I get emails from people who don’t have a gym membership that ask what’s a great lower body workout without weights? This is an easy one to answer because I prefer to train at home too!
A great lower body workout without weights includes movements for:
- The Quadriceps
- An all round lower body movement that includes the glutes
These movements look like this…
An All Round Lower Body Movements That Includes Glutes
For all round bodyweight leg exercises we have:
- Bodyweight Squats
- Jumping Squats (for distance and height)
- Lunges (multiple directions)
- Jumping Lunges
- Pistol Squats
- This is just the tip of the iceberg
If I had only one exercise and 10 minutes to get in a lower body workout, I’d do the following. (I’ll give you a more complete workout at the end)
This one of my favorite leg exercises you can use in a home workout routine. The exercise is called the single leg squat and requires only your bodyweight and no exercises equipment. It’s sometimes called the pistol squat or simply pistols as well.
I don’t know if it’s that people are tired of commercial gyms or the fact that people are so short of time that they can’t make it to the gym but more and more people want to workout these days without equipment and in whatever location they find themselves. I think that’s great because the more you can make exercises fit your life style, the more likely you’ll keep at it long term.
Previously in other no equipment, bodyweight exercises only leg workouts I’ve mentioned the bodyweight squat, jumping lunges and rocket jumps done in a super set fashion so today we’ll cover something a little more challenging (so do the second workout if these aren’t on the table for you.)
How To Do Pistols Squats – Quick Explanation
How do you do pistol squats? Well, in explanation is sounds easy, however actually getting good at them takes a lot of practice and extra work on flexibility and functionality. In other words, when you can do single leg squats well you’re body will be working the way it should be. Strong and flexible.
The one leg squat looks a lot like the roller skating move called shooting the duck. You stand on one leg and then put your other leg out to the front. Like you were doing a front kick. From there, sit back heavy into your heals and lower as low as possible. I told you the explanation was easy. It’s just actually being able to sit down all the way to the bottom that is hard.
Making The Pistol Squat The Core Of Your Lower Body Workout
As for the workout that uses pistol squats, since most people will not be able to do a ton of these to start we’ll gear the workout towards getting stronger and do 5 sets of 5 repetitions. That’s the goal at least. Do these at whatever depth you are capable of at this point in time. Perhaps pick a stair on your stair case or if you have a solid low coffee table. Something of that sort.
As you are able to achieve the 5 sets of 5 repetitions without excessive difficulty, find something lower. Carry on this way until you can go gluteus to the basement.
Initially when you first start you may want to alternate legs doing one repetition right and then one left to allow each leg a small rest between repetitions. This way you can move to all five in an unbroken set as a means of progressive resistance before dropping the depth of the single leg squat.
You can also build up to the single leg squat with deck squats. There are a ton of ways to get better at the single leg squat depending on what the issues are with your body, knees or strength level.
Now let’s look at a more in depth way of working out the whole lower body evenly without weights.
We’ll start with the front of the thigh. The quadriceps.
Quadriceps Lower Body Exercises No Weight Needed
My favourite quadriceps DOMINANT bodyweight leg exercises include:
- Split Squats (knees forward of toes)
- Sissy Squats
- Natural Leg Extension
Hamstrings Lower Body Exercises Without Weights
My favourite hamstring DOMINANT bodyweight leg exercises include:
- Slider Drags
- Nordic Curl
- Single Leg Deadlift (warrior three)
- Swiss Ball Leg Curls
- Step Ups
- Reverse Bridge
Bodyweight Calf Movements Without Equipment
My favourite calf DOMINANT bodyweight leg exercises include:
- Standing Double Calf Raise
- Single Leg Calf Raise
- Squatting Calf Raises
- Lunges On Toes (Natural Calf Raise)
The Quick Bodyweight Warmup For Your Lower Body Workout
Here’s my best tips on getting a good home workout for your lower body completed in less than 30 minutes. Add to the short time to get this done and that fact that you won’t need a single piece of exercise equipment and this is going to be some keeper type stuff. Here we go.
The first thing we need to do is warm up and that can be done a lot of ways. You can do a general whole body warm up like jogging, jumping jacks or skipping. This brings the whole systems heat up a couple notches and gets you ready to groove. Another way to warm up is what I prefer. That is to incorporate the general body warm up into the fact that I am doing specific movement prep that emphasizes the muscles that I will be working.
In this workout we will be doing bodyweight squats, lunges and specific hamstring work. Because of this, I could do a warm up that involved slowly working into the bottom squat position holding onto something and working out the tight pieces and generating heat at the same time. I would also go into a lunge without my knee on the ground and work different stretches in this “working” position.
Once everything feels ready to go, it’s time to do the structured workout and here it is. For the exercise form, you can google almost any exercise on youtube and if you cannot find it there, just drop me an email and I’ll sort it out for you.
It’ll be a great excuse for me to make another youtube video.
Here Is A Good Lower Body Workout Without Weights In Under 30 Minutes
Start of with 5×15 reps of standing calf raises. More onto single leg calf raises if possible and simply alternate legs are the rest for the leg that just finished working.
The heart of the workout is jumping lunges super setted with rocket jumps followed by alternating single leg deadlifts.
The workout, sets and reps go like this.
- Jumping lunges per leg followed immediately by
- Rocket jumps then proceed to
- Alternating single leg deadlifts (hold anything in your hands to make it harder)
- All for 15 reps or failure on the first set. Whichever comes first.
After you finish all that, then rest up to a minute if you need it. After your rest, repeat that circuit again at 12 on everything then for 10, then 8 and 6. That’s it. You’re done.
You should be pretty toasted after that but if not, there is more. This is just the beginning of the fun! If you found that too challenging, there are also easier progressions to get you to the home leg workout you just saw. This gives you a great starting point though to see what you can accomplish without leaving the house.