Nowadays everybody is looking to become fit and healthy.
Most of you either join the gym or opt for the regular walking or running regime.
Some free weight workouts benefit you in gaining the size and strength of your muscles
But if you compare them with the machine exercises, it is quite easy to learn the machine workouts.
Doing less press on the machines is also one of the great workouts which we usually do in the gym for strengthening our legs core muscles.
Adding more weight to the machine put more pressure on your muscles without any risk of injury.
In the leg press machines, you may or may not use the weights.
It is entirely your choice as some of you might be preparing for the sports.
The leg press workouts make your leg stronger.
But there are some fewer press alternatives also which you can do at your place.
So, here in this post, I will discuss with you the best leg press alternatives.
But before talking about the leg press alternatives.
I want to tell you that how to do the leg press work for making our muscles strong and besides this I will explain you its pros and cons also.
I am sure after reading the below blog post you will get the answer to all your queries about the leg press alternatives.
So, let’s begin the post!
- Which types of Muscles Does the Leg Press Work?
- What are the Pros and Cons of the Leg Press done on machines?
- Benefits of the leg press alternatives
- Why do you need to do the leg press alternatives?
- List of the six best Leg Press Alternatives
- Weight-Free Workouts: Moves You Need for Stronger Quads
- 1. Bodyweight jump squat
- 2. Fixed-place side lunge
- 3. Double leg butt kick
- 4. Pistol squat
- 5. Warrior I
- Top 9 Advanced Bodyweight Leg Exercises
- How to Choose the Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises
- 1. Elevated Deep Lunge
- 2. Elevated Shrimp Squat
- 3. Back Leg Elevated Lunge
- 4. Side Lunge Squat
- 5. Single Leg Deadlift
- 6. Sissy Squat
- 7. Box Jump
- 8. Depth Jump
- 9. Box and Depth Jump Combination
- Programming and Troubleshooting for Bodyweight Leg Strength
- Don’t Skip Leg Day!
- Gym Equipment 101: The Hanging Leg Raise Machine
- How to Use the Hanging Leg Raise Machine
- Variations of the Hanging Leg Raise
- Making the Hanging Leg Raise Part of Your Workout Routine
- Customize Your Training with Exercise Variations (Easier & Harder)
- Bodyweight exercise variations list – easy, intermediate, hard
- 6 Bodyweight Moves For Stronger Quads (No Equipment Needed)
- 1. Forward Lunges
- 2. Jump Squats
- 3. Single-Leg Squats
- 4. Static Squats
- 5. Mountain Climbers
- 6. Step-Ups Or Bench Sprint
- Bodyweight Leg Exercises: Build Muscle Without Weights
- Snowboarder Jumps
- Side Lunges
- Tuck Jumps
- Speed Skater Lunges
- Squat Jumps
- Jump Lunges
Which types of Muscles Does the Leg Press Work?
The leg press is a compound power lift which involves the use of the maximum number of legs muscle groups.
You can do the leg press on a machine in a gym, or you might follow the leg press alternatives like squats.
The leg press functions in all the four segments of our leg muscles in our lower body section.
With the variations in the reps, you can increase the effect of the workout on the legs.
The below are the four segments of the leg muscles on which it works:
There are several workouts for our lower body which involve the gluteal muscles and doing the leg press is a far better option.
Do you know what gluteal are?
Well! Gluteal is the vital group of muscle in our buttocks part.
When you do the leg press, it entirely involves them in control and lifts time.
If you put on more weight in the leg press machine with less number of reps, then it will ultimately result in the development of the muscle mass in your gluteal.
It all adds the wideness inside the gluteal and upsurge the perimeter of the hips.
You can quickly feel the improvement in the power of your lower-body for doing any strength-connected workouts.
The next leg muscles on which leg press concentrates is the Quadriceps.
It is one of the largest muscle groups of the legs that located on the front half side of the thighs.
This muscle helps you in lowering or raising your upper part of the body.
During the less press, these muscles help you in pushing the machine in the upward direction.
After doing the first lift, when you get right to control over the weight these muscles act as the ancillary stabilizers.
These muscles located on the lower gluteal towards the knees of the thigh’s back side.
It mainly gives you the power to push off during the running, walking or skating.
If you have strong hamstrings, then it becomes easy for you to increase your speed during such physical activities.
However, the primary purpose of building the hamstrings muscles is to stop the injuries and pulls.
During the leg press activities, the calves of the legs are used as the ancillary muscles.
When you do leg press, it only helps you in toning up your calves.
Besides this, it also benefits in avoiding the injury by building the muscular stamina.
What are the Pros and Cons of the Leg Press done on machines?
Everything in this world has its pros as well as cons also.
So, here I will tell you about some pros and cons of the leg press that you might not find on any other website.
The following are the pros of the leg press done on machines:
- You have to move your leg in the fixed movement which is quite good for the people who are beginners or who were prone to some injury in the past
- It is one of the safest and correct way to do legs exercise in comparison to the dumbbell and barbell lifts.
- People who desire to isolate a particular muscle in the leg like hamstrings or quads can make the best use of this exercise
- You can increase or decrease the amount of weight as per your requirement in the leg press machine
The following are the cons of the leg press done on machines:
- Since the leg press machines do not need any engagement or activation of the vital steadying muscles, it means that these workouts can lead to an injury-prone body and muscular imbalances.
- During the less press on the machines, the muscles of the lower body get strained, and you might end up with the pain in your leg muscles if you are a beginner
- It might not support small muscles of the knees, hips, and ankles during the overall muscle development
Benefits of the leg press alternatives
Some people who are new to the leg press do not know precisely why leg press did.
They start doing the leg press just like any other workout.
Do you know what the benefits of the leg press alternatives are? No? Not yet?
Well! Don’t worry as here I will tell you the benefits of the leg press alternatives and also the advantages it offers to you:
Support work needs
The leg press required for the development and proper growth of our legs.
It is one of the best ways to increase the volume of the workouts without any risks.
You can begin with the three sets of 10 squats along with the three sets of 10 leg curls.
In fact, climbing the stairs is also one of the fantastic leg press workouts.
Attaining fat loss goal
Leg press alternatives are a useful tool for achieving the fat loss in the body.
To increase the intensity of the leg press, you might add some weights and make more reps of the exercise.
