Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises That You Can Do Anywhere

Strong legs are vital for full-body fitness and doing bodyweight leg exercises will bring you a whole new world of leg strength, taking your home leg workout to the next-level and burning up those thighs, quads, and calves.

Your lower body is the foundation for so much in athletics and physical performance, as well as overall health as we age. Building strong and powerful hips and legs will help you do all your favorite activities better.

There are many benefits associated with bodyweight leg exercises. Bodyweight leg workout allow you to do it at home without having to invest in a pricey piece of gym equipment.

In this article, I’ll show you some of the best bodyweight leg exercises for building the Mass, power, strength, and athleticism you need for the activities you love.

What muscles are you working?

The leg is divided into the upper leg (thigh) and lower leg (calf).

The upper leg consists of one bone, the femur, whereas the lower leg consists of two bones, the tibia (located on the big-toe side) and fibula (on the little toe side).

The legs consist of dozens of muscles that flex, bend, extend, adduct, abduct, and rotate your legs and allow movement.

This ultimate bodyweight leg exercises focuses on four main muscle groups — the quadricepshamstringsglutes, and calves.

Understanding how they all fit together and work with each other will ensure you get the most out of your bodyweight leg workout.

Leg Muscle Anatomy


The quadriceps femoris, located in front of the thigh, has four separate heads: 1. Vastus medialis 2. Rectus femoris  3. Vastus lateralis 4. Vastus intermedius 


The hamstrings, located behind the thigh, are a group of three muscles that originate from the ischium bone of the pelvis: Biceps femorisSemimembranosusSemitendinosus 


The gluteus maximus arises from a large area on the rear of the pelvic bone, passes down behind the hip joint, and attaches to the upper femur. This powerful muscle causes hip extension.


The lower leg contains 10 different muscles. The calf comprises two muscles: The gastrocnemius and Soleus.

Other thigh muscles include the following: Hip adductors (Inner thigh), hip abductors, hip flexors.

This blog contains detailed descriptions of all major bodyweight leg exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, and Calf muscles.

How to Choose the Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

When it comes to bodyweight leg exercises, most people just go straight for the squat once they’ve got their basic bodyweight squat down, and they think that’s all there is.

But the exercises you choose to spend your efforts on should correspond directly with what you need to work on for your particular goals.

Instead of just picking random exercises to work on, we’ve included exercises that address one or more of the following key points like improving muscle mass, strength, endurance, Power, and speed.

In the exercise descriptions below, you’ll see recommendations for exercises to all lower body parts.

If you’re looking to build mass and strength in your legs, these bodyweight exercises will help you.

That way, you’re not wasting your efforts, and you’re building the specific attributes you need for your life. Win-win!

The bodyweight exercises for leg are divided into squat exercises, lunge, and calf raise exercises.

Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises and Workout

Here are our best bodyweight leg workouts to help you start off on the right foot and make your leg day much more interesting.

1. Bodyweight Squat

If you’re looking for straightforward bodyweight leg exercises to add to your routine, squat is a great staple exercise to get you started.

The bodyweight squat is a strengthening exercise that can be performed virtually anywhere with no equipment and limited space. It’s a highly functional movement, working all the major muscles of the legs.

It’s important for beginners to learn the bodyweight squat before progressing to weighted squats.

Bodyweight Sumo squat
Bodyweight Squat
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps, gluteals.

Secondary: Hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, abdominal.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your knees and feet should be pointing in the same direction.
  2. Raise your arms out in front of you for balance (or you can leave them by your side) and keep your head up and torso upright.
  3. Inhale as you squat by simultaneously flexing your hips and knees, making sure to descend at least until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  4. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Keep your back straight, head up, and torso upright.
  • Don’t allow knees to push too far forward.
  • Make the bodyweight squat more difficult by pulsing at the bottom of the squat.

2. Bodyweight Sumo Squat

The Sumo Squat is one of the another great exercises for your bodyweight leg workout. It is a variation of a standard squat. The key difference in this squat is that you take a wider stance and position your feet turned out.

While all squats work the glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and calves, the leg positioning of the sumo squat works the inner thighs as well.

When performed in high volume, the sumo squat is a great movement option for a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.

