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6 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Strong Legs

Unless you’re that guy at the gym—the one with giant back, arms and chest muscles but stick legs—you no doubt already know the importance of working your legs. Because not only will working your legs result in a nice, well balanced physique, they’ll also make you more functionally fit and a better athlete overall.

But although a lot of people think the only way to work your legs is to work the machines or squat rack at the gym, what the average gym-goer doesn’t realize is that many of the best leg exercises can be done with nothing but your own bodyweight—making them the ultimate excuse-free exercises.

Here are 6 of the best bodyweight exercises for strong, powerful legs:

Bodyweight Squat

Naturally, the bodyweight squat is the first on the list as it’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about bodyweight leg training. And rightfully so – this exercise will train your quads and increase your heart rate pretty quickly. Make sure you lower yourself down at least so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, but you can perform deep squats as well for more intensity.

Pistol Squats

At first try, even the most experienced gym-goer will most likely experience difficulties with the pistol squat. Not only do you need strong legs to be able to do them, but you also need flexibility to lower down into the full squat, as well as balance and control to keep yourself from falling over. Just like anything else, when you practice consistently and work on your weaknesses, pistols will become less and less elusive.

Do this:
Stand on one leg, with the other leg straight in front of you.
Lower yourself down on one leg as if you’re sitting in a chair.
Focus on going down as far as possible, working toward getting the back of your leg touching your calf muscle.
Stand up and repeat on the other side.

King Squats (3 seconds down, 3 seconds up),

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 30 seconds
From a standing position, bend one knee with your foot behind you. Squat you’re your leg that’s on the ground until you can tap your bent knee on the ground. Focus on sitting backward and keeping the weight for your body on your heel. Lift your arms forward as your descend. To make it easier, put a short pad on the ground that your bent knee can tap (instead of going all the way to the ground).


As a full body exercise, it will really get your heart racing. If you want to focus on the legs (we’re talking about them, after all) add a jump up after you complete each burpee. Keep your pace high, each repetition should be complete in a seamless explosive manner.

Sissy Squat

Despite the name, this exercise is not for sissies and it’s great to train your leg stability and strength. To perform, get your heels off the floor a couple inches (you can use plates or some blocks for support) so your weight is on your toes. Lean back as you bend the legs at the knees and go as deep as you can, then move back up again.

Walking lunges

Walking lunges are great for building lower body strength, improving athleticism and will make your legs burn.

To do them, start in a lunge position with your knees touching or almost touching the floor (if you’re doing these on a hard surface like concrete, please don’t smash your knees into the ground). Without pausing, alternate legs, bringing your opposite leg forward into a lunge position. Think about keeping your chest up and shoulders pulled back while you continue alternating legs and moving forward.