You can do more reps if your body allows.
Too weak for leg press machines
If you are vulnerable to do leg press on the machines with the weight, then leg press alternatives is a far better option.
It will help you in building the strength and power of your legs quickly without putting much strain.
No boring routine
While doing leg press on the machines, you have to follow the old and regular way of doing the workouts.
But while pursuing the leg press alternatives, you can change the exercise daily.
You can either do back or front squats or the step ups.
Even a mixture of all the workouts is a good idea too.
You will never feel bored while doing the different leg press alternatives.
Why do you need to do the leg press alternatives?
There are so many people to whom I come across daily, and most of them feel strong after doing the repeat workouts on the leg press machines.
But according to me if you feel heavy and robust then that does not mean that it is the best useful exercise for your legs.
It is essential that you include a variety of different leg press alternatives in your workout session.
If you talk about any personal experiences, I am not a very big admirer of the leg press machines, and there are so many of you who will agree with me in such views.
I know that leg press is a good option for the beginners for doing the strengthening of their legs.
But people who already trained do not need leg press much in their daily workout session.
The leg press workout on the machines is usually dull and you didn’t enjoy it much after a span of time.
For example, if you talk about the athletes, the leg press machines are quite less valuable for them as they do not want to utilize their force in only one direction.
Their coaches mostly recommend them doing more free weight workouts in comparison to the machine workout.
With an isolated-workout, you will only focus on the isolated-muscles.
On the other hand, if you follow a whole body workout that works not just for your legs but also for your entire body (like squats) then this will improve your full core of the body.
In fact, if you do not have any access to the leg press machines then also the leg press alternatives are an excellent option.
You can either do them at your home or in the garage.
You do not have to pay any money to your gym owner for doing these exercises.
List of the six best Leg Press Alternatives
Now let’s talk about the main topic of our blog “leg press alternatives.”
Most of you must be looking for the leg press alternatives that not only target on the low body muscles in the same way.
The below other options will focus on the glutes, quads, and hamstrings correctly.
You can do small variations in these leg press alternatives for the building up of the mass and strength in your legs.
The following are the six best leg press alternatives that you can do on your own for the practical results:
The first leg press alternative about which I will talk here is the back squats.
Yes, you read it right!
The back squats are one of the oldest and accessible forms of squats that we do for the backs.
It offers you more benefits than the leg press as this technique functions on your whole lower portion of the body so that you get the more powerful core.
Some of you might use the leg press machines as the supporting workout but including the step ups in your workout session is a great leg press alternative.
You can do the step ups either with the dumbbells on your side or with the help of the barbell over your back.
Using dumbbell or barbell in the step ups helps you in getting all the benefits of the free weights usage.
It also targets all that muscles which is commonly targeted by the leg press machines.
While doing the step-ups, you need a bench or some object of the same height.
It is one of the convenient and comfortable leg press alternatives which you can do in your home or any place.
You just need to have some items over which you can step up.
But remember all the objects must be sturdy and robust so that they do not move on their own during the exercise.
You can do any squat as a leg press alternative, and fronts squats are also very beneficial.
The front squats need more work as it put your upper position of the body in the leg press setup position.
For doing the front squats, you need to have an excellent physical posture so that your core gets more activated during the exercise.
Front squats are incredible for the development of the strength lower back and lower body area.
Bulgarian Split Squats
It is also one of the best leg press alternatives for doing the first lift.
In this option, you have to do the more advanced lifting.
It needs proper balance and strength, and that is why I will not suggest this exercise to the beginners.
Now let me tell you that how can you do the Bulgarian split squats!
Well! To do this type of squats you required some elevated surface where you can put your back leg.
The place where you will do this exercise must suits to your height as well.
In the beginning, you can do this training without the weights, but as you get mastered, you might add barbell on your back or the dumbbells on your side.
One thing I want to tell you here is that doing this leg press alternative with the weights is quite tricky as you have to maintain proper balance while doing the reps.
Hack Squats need a distinct hack squat machine.
Thus doing the hack squats depends on the condition that whether you have this tool with you or not at your place.
It is quite similar to the leg press machine, but still, there are few differences between the two.
In the leg press machines you have to make force to push up the weights but in a hack squat the weight is over you.
And you have to push it with the squats while lying down on a particular angle.
You can use the barbell in this leg press alternative but only after fetching some experience.
Lunges are also just like squats and are one of the most common leg press alternatives.
During the lunges, the primary focus is on your legs and glutes.
You have to move one step forward with your one leg and keep the thigh corresponding to the floor, and the knee should bend on the 90-degree angle.
Remember you don’t have to pass your toe, and if it happens, then you have to move one more step far and make a more significant lunge.
During the lunges, you have to keep the upper portion of your body straight, and your chest must be out.
While stretching your back leg, you should try to keep it straight as much as you can.
It helps in making the best use of your quads.
So, it’s wrapping time for my blog friends! I hope you enjoyed reading it a lot!
The entire above-discussed leg press alternative in the blog post can work great as a substitute for your leg press machine workout in the gym.
You can easily include it in your workout regime.
The leg press alternatives provide a variety of your training and also help you in increasing your athletic performance and strength.
You must try them once during the workout session.
I hope now you are well aware of the leg press alternatives.
But still, if you have any query to ask about the above blog post, then please do write to me in the below comment box.
I will reply back to you soon.
Weight-Free Workouts: Moves You Need for Stronger Quads
Getting to the gym is hard enough as is, and the wait for equipment once you’re there makes it even worse. Fortunately, you can get a great workout without any dumbbells, barbells, or fancy machinery. Our Weight-Free Workouts series focuses on a different muscle group each time to show you how to build strength, even when you don’t have access to the gym. With these moves, any time can be workout time.
Most gym-goers know they shouldn’t skip leg day if they want to avoid developing skinny legs that look like they belong on a different body. Though aesthetics matter, the physical benefits are substantial as well. Taking the time to build your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes can boost your metabolism and help you shed fat. Strengthening the muscles in your legs can also improve your performance in other sports, reduce your risk of injury, and make running significantly easier.
Today’s topic is quadriceps, the four muscles that make up the front part of your upper leg. Though most guys look to lunges and squats with a heavy weight across their shoulders to strengthen their quads, this method can be hard on your back. Instead of risking an injury, try these five bodyweight exercises.