Bodyweight Sumo squat
Bodyweight Sumo Squat
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps,

Secondary: Hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, abdominals, Gluteus Maximus.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turn your feet out, externally rotating your hips.
  2. You can keep your hands clasped together at your chest or open hands in front of the chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in, then push your hips backward, lowering into a squat. Keep your core tight, back straight, and knees forward.
  4. Pause, then exhale and make sure you’re pushing through your heels and engaging your inner thighs as you come back to your starting position.
  • The lower back should have a natural arch with chest out.
  • Keep your abs tight throughout exercise.

3. Lunges

Bodyweight Lunges are an excellent leg exercises to build thigh muscles and glutes. Along with squats, lunges are highly recommended to build mass in your butt and Quad muscles.

It requires good balance, so if you have issues keeping your balance, start off by doing the lunges exercise without weights as you learn the proper form.

Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps.

Secondary: Gluteals, hamstrings, adductors.

Execution Technique
  1. Keep your arms by your sides and stand upright.
  2. Keeping your back straight, take a step forward, bending your knees and getting them as close to the floor as possible.
  3. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot.
  4. Keep alternating the leg with which you lunge.
  • Bend as far and low as possible without losing form.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

4. Inverse leg curl

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with bodyweight exercises for the leg, why not try Inverse leg curl.

It is an unconventional hamstring exercise that isn’t common, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

The inverse leg curl (bench support) uses your body weight to work the hamstrings and is just as, if not more, challenging to do.

Inverse leg curl
Muscles Worked

Primary: Hamstrings.

Secondary: Gluteals, calf muscles, Triceps Brachii, Anterior deltoid, Pectoralis.

Execution Technique
  1. Get on your knees and anchor the back of your heels under a bench or a barbell. Cross your arms over your chest or you can keep them by your sides.
  2. Inhale as you allow your body to slowly fall forward, controlling the descent as much as you can with your hamstrings.
  3. At the bottom of the movement, catch your body with your arms and lower your torso to the floor, as if performing a knee push-up.
  4. Exhale as you push your torso back up and off the floor just enough until your hamstrings can take over and pull your body back up to a vertical position.


  • Use your arms as minimally as possible.
  • To protect your knees, use a mat.

5. Sissy Squat

The sissy squat is a top leg mainly quad building bodyweight exercises, that also works on your hip flexors and strengthening your core simultaneously.

While doing that exercise, act as if you were kneeling to the ground without moving your upper body. The only moving part of your body is the lower portion of the leg.

To add resistance, hold a weight plate on your chest with the arm that is not stabilizing your body.

Sissy Squat
Sissy Squat
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps.

Secondary: Gluteals, Soleus, Gastrocnemius, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart and hold on to something sturdy that can support you.
  2. The best way to make sure this exercise is executed correctly is to try to keep your hips and back straight.
  3. Bend at the knees and lean the body backwards so that the tension comes into the front of your thighs.
  4. Lower back as far as you can, keeping a neutral spine throughout. You should form a straight line from your knees to your head.
  5. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Keep your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Use dumbbells or a weight plate to make the exercise more challenging.
  • Keep your back and hips straight.

6. Step Up

The step-up is a great exercise for building legs strength and power. This exercise targets quads and also involves calves and glutes & hip flexors.

The step-up is a great all-round exercise that is perfect for all, since it can be modified to create a challenging workout for anyone, whether you have just started exercising or have been training for years.

Step Up
Step Up
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps.

Secondary: Gluteals, hamstrings, Soleus, Gastrocnemius

Execution Technique
  1. Place a knee-high box or bench in front of you.
  2. Stand with your feet in a comfortable hip-width stance. Step forward with one leg onto the step and drive through that thigh to bring your body upward.
  3. Bring the trailing leg to the top of the step and stand on the box, then step back with the opposite leg to the floor and lower yourself.
  4. Alternate legs with each rep. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Control the movement, using your muscles to slowly lift and lower yourself.
  • Be sure to keep your low back in its natural arch and your upper body upright throughout the whole movement.
  • Keep your body upright and your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.

7. Hip Bridge

The hip bridge is a good starter move for butt, hamstring, and low back muscles.

When you practice glute bridges regularly you are targeting your glutes, hamstring and your lower back muscles, those muscles that are meant to hold your body upright will be getting stronger. Try this bodyweight exercise to add mass and strength in your legs.

Hip Bridge
Hip Bridge
Muscles Worked

Primary: Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae.

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, Rectus Abdominis, and Hamstring.

Execution Technique
  1. Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
  2. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
  3. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in, so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  4. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.


