6 Ways to Get a Leg Workout at Home
We have all been there at some point: snow blocking the roads, sick child at home that needs pampering, car is in the shop, or probably the most common, I just don’t have the time today. But you need to get to a gym to get a leg workout, right? What do you do?
While less than ideal, I typically take these days as an opportunity to work not only major muscle groups, but also minor muscles that are often neglected during traditional exercises. As goes the old idiom, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” so goes a body is only as strong as its weakest muscle. So here are four at-home exercises that can work both your major and minor muscle groups which require little to no equipment.
1. The Pistol Squat
You’ll notice that my base foot is flat on the ground – don’t rock up on your toes, as that’s a great way to twist and injury your knee. The shin is leaning forward with the knee over the toes. This will help keep your weight forward and the skill balanced. Also note that the hamstring and calf of the pressing leg are touching. This will let you know when you are at the bottom of the squat. You’ll find that you can “sit back” slightly once at the bottom, but the degree at which you can do this is dictated by femur length, so just look to touch the hamstring and calf and you’ll be fine.
Typically, when we do lunges, we are doing front lunges, which give the quads a fantastic burn, but otherwise do not work other muscles. The windmill lunge will work all parts of your leg, including the inner thigh muscles and hip adductors. To do a windmill lunge, begin with a normal forward lunge, with your right foot forward. In your next lunge, step forward at a 45 degree angle. Continue to rotate 45 degrees each lunge, and after five lunges you will have just completed a reverse lunge. Repeat until fatigued and then switch legs.
3. Jump Lunge
One of the worst aspect about at home workout is that without equipment, it is difficult to do explosive movements which activate those “Type 2” muscle fibers, which are the muscle fibers responsible for your heavy lifts. Doing a jump lunge will activate those type 2 muscle fibers. To do a jump lunge, it’s easy; do a lunge, then jump up in the air and switch your foot position for the next lunge, then land. The faster you move, the better the burn!
This exercise requires a lot of balance to execute correctly, so in case you fall over your first few times, make sure you have something to grab onto. Stand on a step with one foot and keep your other foot off the ground. Lower yourself with your planted leg until your butt and knee are parallel, then stand back up. If you can, try not to hold onto anything while doing these. Again, balancing engages minor muscles as well as your core.
5. The Glute Bridge
Lie flat on the floor on your back with the hands by your side and your knees bent. Your feet should be placed around shoulder width. This will be your starting position. Pushing mainly with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Breathe out as you perform this part of the motion and hold at the top for a second. Slowly go back to the starting position as you breathe in.
Variations: You can perform this exercise one leg at a time.
Likely the easiest exercise from this list, find an inflatable exercise ball and lie down on your back. Place both your heels on the ball and lift your body off the ground. Now bring the ball in closer to your body by curling your legs. Repeat until fatigued. For a more challenging exercise, use a smaller exercise ball, which will throw your body off balance and engage more and different muscle fibers.
Whether your home is your ideal workout spot or you’re crunched for time and can’t leave the house, these exercises can get you the workout your body needs.
Get all these movements and more in a complete 90-day program: The BW44 Program
See more legs exercises in the exercises database