1. Bodyweight jump squat
Bodyweight jump squats are difficult, but effective. | iStock.com
Regular bodyweight squats are the best place for beginners to start because form is everything with this exercise. It doesn’t matter that you have loads on your barbell if your knees barely bend or your back is out of alignment. Still, you can only perform so many basic squats before you need to increase the intensity. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce jump squats.
For this move, you’ll start with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. You can cross your arms in front of your chest or bend your elbows and tuck your hands behind your head, whichever feels most comfortable. Bend your knees and lower your body toward the ground until your knees are bent at 90-degree angles and your thighs are parallel to the floor. From this lowered position, jump straight up as high as you can, then land on slightly bent knees. You should immediately go into the next squat. Check out Muscle & Fitness to see a demonstration.
The benefits of jump squats are numerous. Adding the jump helps build power and also elevates your heart rate, which boost your cardiovascular fitness. Because you need to stop the momentum as you land and lower into the squat, your muscles will also have to work harder the same way they would if you were holding onto a barbell.
2. Fixed-place side lunge
Side lunges work the inner thighs and quads. | iStock.com
Lunges are one of those standard strengthening moves that will never go out of style because they’re so good at working most of the muscles in your lower body, including your quads. Performing the same back to forward motion isn’t all that practical for functional activities and sports, which involve movement in more than one plane of motion. Incorporating some side lunges is a great way to get your body used to moving in a different way. As an added bonus, this move will also help you strengthen the adductor muscles that run along the insides of your thighs.
For this move, start with your feet spaced about double the width of your shoulders apart. You can cross your arms in front of your chest, or extend them straight in front of you. Shift your weight to your left side, and lunge until your left knee is directly over your left ankle and bent at about a 90-degree angle. Push straight back up to the starting position, and repeat. After completing your repetitions on the left leg, switch to the right. Head to Men’s Health to check out a video breaking down this move.
You may have seen side lunges that begin with your feet closer together and require you to step out to the side. Though this move can be effective, it’s hard to get the placement of your foot correct as you step out. Eliminating the step ensures you’ll be lunging the correct way every time.
3. Double leg butt kick
Double leg butt kicks build strength. | iStock.com
The double leg butt kick engages your quads as you push off as hard and fast as you can, which is fantastic for building explosive power. Brute strength is good for simply lifting heavy loads, but power is what’s really going to make you a more functional athlete. If you like to play an occasional game of tennis or basketball with friends, building power is going to be hugely beneficial.
Start in a standing position with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart and a bit of give in your knees. Bend your knees into just a slight squat, then jump with as much force and speed as you can. As your feet come off the ground, pull your heels up to touch your butt before landing with slightly bent knees. You can see a video illustrating this exercise at Bodybuilding.com.
4. Pistol squat
Pistol squats require balance. | iStock.com
A squat variation that will significantly increase your effort, the pistol squat also helps you work on balance since you’ll only be working one leg at a time. If you’re not used to moves performed on a single leg, you may want to start with a modified squat that doesn’t go quite as low. As your balance and strength improve, you’ll gradually be able to lower yourself all the way down without falling over.
For pistol squats, stand on your left leg with your right foot hovering just above the ground. For the best balance, extend your arms out in front of you. Moving in a slow, controlled motion, slowly squat down. Extend your right leg out in front of you as you get closer to the ground, and end with your butt just about touching your left foot. Reverse the motion by using your quads to push straight back up to the starting position. Complete all your repetitions on the left side before switching legs. Go to Livestrong to see the move in action.
5. Warrior I
Even yoga moves can benefit your lower body. | iStock.com
Often known as a way to improve flexibility, yoga is seriously underrated as an exercise to increase strength. The poses are essentially isometric holds, which many of us already incorporate in our routines. You can think of warrior I as a plank for your lower body because it involves the same focused effort and challenges multiple muscles at once. It’s particularly good for your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
To get into this pose, start in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Step your left leg about four feet forward as you reach your arms straight up with your palms facing in, then lift your gaze toward the ceiling. Turn your right foot so it points out to the side at a 45-degree angle, then bend your left leg to lower into a half lunge. You should work to square your hips as much as possible. Yoga Journal recommends holding the pose for at least 30 seconds before switching sides.
It’s no secret that the legs and hips are comprised of some of the biggest muscles in the body. When you’ve got strong legs, so many athletic activities are open to you: running, jumping, climbing, and the infinite possibilities therein.
You’d be hard pressed to find a high-level athlete in almost any sport who doesn’t have strong legs–it’s just a necessary part of athleticism.
If you ask most people how to build strong legs, they’ll probably direct you straight over to the squat rack. And that’s fine–weighted squats are a great way to build up those big muscles in your legs. But it’s not the only way, and it’s not necessarily the best way to build applicable strength for your athletic endeavors.
In this article, I’ll show you some of my favorite bodyweight leg exercises for building the power, strength, and athleticism you need for the activities you love.
Top 9 Advanced Bodyweight Leg Exercises
Here are the exercises we’ll cover in this article:
- Elevated Deep Lunge
- Elevated Shrimp Squat
- Back Leg Elevated Lunge
- Side Lunge Squat
- Single Leg Deadlift
- Sissy Squat
- Box Jump
- Depth Jump
- Box and Depth Jump Combination
Below we’ll go through each of these exercises in detail, focusing on who should be doing which exercises and the benefits of each. Let’s get into it.
How to Choose the Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises
When it comes to bodyweight leg exercises, most people just go straight for the pistol squat once they’ve got their basic bodyweight squat down, and they think that’s all there is. Don’t get me wrong–we love pistol squats (see our in-depth pistol squat tutorial here).
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. If you’re looking to build advanced strength in your legs, these exercises will help you in ways “typical” exercises can’t:
Our method of training ensures your efforts are spent only on exercises that will further your training goals. In the exercise descriptions below, you’ll see recommendations for exercises based on your level and the types of activities you love.
That way, you’re not wasting your efforts and you’re building the specific attributes you need for your life. Win-win!
These exercises are pretty advanced (although if you use supports, you can adjust them to a lower level, as demonstrated in the video), so you may want to spend time on the following resources before diving into the exercises I’ll show you below:
- Hip mobility routine
- Basic squat technique
- Locomotive mobility and strength exercises
- Proper jump technique
Now let’s look at these 9 advanced bodyweight leg exercises in detail.
