effectively for muscle and strength gains.That’s no problem in a commercial gym. At home, however, you probably haven’t got a lot of weight to work with. In fact, you may have none at all.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good workout in. In fact, in this article we are going to show you how to get in a thigh quivering workout with only your bodyweight as your exercise equipment!
The Muscles of the Legs
A lot of people don’t do full justice to their lower body training because they neglect certain muscle groups. Too often they put all the emphasis on working their quadriceps to the neglect of their hamstrings and glutes. This is a big mistake. As well as not looking very good aesthetically, underdevelopment of one area will lead to muscular imbalances that can lead to injury. In fact, having dominant quad strength and development is the reason that many athletes pull their hamstrings. (1
The home leg day workout that we are about to detail includes working all of the lower body muscles including the:
- Calves (2)
The Leg Day Workout Structure
An effective way to ramp up the training intensity and at the same time compensate for the lack of heavy resistance when you use your bodyweight to train the legs is to use tri-sets. This is when you do a series of three exercises with absolutely no rest between them. When each exercise targets the same muscle group, such as the quads, the cumulative effect is maximum muscle stimulation.
This at home leg day workout is part of a 3-day training split. On the first two days, you will work your upper body (link to upper body workout). This workout will be followed by a shoulder workout.
Best Leg Workouts
Each exercise will be performed for 60 seconds. If you can’t get through the full 60-seconds, drop to a modified version. You will be doing three rounds of each triset, so it is VERY likely that you will not get to the full 60 seconds on each round. That’s ok. Simply record your time and try to beat it on the next workout. (3)
Exercises 1, 2 & 3 (Triset)
Sit against a wall as if you are sitting in a chair. Do not rest your hands on your thighs. Maintain a right-angle bend at the knee.
With hands on your head, squat down to a below parallel position. Hold the bottom position for a 2 second count and then come back up to the start position. Maintain an upright torso throughout.
Stand up straight with a stack of books one foot to the side of you. Jump over the books to land on the other side. Jump back to complete the rep. Keep going at a fast pace for the entire 60 seconds.
Exercises 4, 5 & 6 (Triset)
Stand in front of a box or bench. Step up, leading with your right foot. In the top position, drive your left leg forcefully into the air. Lower and repeat, leading with the left leg this time.
This squat variation has your feet wider than shoulder width apart and pointing outward. Now lower down to a full squat position, throwing your arms out in front of you.
Stand with one foot in front of the other. Now lower down into the start position of a sprint. From this position, and with your hands on your hips, jump up as you switch leg positions in the air, bring the back leg forward and the forward leg back. Continue this sprint action as fast as you can for the entire 60 seconds.
Exercises 7, 8 & 9 (Triset)
Lie face up on a slick surface with your socks on. Keep your arms at your sides and your legs just slightly bent. Now lift your hips off the ground. Contract your glutes and hamstrings to drag your heels back toward you. Slowly return to the start position.
Lie on the floor with your feet on a chair or bench so that your legs are at right angles. Your lower legs will be resting on the chair/bench, with your butt on the floor. Place your hands on the floor also. Now thrust your hips into the air as you contract the glutes and hamstrings. Keep doing this for the entire 60 seconds.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Stand in front of a chair with your left foot resting on it. The toes of that foot should be pointed away from you. Now bend your right knee to lower yourself to the ground. Push through the right knee to return to the start position. After 30 seconds, change leg positions.
Donkey Calf Raises
Stand at the edge of a bench with your feet on a piece of 4 x 2 inch timber, Just the balls of your feet should be in the wood. Grab the edge of the bench and bend at the waist so that your body forms an ‘L’ shape. Now get someone else to sit on your back. Perform calf raises by lifting and lowering your feet without bending at the knee.
Dumbbell Leg Workout
If you have access to a pair of dumbbells you can put them to use with the above workout on the following exercises:
- Sumo Squats
- Bulgarian Split squats
Reduce the time on these exercises to 30 seconds in order to compensate for the added resistance.
Some of the thigh exercises in this workout, when done in isolation, are not terribly challenging. When combined with elements of time and tri-setting, however, they become extremely demanding. Your goal should be to complete all three sets of each tri-set for the full 60-seconds on each exercise. Complete the program for a period of six weeks before changing it up.