  • Do not push with your arms.
  • Don’t overextend your back during the exercises this may cause lower back pain.
  • To make the Hip bridge exercise more difficult, hold a weight plate on your lap.

8. Good Morning Exercise

The good-morning is one of the best bodyweight leg exercises for mass and strength.

It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the rise out of the bed to stretch.

The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position, while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension.

Good Morning Exercise
Good Morning Exercise
Muscles Worked

Primary: Erector spinae.

Secondary: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, and Hamstrings.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand holding a stick (or Weight) on the back of your shoulders, grasping the stick at each side. Can also perform the exercise as in the bodyweight version.
  2. Keeping your knees slightly flexed and your back and neck neutral, inhale as you flex your hips to lower your torso until it is close to or fully horizontal.
  3. Exhale as you raise your torso back up to the starting position by extending your hips.
  4. Complete the desired number of repetitions.
  • Keep your back and neck neutral throughout the exercise.
  • It is recommended that the lifter avoid rounding (flexing) or rotation (twisting) at any point during the movement.
  • Keep the movement slow, the form strict, and the weight light.

9. Jump Squat

Jump squats are the power packed HIIT version of squats. They are also known as squat jumps. And their variations help shed fat from the body, tone your butt and legs, and improve strength and balance.

Squat jumps are a great leg exercise to include in-home workouts since they can be done in a small space without any equipment.

Jump Squat
Squat jumps
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps, gluteals.

Secondary: Hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, calf, abdominals.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Quickly drop down by bending at the knees and hips, letting your glutes track backward to lower yourself into a squat.
  3. At the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, quickly and explosively reverse direction, driving up through your heels and the balls of your feet to lift your body off the floor as high as possible.
  4. Land with soft knees and immediately lower into the next rep.
  • Keep your head up and your torso upright.
  • Don’t perform this exercise with cold muscles. Do a cardio warm up before it.

10. Hip Thrust

The hip thrust is a popular exercise which is used to target the glutes and hamstrings for muscle and strength-building purposes.

Now, a lot of people are afraid to perform this movement or just not interested since it requires a little setup, and may even look a little funny.

Hip Thrust
Muscles Worked

Primary: Gluteus Maximus

Secondary: Quadriceps, Hamstrings

Execution Technique
  1. Sit with your shoulder blades against the bench with your back to the bench and your bottom on the floor, stretch your arms out on either side of you so that they’re resting on the bench
  2. Bend your knees and, place your feet flat on the floor, approximately shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keeping your torso rigid, and core tight, and then lift your hips off the ground while engaging your glutes.
  4. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your glutes.
  5. Inhale as you lower the thigh by flexing your hips.
  • Ensure that your neck stays neutral throughout the exercise.
  • Make sure your bench is secure and won’t move before trying hip thrusts.
  • Keep your torso rigid. Your back shouldn’t arch, and your pelvis shouldn’t tilt.
  • All the movement should occur in your hips.

11. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat also known as the single-leg split squat is one of the best bodyweight leg exercises.

It is an effective auxiliary exercise for improving your squat and lunge. It is also great for enhancing your balance and developing unilateral functional strength.

To promote equal contralateral strength (equal strength in both sides), start with your weak leg, and do not do more repetitions with your strong leg.

Bulgarian Split Squat
Muscles Worked

Primary: Quadriceps.

Secondary: Gluteals, hamstrings, adductors.

Execution Technique
  1. Keep your arms by your sides, and stand with your back facing the side of a bench. There should be three or four feet of space between you and the bench.
  2. Extend one leg backward and place the top of your foot on the bench so that your body is being supported by only one leg.
  3. Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you squat down with your supporting leg until the knee of your back leg nearly touches the floor.
  4. Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position, driving through your heel.
  5. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise with your opposite leg.
  • When you squat, your front knee should not pass your toes.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

12. One-Arm Bench Dip

The one-arm bench dip is a challenging and very effective movement that primarily targets your triceps, but your glutes and quads also get worked secondarily.

Now, this is not a beginner’s exercise or for someone who does not have adequate upper body strength.

One-arm bench dip
One-Arm Bench Dip
Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps Brachii, Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps

Secondary: Anterior Deltoid, Pectoralis Major, Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids

Execution Technique
  1. Place your hands (palms) on the side of a flat bench with your back straight, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor
  2. Slide your buttocks off the bench. Raise your left arm and right leg straight out in front of you. Your bodyweight should be being supported by your right arm and left leg.
  3. Inhale as you flex your elbow to lower your body until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulder.
  4. Exhale as you extend your elbow to push your body back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and repeat the exercise with your left arm.
  • Keep your body upright and your back straight.
  • Keep your elbow close to your body and do not flare out.
  • To make the one-arm bench dip easier, keep both feet on the floor.