1. Elevated Deep Lunge
The purpose of this exercise is to develop strength in the deepest range of motion of your hips and knees.
Who Should Do This Exercise:
Anyone who does sports that require strength in a low-to-the-ground position, such as wrestling, martial arts, or surfing.
Important Details for the Elevated Deep Lunge:
- Step up on to an elevated surface with one leg, trying to get as deep of a bend in the knee as possible.
- Try to use as little momentum as you can, and emphasize strength and control.
- In the video, I show several assisted variations of this exercise before showing the full version. It’s a good idea to start by holding on to a support as you do this exercise.
- In the first variation, you’ll place more of the tension on the elevated leg, whereas in the second (assisted) variation, you’ll shift your weight toward the back leg.
Why We Love the Elevated Deep Lunge
This is a great exercise for encouraging greater range of motion in the lunge position. It is a common athletic position in many sports and activities and emphasizing it in your training will transfer to good benefits on the playing field.
2. Elevated Shrimp Squat
The purpose of this exercise is to improve your balance and control and provide more resistance in a greater angle of hip flexion.
This exercise is best for those who can do the regular shrimp squat well, and for those who require a good amount of strength in this angle (wrestlers, climbers, BJJ practitioners).
Important Details for the Elevated Shrimp Squat:
- The key is to find the right upper body angle for your body, to keep your weight balanced in the middle of your foot as you squat up and down.
- Adding in the elevated component adds a greater test of balance. If you need to work on your basic shrimp squat, our friend Al Kavadlo has a great tutorial on his blog.
- Be sure to use a support as needed, and focus on moving through this exercise with control.
Why We Love the Elevated Shrimp Squat
Shrimp squats feature prominently in our Integral Strength program because they help build control and balance through challenging ranges of motion. This isn’t something most exercises emphasize, but that control is important for everything from sports and training, to preventing injury as you get older.
3. Back Leg Elevated Lunge
The purpose of this exercise is to provide resistance in the hip flexors and quadriceps in a stretched position.
If you need strength in this extended position, this is a great exercise for you. This includes jumpers, sprinters, climbers, and anyone who practices a martial art that includes a lot of kicking.
Important Details for the Back Leg Elevated Lunge:
- Elevate the back leg, starting out by holding a support, and push through the balls of the feet on the back leg.
- The weight should be primarily on the back leg, using the front leg as support.
- Keep the upper body upright and tall, and make sure to engage the quads and hip flexors on the elevated leg to initiate the movement.
Why We Love the Back Leg Elevated Lunge
The extension you get in this exercise is pretty unique–it’s not an angle we typically train. But many activities can benefit from increased strength in this position, so it’s a good one to add to your routine if you do any of the activities mentioned.
4. Side Lunge Squat
The purpose of this exercise is to provide resistance to the adductors and to the hamstrings in the abducted position.
This exercise is good for those that need strength in the outstretched position, such as BJJ practitioners, climbers, and anyone who practices a martial art that includes a lot of kicking.
Important Details for the Side Lunge Squat:
- Use a support at first and start with a wide stance.
- Drop your weight toward one side, bending that knee and keeping the other knee straight. Only drop as far as you can go comfortably.
- In the full range of motion, you’ll drop all the way to the side, but if you need to sit back some, that’s perfectly fine.
- Try to engage the hamstrings on the straight leg to pull yourself up, rather than just pushing through the foot on the bent leg.
- In the elevated variation, if you are at the level to perform that, be sure to move slowly so as not to overstrain the muscles.
Why We Love the Side Lunge Squat
This is a great exercise for working on straight leg hamstring strength and increasing your flexibility on the bent leg. When you work on both sides, it’s also a way to assess distinctions in mobility and strength from side to side.
5. Single Leg Deadlift
The purpose of this exercise is to work on balance, hip hinge, and provide closed chain resistance for the hamstrings.
This is a good exercise for anyone to practice, as hamstring strength is important for a wide variety of functional movements and sports.
Important Details for the Single Leg Deadlift:
- Keep your hips, chest, and shoulders square as you hinge forward.
- Make sure to lock out the supporting leg and keep your chest up, gazing forward.
- Use a support in the beginning, then as you work up to doing this without a support, you can use your fingers as “training wheels” on the floor.
Why We Love the Single Leg Deadlift
Straight leg hamstring strength is often neglected. This is a great way to focus on that, while also improving balance and awareness of your body in space. Proper hip hinge is also a very important concept for improving your power and athletic ability in many pursuits.
It also may decrease the incidence of hamstring pulls and strains.
6. Sissy Squat
The purpose of this exercise is to provide resistance for the quadriceps in a stretched position.
This is another good exercise for most people, as it builds quadriceps strength in a unique way.
Important Details for the Sissy Squat:
- Try to keep your torso in a diagonal line with your knees as you bring your knees forward and your shoulders back. You’ll be dropping your knees down to the ground as you push up on the balls of your feet.
- Do not worry about the myth that bringing your knees past your ankles is dangerous–it’s not. This is a great exercise for the quads.
Why We Love the Sissy Squat
The unique positioning of this exercise allows for building quadriceps strength in a way that regular squats do not. It also teaches a person how much tolerance they have in these angles, and shows where they need improvement.
7. Box Jump
The purpose of this exercise is to teach body awareness and precision in the jump.
If you’ve done a fair amount of jump training and you’re interested in activities such as parkour, trail running, or in general athleticism, box jumps are great for you to practice.
Important Details for the Box Jump:
- You want to make sure to start in a deep squat position, with your arms pulled back.
- Raise your arms overhead and bring your knees toward your chest to create momentum.
- Land softly on the elevated surface, with your knees bent.
- It’s a good idea to work on the basic jump before attempting box jumps.
Why We Love the Box Jump
The box jump is great for providing a marking point for consistency in your jumps. Plus, you have a lot of control over the height of the jump, so you can start at a lower level and work your way up.
Box jumps are a sticking point for many people who do CrossFit, but that’s often a mobility issue. See how to address that here.
8. Depth Jump
The purpose of this exercise is to provide intermediate to advanced plyometric stimulus.
This exercise is best for those people already well versed in jumping activities, such as runners, basketball players, jumpers, or those who do parkour.
