When it comes to fitness, your legs should be like the turbo engine in your fantasy sports car: all stealth and silence as you putter along doing your daily errands, then an omnipotent force of power that reveals itself with a roar when you hit the gas. Leg day should be a breeze. Your leg day workout; a ritual.
If you’re not there yet, don’t worry. We’re here to help. And you don’t even need to leave your home or mess with fancy machines and clunky weights. Choose one move from each of these four categories to create a complete, four-part lower body circuit. Repeat each circuit three times per workout.
Build Your Own Leg Day Bodyweight Workout
Quads (Select One Exercise)
- Squats: stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slightly turned out, arms by your sides. Bend knees, allowing your hips to drift back as you squat until your quads are parallel to the floor, knees over your toes. Widen your stance if you can’t hit that seated position. Do 10 reps.
- Lunges: from a standing position, step your right foot forward, knee bent. Allow your back knee to bend as you sink toward the floor. Push through the heel of your right foot to return to standing. Do 10 lunges on your right side, then switch to your left.
- Wall Sits: place your back against a flat wall, feet about a foot in front of you. Slide down the wall until your legs form a 90-degree seated position, knees over toes (you may need to adjust your footing to create the proper angle). Hold for one minute.
- Leg Circles: lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor, straighten your right leg, then raise it up off the floor and make a circular motion in the air with it (up to ceiling, out to side, down to floor, across your midsection). Make 10 circles, then switch sides.
Hamstrings (Select One Exercise)
- Curls: stand facing a wall for support, feet parallel. Bend your right knee and raise your flexed right foot toward your butt, focusing on contracting your hamstring the whole time. Hold your foot in the contracted position for 5 counts. Release. Repeat 10 times on the right side, then 10 on the left.
- Elevated Bridges: lie on your back, bend your knees, and raise your feet in the air. Rest your heels on the edge of a coffee table or chair. Push through your heels as your raise your hips off the ground, feeling your hamstrings contract. Lower and raise 10 times.
- Inverted Plank: lie on your back, legs extended, torso propped up on your elbows. Push through your heels and raise your legs and hips a few inches off the floor to create an upside-down plank. Hold for 10 counts, then relax. Do 10 reps.
- Bird Dog: start on all fours. Keeping your back straight, extend opposite arm and leg in front and behind you, allowing your hamstring to control the movement. Hold for 5 counts, then return to all fours. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
Calves (Select One Exercise)
- Calf Raises: from either the flat floor or standing on the edge of a step for a greater range of motion, rise up to your toes and back down. Do 20 total.
- Tip-Toe Walks: for one minute, walk around your living room on your tippy toes without coming down. To make it harder, do this going up and down your stairs.
- Sitting Raises: start from a seated position, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Place your hand on your quads and press down for extra resistance. Resist the pressure and rise up onto your toes, then lower back down in a controlled fashion. Do 10 reps.
- Bridge Raises: lie on your back, knees bent, feet close to your butt. Push through your heels and raise hips off the floor, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. From this position, rise up onto your toes and hold for 5 counts, then lower, always remaining in a bridge position. Do 10 reps.
Explosive Power (Select One Exercise)
- Squat Jumps: squat. Push through the ground and jump. Land in squat. Repeat 10 times.
- Single Leg Hops: stand on one leg. Locomote your way around the room with gentle hops, keeping your knee slightly bent and staying near a wall for support if you are worried about your balance. Do one minute on each leg.
- Burpees: from an extended push-up position, bend your knees and jump your feet toward your hands. When your feet hit the ground, push through your soles and jump up into the air. Land with soft knees and drop your arms back down to the floor as you crouch and jump your feet back into the extended push-up position. Do 10 reps.
- Mountain Climbers: from an extended push-up position, hike one knee toward your chest, then extend it while hiking the other. “Run” in place like this for one minute.