Perhaps you’ve been extra busy lately and haven’t been able to make it to the gym, go for a run, or even get to your Trumi training sessions.
Perhaps you’re on vacation or traveling for business, and aren’t sure how to go about getting in your daily exercise.
OR – perhaps you’re just looking for a little extra something to do on your own to stay on top of your fitness game. Whatever the case is for you; these same 5 leg exercises still apply, no matter what your situation.
The power of body weight exercises is often underappreciated. What’s a body weight exercise? It’s exercise that requires no free weights, just simply the natural resistance your body creates in certain movements; like a push-up for example. You can still achieve a strong, lean, & healthy body through this type of exercise. And for this specific post – we’re going to be focusing on those powerful creations we call legs 🙂
Without further-a-do, here are 5 body weight moves for building strong legs that you can execute almost anywhere you are (yes, even on vacation in the Bahamas or in your very own basement):
Ah yes, the ever infamous squat. Not only will squats help you gain a powerful lower body, they’ll also improve your overall athleticism.
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and either place hands on your hips or hold them out in front of you. Engage your core muscles, keep your shoulders back, and bend your knees while pushing your bum out behind you as if you’re sitting in a chair. Be sure to keep your knees above your ankles, not past them – always keep your weight in your heels. To make things interesting, do these at different variations of speed. Try some quick, others average paced, and then go slow-mo to really feel the burn.
2. Side Lunges
This is a great move that will help to target slightly different muscle groups than your basic front to back lunges.
How to: Start by standing with your legs hip-width apart. With your right leg, step out to directly the side and squat down into the move – only squatting with the right leg. The foot of your left leg should still be in the same position as when you started, and your left leg will be stretched out and straight as you’re lunging to the right. Keep the same posture as with the squat described above. Next squeeze your bum and move back to the center and proceed to do the same motion, but now with your left leg in the opposite direction.
3. Jump Lunges
Not only do these help with strength, they also aid in your coordination and get your heart rate up. This makes it one of the best body weight leg exercises you can do.
How to: Get into a lunge position. Place one leg bent out in front of you at a 90 degree angle (keep that knee above the ankle, not past it) and the other leg directly behind you. Jump and explode upward as your legs swap positions, opposite leg is now in back and vice versa. Keep your shoulders back, chest up, core strong, and majority of your weight in your front heel. Focus first on correct form – and as you gain balance work on increasing speed.
4. Squat Jumps
Another heart pumping move!
How to: Stand like you would for a regular squat, then squat down until your knees are at about a 90 degree angle. Make sure your shoulders are back, chest up, and core tight. Once you’ve reached the 90 degree mark, explode upward in power to a jump. You’ll land back down into the same squat position, and repeat. Be sure when you land – you’re not pounding the ground. Try and land as lightly as possible, as to protect your joints.
If you cannot jump, you can always go up onto your toes when you explode upward instead of jumping.
5. One Legged Squats
This a little bit more of an advanced move, so I’ll offer you some alternate versions and tips. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do the full on one legger right away, it’s a great goal to work up to achieving 🙂
How to (Level 3): Stand like you would for a normal squat, and then either balance your left leg in the air or have someone hold that back foot or set it on a chair behind you. If it’s being held or on a chair, be sure it’s back far enough so that your front knee is not coming past your ankle when you squat down into your front leg. Next, slowly squat down with your right leg to a 90 degree angle and then slowly come back up. Focus on keeping your core tight, chest up, and maintaining balance. This move is not about speed. Repeat this move as many times as appropriate for you, and then switch legs.
How to (Level 2): Assume the same position as for the level 3, but hold on to something in front of your body for balance. This could be a chair, wall, car, anything sturdy. Proceed with the movement as described in level 3.
How to (Level 1): Assume the same position as the level 2 & 3, but instead of balancing your leg in the air or setting in on a chair, just rest your toe on the ground behind you. Proceed to do the one legged squat as described above in level 3. The only difference is that your opposite leg will be touching the ground behind you instead of being elevated. Make sure you’re allowing the front leg to do most if not all of the work, your back leg is just there for support and balance.