Important Details for the Depth Jump:
- Don’t start on too high of a surface, as you don’t want to overstress your joints.
- Make sure to land softly on the balls of your feet, driving your knees forward.
- As you get more comfortable with this, you can experiment with jumping from higher surfaces.
Why We Love the Depth Jump
The depth jump is geared toward more advanced trainees, but it’s a good way to train drops in a safe and controlled manner, since you can control the height of the drop.
9. Box and Depth Jump Combination
The purpose of this exercise is to provide advanced plyometric stimulus.
This is definitely not one for beginners. If you already do a lot of jumping activities, adding this in will be really good for improving your power and precision.
Important Details for the Box and Depth Jump Combination:
- Here you will be combining the box and depth jumps, one right after the other.
- The key point is to always land softly, both when jumping up for the box jump, and when landing from the depth jump.
- Do not overdo this one. Go slow and test out how this feels for you.
Why We Love the Box and Depth Jump Combination
The combination of the box jump and depth jump will take your jump training to the next level. Of course, you should only practice this if you’re a seasoned jumper, but if you are, then working these into your routine will help with activities like parkour, basketball, or other activities that require precise and powerful jumps.
Programming and Troubleshooting for Bodyweight Leg Strength
Many of these exercises are probably pretty different from what you’re used to. They’re certainly not your typical “gym” exercises, and most calisthenics programs will usually have more standard squat and lunge variations.
So, in this section, I’ll go through some considerations, including common barriers and programming.
Common Barriers to Building Leg Strength
If you ran into some trouble with the exercises in this article, you may need to spend some time on your weak areas. Here are some resources to help you out with common barriers:
- Front and back scales for addressing balance issues
- Targeted stretches for limited ankle mobility
- Jump training for building power in the legs
- Tips for improving hamstring flexibility
- Advice for keeping your knees healthy
Programming These Exercises Into Your Routine
There are many ways you can work these exercises into your training regimen, but the following recommendations will help you with programming depending on your goal:
|General Purpose Strength||• 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps
• Rest 90 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
Don’t Skip Leg Day!
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.
Practice the exercises I’ve shown you, choosing those that match your goals best, and you’ll have a strong lower body in no time.
For strength throughout your body that applies to your daily life and favorite activities, try our Integral Strength program. Just like we’ve shown in this article, Integral Strength helps you figure out where you need the most work and choose the exercise variations that will help you reach your goals.
That way, your efforts are specific and directed, and you’ll build the strength you want that much faster.
Build Strength for the Activities You Love
Over 8 weeks, Integral Strength will help you build the kind of specific strength that carries over into demanding physical skills and dynamic sports.
Integral Strength Details
Strong massive quads muscle have more than an aesthetic purpose. Struggling with your quads? Unless you’re genetically gifted with massive quads, you might have a hard time growing these muscles. On top of that, most guys focus on their chest and arms, and neglect legs altogether.
These muscles play a key role in athletic performance, knee strength, and everyday movements like squatting and running. Plus, they contribute to your overall balance and stability. Skipping leg day will not result in muscular imbalances but also increase injury risk and affect your workouts.
What if you simply can’t make it to the gym? Well, you can always work out at home.
Believe it or not, you don’t need a squat rack, a Smith machine, and fancy gym equipment to build massive quads. Bodyweight exercises can be just as effective as traditional leg workouts. First, let’s see why these muscles are so important and how they benefit your body.
How Do the Quadriceps Work?
The quadriceps consists of four large muscles located on the front of your thighs. These include:
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus intermedius
- Vastus medialis
- Rectus femoris
The rectus femoris allows you to extend or raise the knees. It’s also the only muscle that makes it possible to flex your hip.
The next three quad muscles are located on the front, lateral, and medial side of the femur. Their primary role is to bend and straighten the knees. They work together with other leg muscles, such as abductors, adductors, hamstrings, and glutes, to allow for everyday movement.
Strong quad muscles can enhance day-to-day activities, such as walking, cycling, running, and squatting. They also contribute to hip rotation and flexibility. Additionally, these muscles support the knee joint. If they are weak, your risk of knee injuries may increase.
You are using the quads whenever you walk or get up from a chair. Even the slightest injury to these muscles can affect your mobility. For this reason, it’s so important to train them regularly.
Some exercises, such as stair climbing, cycling, and sprinting, will give your quads a natural workout. Others, such as leg extensions, isolate these muscles and ignite their growth. There are also compound exercises that hit the quads along with other muscles, providing a full body workout:
- Leg presses
- Hip thrusts
Ideally, your leg workout should include a mix of compound and isolation movements. If the quads are your weakest muscle group, train them more than once a week. Another option is to dedicate them an entire workout.
For example, you could train your hamstrings, glutes, and calves on Mondays and your quads on Fridays. This will allow you to fully focus on these muscles and get the most out of your workout.
Can You Build Massive Quads without Weights?
Bodyweight exercises are more popular than ever, and for good reason. In today’s hectic world, few people have the time needed to hit the gym at least four or five times a week. The good news is that training at home can be just as effective as working out at the gym. Consistency is the key.
However, make sure you have realistic goals. Home workouts won’t turn you into the next Mr. Olympia. You can build massive quads, carve a six pack, and add pounds of lean muscle, but up to a point.
To get results, it’s essential to keep your muscles guessing and use proper bodyweight progressions. If you do the same workouts over and over, your progress will stall. Even the most basic quad exercises can provide enough tension and overload to build mass as long as you do it right.
Let’s take bodyweight squats. This classic exercise seems way too simple to produce any results. Yet, it can take your body to a whole new level. It all comes down to your training technique. You can increase muscle tension by using pause reps, eccentric training, and other methods.
Eccentric training, for instance, involves using slow, controlled motions during the lowering phase of an exercise. When you’re squatting, do it slowly rather than rushing through the reps.
Squeeze your glutes and quads as hard as you can. Hold the contraction for three to five seconds at the top of the movement. If you do it right, you’ll feel your muscles burning.
Additionally, you can always combine bodyweight training with traditional gym workouts. This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Use both training methods during the same session, or split your workouts based on your schedule.
For example, if you can’t make it to the gym this week, train your quads at home. Next week, head over to the gym and try completely different exercises. This is a great way to keep your workouts varied and challenge your muscles into growth.
