Several years ago when I let my gym membership lapse (for the first time since I was 16!), I felt a twinge of panic. Let’s get real for a moment, the gym had been my ENTIRE life since I was a teenager. But as I got older, this “adulting” thing started getting in the way. I needed to make real money and also pay real bills. I needed to start living more frugally. Realistically, paying $100’s of dollars a year to the gym just was not in my budget at that point any longer. If you are in a similar boat – whether you used to have a gym membership and need to cut costs or you never have been to a gym, but still want to get in shape – never fear! There are SO many exercises you can do FOR FREE in your own home. If you are like most people, your legs are probably an area you are interested in getting into shape. So, let’s talk about what leg workouts you can do at home, without weights and for free.
First, let’s get a few things out of the way.
Just because these are leg workouts without weights does not mean that they are less effective than doing machines and heavy weights at a gym.
In fact, doing body weight leg exercises (or any body weight exercises for that matter) are really good for your body! Body weight leg exercises will allow you to shape and tone with functional strength. Functional strength is different than strength built by lifting heavy weights. Functional strength is strength applicable to your daily living and moving needs. Ok, now that we are on the same page and we all know how AWESOME these leg workouts from home (and for free) can be, let’s dive right in!
7 Leg Workouts You Can Do For FREE Without Weights At Home:
- Jump Squats – These are a leg exercise that are good for intermediate to advanced workouts. They would not be suggested for someone just starting a leg workout program. You will start with your feet about shoulder width apart, make sure to engage your core – abdominals. Perform a regular squat and then in an explosive motion jump out of the squat up off the ground (you can also raise your arms above your head). As you land, your goal is to land with control, quietly. Then lower back into another squat.
- Wall Sit – This is a good leg workout for beginners through advanced exercisers. As the name suggests, you will start with your back against a wall. Place your left heel against the wall and your right heel against your left toes. Then place both feet about hip width apart at the distance that your right toes are at. Engage your core and lower down as if you are sitting into a chair. You will want to lower yourself until your thighs (upper legs) are about parallel with the ground. You should place your hands at your side, or crossed across your chest. Hold in the lowered position as long as you can.
- Single Leg Bridges – To perform single leg bridges, you will want to start by laying flat on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Engage your core and lift your hips and one leg off the ground. Be sure to push through your heel and keep your back straight (you should NOT feel pressure in your lower back). Lower and repeat. If this is too difficult, you can keep both feet on the ground and just lift your hips off the ground.
- Lunges – There are a wide variety of different lunges. Each variety will target different leg muscles. Regular standing static lunges are a good beginner level leg workout to start with. To perform standing lunges, you will step forward (keeping your core tight and upper body up straight) and lower towards the ground until your knee and hips are at 90 degree angles. Then press through your heel back to standing position. Be sure that you aren’t leaning forward or backward. Also be sure that your knee isn’t jutting over your toes.
- Calf Raises – Leg workouts wouldn’t be complete without at least one exercise for your lower leg muscles – your calves. I always like to end my leg workouts with calf raises. You can do them straight on the ground (or for extra resistance you can use a step – or even books – to stand on). Stand with core tight and raise onto your toes, then lower. For more difficulty, you can stand on one leg and do them.
- Step-ups – These are great leg workouts which get all of your leg muscles involved. For Step-ups you will need stairs, books, a box or some other steady raised object. You will simply stand with core tight and place one foot on the top of your object, pressing through your heel step up onto the object and back down. Alternate leading legs to make sure you work both sides.
- Side Lunges – Side lunges are a version of a lunge, but deserve their own section because they will help hit inner and outer thighs, therefore they make a good addition to your leg workouts. Side lunges are similar to standing lunges. You will tighten core, step to your side with one leg. Lower until that knee and hip are at 90 degrees and push through your heel to return to standing position.For several super awesome leg and glutes workouts, check out these 30 lowerbody workouts from my friend over at Fit Girl’s Diary!