No Gym?  No problem!  Not having access to a gym is no excuse to skip a fabulous leg day.  When it comes to working out your lower body, the possibilities are almost endless.  Here are 12 of my favorite no-equipment-necessary, bodyweight exercises to keep your legs tight and toned.

Single Leg Hip Raises: 

  1. Sit with legs outstretched, hands behind hips and fingers pointing toward your tush.
  2. Press up onto hands, keeping legs fully extended and heels on floor. (You’ll be in a plank position, but facing the ceiling instead of the floor.)
  3. Raise and lower left leg, keeping core tight and hips in the same position. Repeat movement with right leg. Perform this move for 60 seconds alternating legs each rep.

ReversePlankLegRaise

Jump Lunges: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and step out about two feet with your right foot. Note that your right foot should not be directly in front of your left foot. It should still be shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or behind your head.
  2. Quickly jump up and switch leg positions while in the air so you land with your left foot in front.
  3. That is one rep. Do as many jumps as you can in 60 seconds, and be sure to land softly to avoid knee injury.

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Wall Sits (start at 30 seconds and work your way up):

  1. Lean your back against a wall, making sure that your whole back is touching the wall. Your feet should be about two feet from the wall and about shoulder-width apart from each other.
  2. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Aim for a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keep your weight in the heels of your feet and make sure your knees are behind your toes. You should be able to tap your toes.
  4. Keep your back flat against the wall. If it starts to arch, slide up until the small of your back is touching the wall again.
  5. Lift right leg for 30 seconds, then switch and lift left leg for 30 seconds for an added challenge.

WallSit_560

Tuck Jumps: 

  1. Stand with your feet slightly apart and place your hands in a boxer’s stance
  2. Squat down, then jump up and bring your knees toward your chest.
  3. Land with soft knees.
  4. Do as many tuck jumps as you can in 60 seconds.

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Burpees (I know, yuck!)

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands tucked behind your head with elbows out.
  2. Start with a quick jump then push your hips back, bend your knees, and drop down placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
  3. Kick your legs backward so that you’re now in a push up position. Quickly reverse the movement to return to the starting position by bringing your feet back into your hands. Push through your feet and jump up to the start position. That’s one rep.
  4. Perform as many burpees as you can in 60 seconds. For an added challenge, add a push up when you have jumped your feet back to push up position.

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Side Lunges:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and place the ball of your left foot on a plate, towel or glider.
  2. Bend your right knee, push your hips back behind you as you slide your left foot out to the side.
  3. Keep your left leg straight. Keep your right knee behind your toes, your torso upright, and your abs in.
  4. While pressing into the plate quickly bend your left knee and slide your foot towards your right foot. That’s one rep.
  5. Repeat 30 times with your left leg and then 30 times with your right.

SideLungeSlide_Plates

Prisoner Squats:

  1. Tuck your hands behind your head with your elbows facing outward. Stand with your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bending your knees and pushing your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees stay behind your toes.
  2. Explode up through the balls of your feet into a vertical leap with your legs fully extended.
  3. As you land softly, sink back into squat position keeping your knees softly bent. Never land with your legs still extended and do not fully lock your knees out.

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Sumo Squat Calf Raises:

  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Hold a dumbbell with both hands right in front of your chest.
  2. Bend your knees over your toes and lower your body into a squat.
  3. Hold this position as you lift your heels up (without raising your hips) and then press them back down.
  4. Stay in this squat position for 30 seconds, completing as many calf raises as you can.

SumoSquatCalfRaise-copy

Reverse Lunges:

  1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips and shoulders back.
  2. Keeping your upper body still and core tight, take one large step back with your right foot, then bend both knees to lower into a lunge. Front leg should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Press through your left heel and return to start position. Repeat move, this time stepping back with your left foot. Continue alternating legs for 60 seconds.

ReverseLunges_560x460

Donkey Kicks:

  1. Get on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Drawing your abs in, lift your left leg parallel to the floor with your knee bent and foot flexed.
  3. Return to starting position.
  4. Repeat 30 times, then switch legs.

donkeykick

Pistol Squats:

  1. Stand with your arms extended out in front of you. Balance on your left leg with your right leg extended straight out in front of you as high as possible.
  2. Slowly squat down as far as you can go while keeping your left leg elevated off the floor. Keep your back straight.
  3. Raise your body back up to original position until your knee and hip of your right leg is straight.
  4. Repeat as many as you can within 30 seconds. Then, continue with opposite leg.

OneLegSquat1

Skater Jumps:

  1. Cross left leg behind right and bend into a half-squat. Your arms should follow your legs: right arm out to the side, left arm across hips.
  2. Hop to the left, switching your legs and arms. Left-to-right is one rep.
  3. Keep hopping from side to side for 60 seconds.

SkaterJump

Play around with exercises, reps, and sets until you find the perfect combo for your at home leg day.  And remember, the tell tale sign of a winning leg day is being sore enough to struggle on and off the toilet, but not being so sore you can’t get off it.  Watch out, Carrie Underwood!

When I’m feeling sore after an intense leg day, my favorite go to product is my trusted foam roller. If you’ve never used one, you are seriously missing out. Don’t be scared from the hurt-so-good feeling on the foam roller. These simple tools are a great remedy for all the aches and pains we experience in our muscles and joints after a big workout. Check out 8 Ways to Work Your Foam Roller for some great tutorials. Trust me, this little gem will be your new best friend post-gym.

foamroller

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