The secret to muscle growth lies in progressive overload. While it’s true that you can easily add more weight to the bar when training in the gym, you can also progressively overload using bodyweight exercises. This can be done in a number of ways, such as:
- Trying more advanced versions of your favorite exercises
- Add extra sets or reps
- Take shorter breaks
- Perform each rep with a slow, controlled motion
Let’s say you always do bodyweight squats. To build massive quads, try more complex variations, such as the pistol squat, Bulgarian split squats, renegade pistol squats, and box pistol squats. These squat variations will hit your muscles from different angles while increasing your overall strength and endurance.
Best Bodyweight Exercises to Grow Your Quads
Now that you know what your workout should look like, you might wonder what bodyweight exercises are best. Let’s take a look at the most effective movements for massive quads:
Pistol squats or one-leg squats improve functional fitness and build strength. This exercise activates and isolates the quads while enhancing your balance and stability. Since it’s one of the most challenging squat variations, it will shock your muscles into growth.
This movement requires great flexibility, coordination, and leg strength, so it’s not the best choice for beginners. However, if you’ve been training for a while, it shouldn’t be difficult to do it with some practice. Place your hands on a wall or other hard surface for support. Keep training until you’re able to do at least 10 reps.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Another great choice is the Bulgarian split squat. This unilateral movement is popular among runners, boxers, rugby players, and bodybuilders alike. Compared to the standard squat, it’s safer and puts less stress on your back.
When done regularly, the Bulgarian split squat will add size to your quads and build strong glutes. It also hits your core muscles, which in turn, will boost your exercise performance. All you need is a bench, a box, or other hard surfaces to place your foot onto.
The closer you stand to the box, the harder your quads will work. A longer distance will put more emphasis on your glutes and hip flexors.
Depending on your preferences and fitness level, you can do this exercise with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise balls, or your bodyweight only. You can also rest your foot on a gym ball to make the exercise more challenging.
This lunge variation may look simple, but it will get your quads on fire. It’s one of the best exercises for your thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and abs, offering a complete body workout.
Compared to other leg exercises, forward lunges are easier on your joints and unlikely to cause injuries. This makes them ideal for beginners and pro lifters alike. Since they require no equipment, you can knock out a set in front of the TV or in the office during lunch break.
The sissy squat has been around for ages. It not only builds quadriceps strength but also hits smaller leg muscles that are often neglected during traditional workouts.
This exercise requires greater balance and stability than most leg workouts. If you’re a newbie, use one arm to hold onto a pole for support.
When done right, the sissy squat will isolate your quads and cause that burning sensation you’re after. At the same time, it will improve your balance and range of motion.
Even though the box jump doesn’t directly target the quads, it builds explosive power and leg strength. Due to its intense nature, it burns fat and ignites your metabolism. As a result, your quads will look more defined.
This bodyweight exercise s one of the finest examples of plyometric training. It teaches your body to move in a more efficient manner while improving your overall fitness. It’s ideal for building strong, lean legs and blasting fat.
Mix these exercises to boost your leg workout and get better results in less time! Your quads will get bigger, your abs will look ripped, and you’ll gain strength for more complex moves.
Come up with a training plan, choose three to five exercises, and try new variations to keep your body from adapting. The more effort you put into it, the faster your progress .
Gym Equipment 101: The Hanging Leg Raise Machine
by Autumn Jones
Crunches are a tried-and-true fitness staple, but they’re not the only way to build a strong core! You can mix up your ab workout by getting off the floor and making friends with your new favorite core builder — hanging leg raises.
Also known as the “captain’s chair,” the hanging leg raise machine can be found near the weight area at your local Planet Fitness. This piece of equipment allows you to work your mid-section with appropriate support for your back.
How to Use the Hanging Leg Raise Machine
If you’re interested in trying this piece of equipment during your next gym visit, following these six steps will help you perform the exercise safely and effectively:
- Step onto the machine, placing your feet on the footrests provided.
- With your back against the back pad, rest your forearms on the arm pads, and grip the handles with your hands.
- Shift your weight to your arms (so you can safely step off the footrests without falling) and allow your legs to hang straight down beneath you.
- Using the strength of your abdominal muscles and legs, lift your legs up until they are straight out in front of you and parallel to the floor (or as high as you can). At this point, your body should form a 90-degree angle.
- Use control to slowly lower your legs back to the starting position, so they’re hanging beneath you once again.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times to complete one set.
Variations of the Hanging Leg Raise
Once you’ve become comfortable with the movement detailed above, you can work additional muscle groups by experimenting with a few different variations! Here are a few exercises to try.
If lifting your legs straight out in front of you is too challenging, try this easier variation. Instead of keeping your legs straight, bend your knees toward your chest, so your body resembles a balled-up or tucked position at the height of the exercise.
To hone in on your oblique muscles, perform the knee tuck variation but twist your knees to a slight angle during each rep (instead of holding them straight out in front of you). Be sure to alternate sides and keep the number of reps on each side even.
You can add some extra sauce to the hanging leg exercise by adding the bicycle kick! As Men’s Health explains, once your legs are raised in front of you, hold the position and move your feet in a circular motion (as if you were pedaling a bicycle). This helps work your core muscles to a greater degree.
Making the Hanging Leg Raise Part of Your Workout Routine
You can amp up your hanging leg raise session by adding them to an exercise rotation. Since the movement engages a number of muscle groups, it’s the perfect addition to any full-body exercise routine.
For instance, if you’re looking to stick with the theme of using only your body weight, you can do a set of five pushups, squats, and Supermans in between your sets of leg raises. Just set a mat down next to the machine, so you have a space to perform these exercises for a full-body workout.
As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.
Customize Your Training with Exercise Variations (Easier & Harder)
Adapt any workout to your fitness level by choosing the right exercise variation. Scaling with variations can also be used simply to adjust a workout to your current mood and energy level. Maybe you’re just feeling super strong today and want to spice up your workout. Or you’re feeling down and need something easy…
Choose the variation that seems challenging enough, while still maintaining good form.
Click on the exercise to open the suggested variations:
Bodyweight exercise variations list – easy, intermediate, hard
Burpees are amazing calorie burners. They add intensity to every bodyweight workout!
