Training legs should be challenging, but not because you have to find a way to train them. You can get an effective leg workout at home without all the equipment and machines that are in the local health club by keeping it simple and using dumbbells, resistance bands, or just body weight. Here, we provide you with three different leg workouts that you can perform depending on what equipment you have to help you get in shape at home.
Creating a Leg-Day Routine
An effective leg-day routine will include exercises for all the major muscle groups. Those are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The abductors and adductors can also be trained if you have the equipment, but some of the exercises in these workouts will benefit those areas indirectly so direct work is not always needed.
Most leg exercises that you do at home will be multijoint movements, which means more than one joint is in action. This will help you train multiple muscle groups simultaneously and save time in training. If you have a busy schedule, then multijoint exercises such as squats and lunges will serve you very well.
Benefits of Leg Workouts
Leg workouts are necessary for people who want to achieve total fitness. Runners, cyclists, and triathletes need to develop their legs so they can continue to train and perform late in the race. People who are focusing on general wellness should perform leg workouts at home so they can maintain overall function and health. Working out now can help delay or possibly prevent lingering issues later in life.
Then there's the consideration of aesthetics and the way your body looks; no one wants to be the person with the well-developed upper body and the tiny legs that look like those of a cartoon character. Overall, leg workouts can be difficult, and they should be. In the long run, though, including leg exercises in your home workout plan will be worth it.
Home Leg Workouts with Dumbbells
Dumbbells are very versatile because you can effectively train your whole body with them. This can be a great program for beginners or seasoned athletes who need a quick and effective leg workout at home. Perform 4 sets of 20 reps of all five of these exercises with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
Dumbbell Squat: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms at your sides. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
- Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel with the floor or the dumbbells touch the floor.
- Engage your quadriceps and push through your heels to return to the standing position.
Goblet Squat: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Hold one dumbbell at shoulder height, vertically with both hands cupping the top of the dumbbell. Keep your elbows under your hands while you're holding the weight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
- Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the standing position without allowing your body to lean forward.
Dumbbell Walking Lunge: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms at your sides. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward, with plenty of space in front of you.
- Take one step forward with either leg and lower yourself until your back knee approaches or touches the floor.
- Straighten your legs to come back up, then step the back leg forward until your legs are side by side again.
- Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg.
Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms by your sides. Your feet should be close together with a slight bend in your knees.
- Hinge at the hips and bend forward to lower the dumbbells until they touch the floor or you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. You may bring your dumbbells in front of your legs if that helps.
- Push through your heels and thrust with your hips to return to the standing position.
Dumbbell Side Squat: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Position the dumbbells so they are in front of you.
- Step to the side with one foot and push your hips back to lower into a squat position.
- Straighten your legs to return to the starting position, then repeat with the other foot.
- Continue alternating sides until you've done all reps for both legs.
Bodyweight Leg Workout at Home
Bodyweight workouts in general are great because they can be done anywhere at any time, and this leg workout is no different. Whether you're at home, the park, a gym, or anywhere you feel comfortable, these five leg exercises will train your entire lower body. Perform each exercise for one minute, then immediately switch to the next. Rest for one minute after you complete all five exercises. Three rounds of that, and you will have performed an intense workout in less than 20 minutes.
Glute Bridge: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat. Keep your arms at a 45-degree angle from your body. Your legs should be bent with your feet on the floor.
- Raise your hips up by driving your heels into the floor and contracting your glutes.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
Jump Squat: 3 sets of 1 min.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and your hands clasped together at chest height.
- Hinge your hips back and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Forcefully straighten your legs, using the force to jump up as high as you can.
- Land softly on your feet, then reposition yourself into the starting position and repeat.
Platform Lunge: 3 sets of 1 min.
You will need a step or platform that you can place your foot on and is roughly 6 inches high.
- Stand around 12-18 inches behind the step or platform.
- Take one foot and place it on the step.
- Lean forward into a lunge position until your knee is over your toes. You should feel a stretch in the non-working leg.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Single-Leg Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 3 sets of 1 min.
This is usually performed with a dumbbell, but it can be done with bodyweight only, as well.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift one leg back behind you while keeping it straight. At the same time, hinge at the hips to lower your upper body so you feel a stretch in the standing leg.
- Lower yourself as far as you can while keeping your back straight. Once you reach that point, slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 1 min.
You can perform this exercise while standing on the floor or a step with your heels hanging off the edge.
- Without losing balance, rise up onto your toes and squeeze your calves as hard as you can.
- Slowly lower your heels back to the floor. If you're using a step, allow your heels to go even farther past level to feel a deep stretch in your calves.
Resistance Band Leg Workout at Home
Resistance bands allow you to maximize the stress of the contraction. However, the resistance decreases as the band loses its stretch. There are two versions of resistance bands—one with handles or ends and one that is a full loop. It would be best if you have access to both, but the exercises that follow are going to be described using a loop band. Try to achieve 100 reps of each exercise in the fastest time possible. Once you finish, move on to the next. At the end, you'll have performed 500 total reps.
Band Squat: 100 total reps
- Stand on a band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Loop the other end on the front of your shoulders, keeping your arms crossed so it won't come off.
- Squat down as you would with a barbell. Return to the standing position without losing your balance.
Band Good Morning: 100 total reps
- Stand on a band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Loop the other end around your neck as if you were putting on a necklace. Make sure you can do this while maintaining a standing position.
- Hinge your hips back and lower your upper body, keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Once you lower yourself as far as you safely can, return to the starting position.
Band Leg Extension: 100 total reps
Loop one end of a band around a solid surface such as a pillar or corner of a rack if you have one. You'll perform the last three exercises in this workout with the band in this position.
- Sit on a chair with your back facing the anchor of the band and the band between the legs of the seat you're sitting on.
- Loop the other end of the band around your ankles.
- Straighten your legs and stretch the band, flexing your quadriceps hard.
- Bend your knees to return to the starting position.
Band Leg Curl: 100 total reps
- Stand facing the anchor point of the band and place the other end around one of your ankles. You should be able to lean against a solid object like a chair or stretch your arm out to a wall. Keep the non-working leg on the floor.
- Bend the banded leg up behind you to contract your hamstring. The band should stretch.
- Lower slowly back to the starting position and repeat. Once you finish all the reps with one leg, place the band on the other leg and repeat.
Band Pull-Through: 100 total reps
- Face away from the anchor point of the band and straddle the other end. Pick it up with both hands close together and step away from the anchor.
- Start by stretching the band so you're standing tall. This should resemble locking out a deadlift.
- Lower yourself slowly so the band releases tension and your head goes toward the floor. Keep your back straight.
- Return to the standing position again and squeeze your glutes hard.
If you have access to dumbbells and bands, then you can take elements of each of these workouts and combine them to make one of your own. Any combination of these 15 exercises can help you make the most out of your lower-body training. Having variety can increase your options and maximize your potential of having great leg workouts at home, so don't be afraid to mix it up.