13. Jumping Rope

Jumping rope utilizes muscles that the seated calf raises miss. It builds endurance for the calf muscles, as well as strength and coordination. Furthermore, jumping rope provides endless variations to keep the exercise challenging.

To jump rope, the individual must first make sure that the rope is the appropriate length for their height.

Jumping Rope
Muscles Worked

Primary: calf muscles, quads, hamstrings, glutes

Secondary: Abs, oblique muscles, forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back muscles, and chest muscles

Execution Technique
  1. Hold the rope while keeping your hands at hip level. The knees must remain slightly bent, to land softly and to keep it from locking.
  2. Rotate your wrists to swing the rope and jump. The rope is flicked over the head and passed under the feet by pushing the toes into a quick but gentle hop.
  3. Jump with both feet at the same time, one foot at a time, alternating between feet, etc.
  4. Repeat until the set is complete.
  • Keep the upper body straight, knees slightly bent, and jump on the balls of your feet.
  • Engage your abs, loosen your shoulders and turn the rope only with your wrists, not the entire arms.
  • For a low-impact exercise, focus on doing faster and smaller jumps.

14. Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise

Standing calf raises (also known as heel raises) is a classic move, even bodyweight calf raise exercises are an effective way of strengthening your calves because the calf muscles take on so much of your bodyweight. 

They only use bodyweight, so they’re a really convenient calf exercise that you can do that home, or pretty much anywhere.

Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise
Muscles Worked

Primary: Gastrocnemius.

Secondary: Soleus.

Execution Technique
  1. Stand up straight with your feet facing forward and placed hip-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knee and hold your hands by your side
  2. Raise your heels by pressing the balls of your feet into the ground.
  3. You should move your body upwards until you’re stood on your toes.
  4. Hold this position and then slowly lower your heels back to the ground.
  • Pause and squeeze for a count of 1-2 at the top of the movement for added intensity.
  • Keep the balls of your feet on the edge of the block/step. If you allow the balls of your feet to come in more, the exercise becomes easier.

15. Squat Hold Calf Raises

Squat hold calf raises works the soleus muscles more than the gastrocnemius, but a considerable amount of force is still produced by the latter.

This exercise is performed by having the individual assume a squat position, with the feet shoulder width apart, and hands in front or placed on the hips. While maintaining the squat position, the individual pushes up to stand on their tip toes and then back down to the ground.

Squat Hold Calf Raises
Muscles Worked

Primary: Calves, glutes, inner thighs

Secondary: Quads, hamstrings, hip flexors

Execution Technique
  1. Stand with your feet about three to four feet apart, toes turned out. Bring your hands together in front of your chest
  2. Squat down by bending at the knees and hips, letting your glutes track backward to lower yourself into a squat.
  3. Raise your heel off the floor, and squeeze your calves.
  4. Repeat until the set is complete.


  • Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and maintain your knees in line with your toes.
  • Don’t perform this exercise with cold muscles. Do a cardio warm up before it.

Programming These Exercises Into Your Routine

In order to program these exercises well you gotta get clear on what your goal is. Do you care more about speed or endurance? Setting PRs in these particular exercises or building generally useable strength?

Once you’re clear, this table will help you work them into your routine:

GoalRecommended Sets/Reps
Mass• 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps
• Rest 60 seconds to 2 minutes between sets
Pure Strength• 4-8 sets of 1-5 reps
• Rest 2-3 minutes between sets
Endurance• 2-5 sets of 12-25 reps
• Rest 60-90 seconds between sets
Power and Speed• 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (but it will depend on when your explosiveness starts to fail)
• Rest at least 2 minutes between sets

Depending on your current routine and specific needs, you might want to adjust these numbers. But they’re a good general starting point.


Bodyweight leg training is a great way to add functional fitness and train vital movement patterns with limited equipment.

You can manipulate bodyweight exercise routines to focus on different fitness goals, such as muscle mass, strength, endurance, power and Speed.

But best of all, these exercises can be done anywhere, anytime. So next time you need to get your blood flowing after sitting for too long, give some of these exercises a try.

Best Leg Exercises You Can Do at Home

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