Easy: 4-Count Burpees
Similar to a normal (Flat Out) Burpee, but without touching the ground with your chest. Do the transitions slowly until you can speed it up.
Intermediate: Flat Out Burpees
Squeeze your glutes when lifting your chest up from the floor to avoid overstraining your lower back.
Hard: One Legged 6-Count Burpees
Perform the Burpee on just one leg! Work your stability and leg strength – don’t forget to do a full Push-up in this Burpee variation.
A classic upper body exercise in 3 variations. Looking for more? Check out 8 best Push-up variations for a bigger chest!
Easy: Knee Push-ups
Knee Push-ups are a good start. If your goal is to be able to do a full Push-up, make sure to try doing one at the beginning of every workout.
Avoid letting your elbows flare out to the side and keep your body in a straight line. When you can do more than 12 with perfect form – look for variations!
Hard: Alligator Push-ups
This Push-up variation puts an extra challenge on your abs and your arms! Make sure to aim the knee outside the elbow.
Choose your Lunge variation and be ready to feel your quads and legs work. For even more ideas check out these 10 Lunge variations.
Easy: Forward Lunges
Start slowly and find your balance. Remember that your goal is to use the front leg to push yourself back up!
Intermediate: Lunge to High Knee
Add a High Knee to your lunge to make it more challenging for your one leg stability & strength.
Hard: Lunge High Knee Jump
The end jump in this advanced combo builds your explosiveness and makes your glutes work more, too!
Even though Crunches won’t make your abs visible unless you lose body fat, they can still add extra ab work to any workout and really make you feel the burn.
Instead of pulling up on your neck, focus on squeezing your abs to flex your upper body.
Intermediate: Modified Bicycle Crunches
Flex your knees and keep one foot on the ground to build up strength & stability in the core before moving on to the full version.
Hard: Bicycle Crunches
If you are doing it right, you will really feel this exercise in your obliques. Make it harder by going slowly, don’t rush through the movement!
Already perfected your squat and want more variations? Here are 12 squat variations for your next leg day!
Mastering the bodyweight squat is essential for good results in almost any workout program. If it’s challenging, practice with a chair first.
Not sure how to do proper Squats? Check out common squat mistakes.
Intermediate: Jump Squat
The Jump Squat really challenges the muscular endurance of your legs. Add a small jump between two Jump Squats if you want it easier.
Hard: Butt Kicker Jump Squat
This Jump Squat variation will literally kick your butt – your goal is to jump high enough to be able to touch your butt with your heels while you’re in the air.
Easy: Modified High Plank
Take a High Plank position, hold it shortly and then let your knees rest on the ground. Repeat to build up strength for the full version.
Intermediate: High Plank
Try to get your body in a straight line from head to heel. Make it even harder by squeezing your belly and your glutes at the same time.
Hard: High Plank Leg Lifts
Lifting one leg up challenges your core stability. The goal is to not let your spine flex – no need to lift it high! Squeeze your glute and let it pull the leg up.
The Bridge exercises can be progressed nicely to strengthen your back, abs, glutes, and hamstrings.
Push your heels to the floor to lift your hips up. Keep your core tight – you should feel this in the back of your legs and glutes, not in your lower back.
Intermediate: Single Leg Bridge
Add a stability challenge to the Bridge exercise by lifting your leg off the floor. Go slowly and controlled, pushing up from your heel.
Hard: Marching Bridge
A real glute burner! Like a Single Leg Bridge, but performed on alternating sides. Aim to keep your hips at the same level, don’t let them fall from side to side.
8. Leg Raises
If you have time for only one abs exercise in your workout, Leg Raises are more effective than Crunches or Sit-ups. However, make sure to progress slowly and maintain good form.
Easy: Assisted Leg Raises
Start with a smaller range of motion. Don’t let your legs fall down, lean on something to keep your balance. The goal is to control the move with your core and not arch your back.
Intermediate: Leg Raises
Lower your legs as low as possible without arching your back. It’s better to progress slowly than to perform this exercise by straining your lower back.
Hard: Leg Raises + Reverse Crunch
Once you’ve mastered the Leg Raises, add a Reverse Crunch. Keep lifting your legs up toward you head until your hips are off the floor. Return to the starting position slowly and controlled.
These exercise variations will come in handy when you want to customize your workouts.
It’s better to choose an easier variation and do it well than to push yourself into something you can’t do with good form! Find out what’s challenging for you and be patient – you will get stronger with persistence and time. Check this list of common bodyweight exercise mistakes to make sure your form is on point!
If you’re looking for an individualized bodyweight workout plan, check out the 12-week home workout plan in the Results App!
6 Bodyweight Moves For Stronger Quads (No Equipment Needed)
You want strong, lean quads? Isolate those enviable thigh muscles by using advanced plyometrics of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in sets.
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These six explosive bodyweight moves will seriously work your quads, and the best part is you don’t need even need to set foot in a gym.
1. Forward Lunges
A deep forward lunge is a great way to ease into your quad routine before you step into the fancier footwork.
- Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart
- Bring the right leg forward into a lunge
- Keep the front and back knee at a 90 degree angle
- Make sure your knees do not extend past your toes.
- Allow the left knee to tap the floor one time
- Keep the chest tall and back straight while performing the lunge
- Then return to the standing position and lunge with the left
- Finish 10 on each side, then return to the standing position
- This time, repeat each set tapping the back knee twice
This exercise should isolate the quads to warm them up for the rest of the routine.
2. Jump Squats
Are your legs warmed up yet? It’s time to really get the blood flowing with a set of jump squats. Get ready to feel the burn.
- Stand tall with feet slightly more than shoulder width apart
- Bend down to your squat position and keep your knees over your toes
- With explosive force, jump as high as you can (while maintaing control)
- Land back in the squat position and repeat for two sets of 10
- Take a quick 20 second break, then up the intensity (if you dare!)
- Stand tall then reassume the squat position with just one leg
- Hold the other leg in front of you as you hop then squat
- When you have performed five with the right, switch for five on the left
Now that your body is kicked into full gear, take advantage of the muscle isolation with slow steady motions.
3. Single-Leg Squats
After jumping around, this should be easy… in theory.
