Some people believe that you can’t train your legs at home. This is mainly because legs are a large muscle group that shows significant growth only when you apply a heavyweight strength training and in most cases, we don’t have the necessary equipment at our homes.
Indeed, if you want to significantly increase muscle mass in your legs, you will want to either enroll in a gym or establish your own home gym since a proper leg workout requires specific sports equipment. Legs muscles respond well only to large weights, becoming stronger.
However, it is still possible to strengthen the muscles and tone them at home. In order to be able to do this, all you need is your own body weight and a great desire to exercise.
How to do a leg workout at home and what is needed for this? Read in my article!
The Anatomy of Legs
Before choosing the most effective exercises for legs, it is worth examining first their anatomy and the functions that these muscles perform.
Like other large muscle groups, the legs are made up of several large muscle groups and many small ones.
It is pointless to work out small muscle groups since they participate in compound exercises and do not respond well to isolation exercises.
Did you know that there are more than 36 leg muscles? Among them, four groups are distinguished depending on their functions:
- The buttock muscle moves the thigh to the side and rotates outward. On these muscles depends how the buttocks will look after training.
- Quadriceps (quadriceps femoris) extends the leg at the knee joint.
- The hip biceps rotate the hip outward and bend the leg.
- The calf muscles flex the foot and lower leg.
Understanding which muscles work in certain exercises is especially important for women. By choosing the right exercises to strengthen the muscles of the legs, it is easier to perform a local correction of the body.
Important Note: Training any of these muscles implies gradual complication of the tasks/exercises.
Best Exercises For at Home Leg Workout
Now that we know the main muscle groups of the leg and their functions, let’s see what leg exercises we can do at home!
These exercises do not require any special weight lifting equipment. However, if you want to increase the load on your muscles, you can use a dumbbell set or a barbell.
This is rightfully the king of exercises for a leg workout.
There are dozens of variations of this movement, but since we are considering only exercises that we can do at home, only three of them are suitable: a squat with wide and narrow legs, as well as squats on one leg.
A wide-leg position accentuates the load on the front of the thigh and pelvic muscles. With narrowly set feet, the work will shift to quadriceps.
It is not difficult at all to learn how to squat correctly. Imagine sitting on a low stool. The main thing is to keep the naturalness of the movement.
Keep your head straight, bend your back in the lower back, and turn your feet a little outward. Make sure that your knees “look” towards your feet and do not go beyond the line of socks.
Squat on one leg (this exercise is also called “Pistol”) is able to load the quadriceps of the leg to the maximum. This exercise is not for beginners.
I recommend practicing it after 2-3 months of training. Stand along the open door, grab the edge with one hand, raise your leg in front of you and lock it.
Squat until the thigh of the second leg is parallel to the floor, then return into the original position.
This is a classic exercise for working out the leg’s quadriceps. Also, in some versions of the movement, the load is shifted to the buttocks.
Usually, in the gym, lunges are performed with a barbell, dumbbells or in Smith’s simulator. Since there is often no equipment at home, you still can do lunges without weight.
Note: With two adjustable dumbbells, you will work out your legs better and will be able to more effectively adjust the load.
At home, you can pump up your legs with classic alternating lunges. They are performed by stepping around the room or in one place, pumping one leg first, and then the second.
Technically, lunges are a difficult exercise, so it will take some time to master the technique.
In the initial position, stand upright, your back slightly bent in the lower back, stretch your chest forward.
The position of the legs is slightly wider than the line of the hips, the feet are parallel to each other.
As you inhale, take a step forward and sit down. Keep the body upright throughout the movement. At the lower point, the shin of the front leg should be at an angle of 90 degrees.
Do not lean on the back knee, stop the movement when it is a couple of centimeters from the floor.
Starting from the supporting leg, stand up and take a step back, taking the starting position. After that, repeat the exercise on the second leg.
3. Jump Squats
This exercise is aimed at training explosive strength. It helps to prepare yourself for more difficult movements.
When you do jump squats, you make work the front and back of the thigh, back, muscles of the leg and buttocks.
You can jump with your own weight or using small dumbbells. Large additional weights in this movement are unacceptable since there is a high probability of knee and back injuries.
For the same reason, this exercise is not recommended for overweight people.
The starting position is the same as in squats. Slowly lower yourself to the parallel to the floor. Look in front of you, keep your hands along the torso.
Hold at the bottom for three seconds, then jump up as much as possible. Try to distribute the weight throughout the foot and not bend your arms while jumping.
4. Calf Raises
This is an exercise for those who are interested in how to pump up the calf muscles. If you perform the movement while standing, the calf muscles are loaded.
Rises on socks while sitting pump the soleus group, which is located under the calf. In order to pump up the shin qualitatively, it is necessary to perform both exercises.
Important Note: If you have never trained calf muscles, be careful with this exercise! Post-workout pain in the arms, chest, back is still tolerable, but if you strain the lower leg, you will not be able to walk normally for 2-3 days. That is why it is highly recommended to increase the load gradually.
In terms of the execution technique, calf raises are, perhaps, the easiest exercise. The main thing is to ensure high-quality muscle tension.
In order to be able to successfully perform this exercise, you will need a stepper that will serve as a hill. Stand on the edge of the hill so that the heels can move down, the feet are parallel to each other.
Lower yourself on your socks until you feel the tension. After that, sharply rise on your toes and hold for a second. Then repeat the movement.
Hold the body upright during exercise. Do not bend your knees, do not linger at the lower point and do not let your heels touch the floor.
To train the soleus muscle, sit on a hard surface and place your feet on the platform in the same way as when standing up. The hips should be at an angle of 90 degrees.
Stretch your lower leg with your heels down, then lift your toes. Put extra weight on your knees if you think the movement is easy.
How to Increase the Load If You Are Not Using Weights?
At a certain point, training with your own weight will become too simple. To continue to progress, you will want to increase the load.
If you don’t have weights at home, here is what you can do in order to increase the load without using weights:
- Perform more reps in one approach and increase the number of sets.
- Reduce the rest time between sets.
- Practice supersets of 2-3 exercises (perform different types of movements one after another, without rest between them).
- Increase the time of exercise by performing exercises on a slowlier pace.
You can either use one of these methods or, combine them, depending on your fitness level.
The Bottom Line
Without strong legs, it is impossible to succeed in any speed-power sport. This is a reality that cannot be ignored.
On the other hand, when you exercise your legs, other muscles are also involved in the workout, such as back and arm muscles.
But, unlike back and chest muscles, our legs work almost constantly, therefore, they require a special approach to training for growth.
Exercising your legs at home without weights will help you restore muscle tone, increase stamina and texture. At the same time, it is worth noting that legs are
If you want to increase loads though, you can do it by using sports equipment in your workouts.
When you are exercising without weights, all you use is your own body weight. What actually happens during this kind of leg workout is your muscles get used to lifting the same amount of your body weight (that is, for example, 60 or 75 kg).
But we already know that in order to see progress in muscle growth, there is a need for constant increasing of weights that are being lifted.
That is why, at some point, exercising without weights, you will notice that your muscles no longer grow and this is exactly because they have reached their level with the non-equipment exercise.
Thus, if you want to see the continuing growth of your leg muscles, you will need to increase the load of your exercises by applying more weights!
Therefore, you can either sign up for a gym membership or, purchase some weight equipment and continue to work out at home in order to keep improving.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and now, you know better how to perform a leg workout at home.
If you have any questions or thoughts about the above aspects, or you have something to add or share your story, please leave them in the comments section below and I will get back to you asap.
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All the best,