Top 10 Calisthenics Bodyweight Leg & Glute Exercises

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November, 2020

Whether you’re a gym rat or not, many people often skip leg exercise in light of maintaining a strong and powerful upper body. Ab workouts give you chiselled abs, chest workouts build a wider and more powerful chest, but what do leg workouts do?  

While the upper body certainly stands out more, it’s important not to overlook the legs! After all, have you seen what happens to those guys?! They get this monstrous upper body from training chest all day, but then walk around on chicken legs – not what you want!

And for the ladies, the legs and booty are integral to achieving your ideal body shape.

In this article, we will look at the Top 10 Leg Exercises that personal trainers recommend. With a little willpower and a can-do attitude, these leg exercises will transform your legs into lean muscle machines. Let’s take a look!

glute bands no p
glute bands sqr no p

1. One-Leg Glute Bridge

The one-leg version of this exercise is perfect for activating your glute muscles at the start of a workout.

How To Do A 1 Leg Glute Bridge

1. Simply lie down with your arms out, knees bent and feet firmly flat on the floor. Try to keep feet at least 30cm apart

2. Extend one leg out and bring it forward slightly towards your chest

3. Concentrate and squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips off the floor evenly

4. You should form a straight line with your leg and the rest of your torso

2. Step Ups

This is an exercise that is excellent for incorporating unilateral movement into your exercise routine. It’s low-risk and really works your glutes and quads, especially when combined with dumbbells held at your side.

How To Do Step Ups

  1. Put one foot up on an elevated platform

2. Push your foot down so that you stand straight up and bring your second knee up to hip height

3. Squat Jumps

Plyometric exercises such as this one target the fast-twitch fibers in your leg muscles, spiking your heart rate and helping you burn calories faster. This is one of those plyometric leg exercises cardio enthusiasts love, working the quads, calves and glutes.

How To Do Squat Jumps

  1. Start toes forward and feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Put your hands in front of the chest.

3. Keep the weight load in your heels and bend your knees down.

4. Drive the energy through your legs and jump as high as you can, moving your hands backwards to give you more power.

4. Jumping Lunges

Jumping lunges are another popular plyometric leg exercise  for targeting the gluteus maximus and quadriceps. They will also help skyrocket your heart rate and help you burn calories fast. 

How To Do Jumping Lunges

  1. Start in a lunge – with your back knee on the ground and your front leg bent at 90 degrees through the knee.

2. Jump straight up and switch legs as you jump

3. Land back into a lunge ready for the next repetition

5. Lunge Walk

The lunge walk is a slight great way to start doing lunges if plyometric exercises are too tough, or if you have bad knees. The lunge walk is less intense but gets the job done, especially if you are new to working out the lower body. Do enough and your quads, glutes and calves will be burning!

How To Do Lunge Walks

  1. Take a big step forward and bend the back leg so that your knee touches the floor. If you have bad knees you can do more shallow lunges and not go quite as deep.

2. Using your front leg push back up and step forward at the same time. Make sure your knee is behind your toe and that you’re not overloading your front knee.

3. Finish in a standing position before proceeding with the next step

6. Split Squat

The split squat is game-changer for developing core stability. For added resistance, you can hold dumbells in either hand. As you work the quadriceps and hamstrings, you’ll also improve general coordination.

How To Do Lunge Walks

  1. Bring your back knee, bent at 90 degrees, onto a bench or other elevated platform.

2. Slowly bend your front knee, moving your whole body towards the ground.

3. Once your left knee is 2 inches from the floor, push back up. Stretch out your arms if needed for extra balance.

7. Glute March

This exercise is a posterior chain exercise, targeting the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It’s perfect for those who can’t squat or lunge due to injuries. 

How To Do Glute March

  1. Lie directly on your back – legs bent and while maintaining contact points only with your heels and upper back.

2. Raise your hips up towards the ceiling by driving through your heels.

3. Extend your body from the ground. Create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

4. Keep the abdominals tight and squeeze your glutes. While maintaining the straight-line posture, lift your right foot so that it comes away from your body.

5. Hold this position for several seconds and release.

6. Repeat with your other leg.

8. Donkey Kicks

A vital exercise for your extensor muscles, namely the glutes and lower back. For women, in particular, this is a great exercise for building your lower back and developing pelvic alignment.

How To Do Donkey Kicks

  1. Start on all 4’s (hands and knees on the ground).

2. Extend one leg back in a circular arch, finishing with a straight leg slightly higher than parallel to the ground. *Exercise can be made more difficult by attaching a resistance band to the ankle.

resistance band set sqr

9. Wall Sit

This is a isometric exercise, designed to burn the glutes, quads and calves. It’s a great way to work on leg endurance and can be useful for anyone who cannot complete high impact leg exercises.

How To Do A Wall Sit

  1. “Sit” with your back and head touching the wall. Aim to create a 90° angle through your knees.

2. Try to hold this pose for at least 30 seconds

10. 1 Leg Bodyweight Deadlift

This will work your leg muscles and back just like the traditional variation, however, the one-leg exercise adds a complex movement to your workout and is great for developing your core and balance.

How To Do A Wall Sit

  1. Squat slightly down with your legs shoulder-width apart, keeping your abs tight.

2. Slowly lift one leg off the floor.
Extend this leg backwards and rotate your whole body so that your torso is completely parallel to the floor.

3. As you move your leg up, move your hands out in front of your head for balance.

4. Once parallel to the ground, come back up. Ideally repeat on the same leg for 8-12 reps before swapping legs.

Conclusion

No matter what physical form you are in, all of these leg exercises are adjustable to your ability. All of the exercises are safe to perform from the comfort of your own home or backyard. Good luck and keep those legs in shape!

If you need further help feel free to reach out

Written By Kevin

Kevin has been writing content for about 3 years. He really wants to share his experiences and advice with anyone who cares about health and fitness. He enjoys helping people achieve their fitness goals with simple instructions and overcoming any obstacles on the way.

He blogs for gym-expert.com.

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