- Start tall with your feet shoulder width apart
- Assume the squat position on one leg
- Hold the opposite leg extended in front
- Squat slow and controlled for a set of 10
- Switch to the opposite leg and finish 10 more
- Hop back to the other side and perform five more
- Hold the last one at the bottom for 10 seconds
- Switch to the other leg and perform five squats
- Hold again at the bottom for 10 seconds and release
Your legs should be very toasty by now (if not slightly on fire!).
4. Static Squats
Let’s get both legs engaged again, by holding a squat at the bottom with a pulse for intense muscle burn.
- With your feet about shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight and bend your knees down into squat position
- Do not allow your knees to extend past your toes
- Hold the position as low as possible for 30 seconds
- Count 30 seconds, then release
- Perform the squat one more time
- Count another 30 seconds
- Pulse the last 10 seconds with a slight bend in the knees
Your legs may start to feel like Jell-O at this point — but don’t fret! There’s only two more quad exercises left.
5. Mountain Climbers
Continue on to more advanced plyometric with a quick pace by taking to the ground. This exercise is great for your core as well.
- Take to the floor in a push-up position
- Keep the chest tall and head in line with spine
- Alternate bringing your left and right knees forward towards your chest, switching legs in quick, rapid movements
- Set a quicker pace for high intensity muscle burn
- Count a set of 20 on each leg, then rest
Just when you thought the workout was almost over, finish it off with a butt-busting quad exercise. It’s time to jump the bench with a sprint.
6. Step-Ups Or Bench Sprint
Finish hard with a sprint on the bench!
- Start with a bench or ledge with a height to your liking
- Alternate legs by using your right to pull your left up
- Then use your left leg to pull your right up
- Finish off with leg sprints 10 times by alternating legs
And there you have it! An intense bodyweight workout to fire up those quads. Add these moves to your leg-day routine and you’ll be seeing results in no time.
- How to Work Quads Without Weights
- How to Strengthen Quad Muscles Without Weights
- Bench Sprint
- How to Do a Static Squat
Bodyweight Leg Exercises: Build Muscle Without Weights
Read More >>
The Bodyweight Leg Exercise Circuit is an intense workout for building muscle without dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells. Training the muscles of the lower body provides injury-preventing and power-enhancing strength and stability for athletes of all ages and levels.
My circuit of bodyweight leg exercises is a quick and efficient way to finish off your strength training session. All you need is an 18-inch plyometric box or bench and a stop watch.
Bodyweight Leg Exercise Circuit
Aim to finish all four bodyweight leg exercises (70 reps total) in 90 seconds or less.
- Assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than hip width
- Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and lower into squat until thighs are parallel to ground
- Extend hips and knees to drive up out of squat position
- Perform for 20 reps
- Step forward into lunge position
- Lower until top of front thigh is parallel to floor, keeping knee behind toes
- Push back into standing position
- Repeat with opposite leg
- Perform 10 reps each leg
- Stand behind box or bench
- Place one foot on box and other on ground
- Jump as high as possible, pushing off foot on box
- While in air, switch legs so you land with opposite foot on box
- Repeat with other foot as quickly as possible
- Perform 10 reps each leg
- Begin with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and hands behind head
- Perform Squat and explosively jump as high as possible
- Land softly in squat position and immediately perform again
- Repeat for 10 reps
Once the circuit is complete, take a two-minute break. Repeat the circuit in the same order for two to three sets.
A strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level since 2002, Jason Spray is currently the director of strength and conditioning for men’s basketball and assistant director for football at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also aids in day-to-day physical and nutritional development. Spray earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middle Tennessee and is CSCS, SCCC, USAW, NSCA, NASE, FMS and CSCCa certified. He is also a USA Weightlifting Club coach and a certified physical therapy aide. Spray has trained athletes ranging from high school to professional and Olympic levels. He has been featured in Premier Players Magazine and is the head sports performance adviser for RSP Nutrition.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock
In today’s short video, I take a look at some of my favorite exercises ever to build strong legs using nothing but your own bodyweight.
For all of these exercises you don’t need any equipment at all, but you do need to work really hard in order to get the most out of the exercises.
Here are 7 of the best bodyweight exercises ever for super strong legs:
Primary muscles worked: Quads
Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs, lower back
How to do them: Start in a squat position with one hand touching the ground. Jump up as high as you can, rotating 180 degrees midair. Land back in a squat position, touching the ground with the opposite hand and repeat.
Watch a quick demonstration of snowboarder jumps at 0:30 in the video.
Primary muscles worked: Hamstrings, quads, glutes
Secondary muscles worked: Calves, abs, lower back
How to do them: Stand straight with your legs wider than hip width apart. Bend one knee as far as you can while keeping the other leg straight to the side. Raise back up and repeat on the opposite side.
View side lunges in action at 0:38 in the video.
Primary muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes
Secondary muscles worked: Lower back, abductors, abductors, Calves
How to do them: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Jump up as high as you can, tucking your knees into your chest. Land and repeat immediately.
Watch tuck jumps at 0:46 in the video.
Speed Skater Lunges
Primary muscles worked: Hamstrings, quads, glutes
Secondary muscles worked: Calves, abs, lower back
How to do them: Stand in a side lunge position with one leg bent parallel to the floor and the other leg straight to the side. Jump up explosively as you switch legs. Now the previously straight leg will be bent and the previously bent leg will be straight to the other side. Try and keep your core tight and stay as low as possible as you switch sides as fast as you can.
See speed skater jumps at 0:52 in the video.
Primary muscles worked: Quads
Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs, lower back
How to do them: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor, then jump up as explosively as you can. Land in a squat position and repeat.
Watch squat jumps at 1:00 in the video.
Primary muscles worked: Quads, glutes, outer thigh muscles
Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, adductors, inner thigh muscles, internal rotators
How to do them: Start in a lunge position with your knees touching or almost touching the floor.Jump up explosively and switch legs so that your rear leg is in the front and front leg is in the rear. Go fast!
Watch jump lunges at 1:09 in the video.
Primary muscles worked: Quads, glutes
Secondary muscles worked: Hamstrings, adductors, internal rotators
How to do them: Stand on one leg, with the other leg straight in front of you. Lower yourself down on one leg while keeping your opposite leg off the ground. Raise back up to standing, then repeat on your other leg.
View full pistols at 1:16 in the video.
Can’t do a pistol yet? Check out these beginner modifications and how to work up to doing pistols using candlestick rolls.