Home leg workout

10-03-2016 | 
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Many work out at home either because it is convenient or for financial reasons. There is no doubt about it: you can work basically all your body with only a few pieces of basic equipment; but nothing is lost, even if you are not so well equipped with weights. You can achieve impressive results with calisthenics workout. Although you are not likely to develop the mass of a bodybuilder this way, you can still build an esthetic physique. The leg workout may be the weakest link of home workout: in principle, you need heavy weights for that, and most of the necessary exercises can only be performed in a gym. In principle. But if you know the right exercises and you might also have a few pieces of equipment, you can do a pretty good leg workout even at home. But how? Below you can read a few hints and exercises to kill your leg muscles, even if not on a bodybuilding level.

Make use of what you’ve got!

Maybe others make fun of you because you work out at home. Maybe not. But skipping leg day is a deadly sin for all true gym rats: you can find hundreds of thousands of memes on the internet about guys who neglect their leg workout. True, the body is a complex and interconnected system. And a workout routine without leg day is like Dallas without Bobby, so this makes sense after all. So, if you work out at home, you should do your legs at home, too.

Many tend to neglect their legs saying they don’t have the necessary machines or equipment, Even though it is not as complicated as many think. They say, if you want muscular legs, you should squat, leg press or use the quad machine with enormous weights, right? Sure, you can build muscular legs this way. But there will be no tragedy if you start killing your running gear at home, without 150-kilo squats. No need to overthink it: only a few basic exercises that do not require machines or a squat rack, still they provide the necessary stimuli for your leg muscles.

It is not like a regular gym workout? True. But it’s still better than nothing, isn’t it?

Home leg workout – Goblet squats

If you only have one dumbbell, the goblet squat is a great option

Make use of what you’ve got! If you have a few pieces of equipment e.g. dumbbells, weight plates or a bar, there are plenty of things you can do. If you don’t have any, you should use your own bodyweight; still there is a solution for everything.Sure. You won’t build quads like those of Tom Platz under such conditions, but believe me: with a well-thought-out routine you can stack some mass to your legs, too, not mentioning all the benefits of having a strong leg musculature.

If you have equipment...

Let’s say you have adjustable dumbbells at home, and maybe a bar, too. These are enough to do a complete program, and don’t worry: you will feel it in your legs. Of course, the more weights you have, the better. But even if you cannot stack 100 kilos on the bar, there will be no problem.

Dumbbell squats – you can do this at home

Dumbbell squats

Below is an example for a home training program, if you have the above-mentioned equipment:

  • Dumbbell squats: 5x6-12 (depending on the amount of weight you have)
  • Lunges with a bar or dumbbells: 3x20
  • Stiff legged deadlifts with a bar or dumbbells: 4x8-10
  • Standing calf raises with a bar or dumbbell: 3x20

It ain’t a big deal, is it? You can substitute squats with the so-called “goblet squats” if you only have one dumbbell. Or, you can alternate both exercises, too. Grab the dumbbell with both hands and press it against your chest while squatting. You may also use a fit ball: placing it behind your back leaning against the wall, you can use it like a Hack machine. You can squat with a barbell, too, even though it is less safe, and you may not be able to use the required amount of weight without a rack without compromising your safety.

Home leg workout – squats with a fit ball

Hack-style squats with a fit ball

Plus, you can also spice up this program with various intensity-boosting techniques (which might be a bit difficult with such equipment, but not impossible). You can do supersets or, if you don’t have much weight, you can do the exercises in a circuit pattern as well.

If you have zero equipment but maximum motivation...

We have a solution for that, too. Focus on simple calisthenics exercises. Considering the fact that you cannot achieve too much extra load by adding extra weight, you should rather focus more on intensity. A large training volume with less/shorter rest breaks: that’s how you can bring out the maximum from a program like this. For example:

  • Squats using your own bodyweight: 5x20-30
  • Lunges: 3x30
  • Squat jumps: 3x15-20
  • Single-leg squats: 5x5 or as many as you can
  • Alternating standing calf raises: 3x20-30

If there are wall bars at your disposal, or you can fix your ankles somehow while lying prone, you can work your hamstrings, too. Here you should only focus on the negative phase: in the starting position you are kneeling with your back on the wall bars, with your ankles fixed at the lowest bar. From this point, you should reach the prone position, while controlling the move using solely the strength of your hamstrings. This is not an easy exercise, and you are not likely to succeed for the first time. By the time you master the technique, you might kiss the floor once or twice, but believe me: it’s worth it. This might be the toughest hamstring exercise that requires no machine.

Standing calf raises using your own bodyweight

Standing calf raises using your own bodyweight

This makes 19 sets altogether, with high rep counts, not counting the exercise with the wall bars. The single-leg squat is another story. Here too, you may need some time until you can do 3 reps in a strict form. Feel free to cheat in the beginning. There is no other way to master it, so you should not make it a matter of pride. The squat jump is a somewhat more complex exercise, but it works practically all of the leg musculature, so it is definitely worth a try.One thing is for sure: you should not just jump around like you were watching a fitness DVD but squat in a controlled manner and then, instead of using the momentum, do the whole move in a continuous and controlled manner.

If this is still not enough, you may kill your calves in supersets with some of the squat variants or do all the exercises in a circuit pattern in reverse order.

The above programs are only meant to give you an idea. You can freely add more exercises if you wish. See? A leg workout at home is feasible. All you need is a little creativity. You may not build champ shanks this way, but this might not be your goal either, if you plan to work out at home in the long run... So, what are you waiting for? Any more excuses, ladies? :)

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