Don’t. Skip. Leg Day.
That’s the mantra you’ve heard in just about every fitness setting—from weight rooms to studio classes to the pages of Men’s Health—for years. While it’s a good message, this call to legs is meaningless if you only consider one type of workout when you get ready to train your lower body. Far too many people associate leg day solely with routines anchored around heavy barbell back squats or loaded-up deadlifts, followed by rounds upon rounds of reps on exercise machines. There are far more ways to work your lower body to build strength and even size, even when you don’t have access to a gym or any weights or equipment at all.
One key to training your legs sans weights is to swap those heavy loads for high volumes. By ramping up your rep counts, you’ll be able to challenge your lower body to gut through the extended sets and develop muscular endurance. Jack up your heart rate by setting a timer, working with different challenging protocols, and cutting down your rest time. No squat rack or bench to use for rest might help you to break bad distracted workout habits.
That’s not the only key to great gear-free workouts. You can still squat, lunge, and hinge without your weights—but when you’re unencumbered by barbells and other fixed loads, you’ll have an easier time working in multiple planes of movement, which is essential for a more well-rounded workout, enhancing your athleticism, and mimicking the actions you perform in real life outside your training plan.
But those perks aren’t even the best part of adopting a bodyweight regimen: You can do these circuits anywhere—your living room, a hotel room, a park—as long as you have about six feet of floor space and an elevated surface (like a bed or box) handy. That makes these workouts the ultimate zero-excuse leg burners.
The No-Weight, Lower Body Workouts
The Super 6 Leg Day Finisher
Men’s Health Next Top Trainer winner Jah Washington uses this routine as a standalone workout or a brutal finisher to end a leg day. Set a timer for 6 minutes. At the start of each minute, perform 6 reps of each movement, then rest for the time remaining. When the next minute begins, start with a fresh round of reps. Continue until the timer ends.
Yes, that MF stands for exactly what you think it does. Tough-talking trainer Bobby Maximus is here with a killer leg day session that will smash your lower body, sans weights.
Repeat for 10 rounds, resting as needed
The 7-Minute Blitz Quad Blast
Do you have 10 minutes to train? You can do this gear-free workout from Washington and have time to spare.
The workout consists of three blocks, each of which features three separate exercises. You’ll perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then repeat for a total of two rounds. You’ll have a quick 30 seconds of rest at the end of the block—just enough time for Washington to introduce the next series before you go back to work.
The Dos Remedios Leg Burner
Do the following six exercises as a circuit. Perform as many reps as possible of one move for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and then move on to the next move. When you’ve finished the last exercise, start with the first move again. Do three or four circuits total. The entire workout should take you 18 to 24 minutes.
With your feet hip-width apart, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then jump as high as you can. Allow your knees to bend 45 degrees when you land, pause in deep squat position for one full second, and then jump again.
Walking Single-Leg Straight-Leg Deadlift Reach
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms hanging to the side of your thighs. Lift your right leg behind you. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, bend forward at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor while you reach your opposite hand to the floor. Return to the starting position, take two steps forward, then repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
Stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart. Keeping your right leg straight, push your hips back and to the left. Then bend your left knee and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the floor at all times. Pause for two seconds, and then return to the starting position. Complete all reps and switch sides.
Scissor Box Jump
Place your left foot on a box or bench with your right foot on the floor. In one movement, jump up and switch leg positions in midair. At the bottom position, pause for one second before alternating to the other leg.
Single-Leg Hip Raise
Lie faceup, arms out to your sides at 45-degree angles, left foot flat on the floor with that knee bent, and your right leg straight. Raise your right leg until it’s in line with your left thigh. Then squeeze your glutes and push your hips up—your lower back will elevate. Pause, and return to the starting position.
Alternating Drop Lunge
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Keep your chest and eyes up, shoulders squared. Cross your right leg behind your left, and bend both knees, lowering your body until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Return to start and repeat, switching sides.
The Do-Anywhere Leg Workout Challenge
If you’re ready for an extra bodyweight challenge, give this workout a try. You’ll perform each move for 10 minutes, which will test your lower body power and stamina for almost an hour. This one’s a killer.
Box Squat Jumps
Perform 10 box squat jumps every minute on the minute for 10 minutes. That means that you should set a time for 10 minutes, then do 1o reps every time a new minute starts. Rest during the remainder time for each period.
Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
Exploding up on one leg can be tough for beginners, so it’s okay to try the jump-free version of the move instead. Perform five sets of 10 reps per side, every minute on the minute.
Set a timer for 10 minutes, then perform 30 box squat reps per minute, resting during any remaining time in each period.
Bulgarian Split Squats
If you subbed out the jumping version earlier, either repeat the exercise or think up an appropriate substitute, like performing 20 calf raises per minute. For the split squat crowd, try five sets of 15 reps per side, every minute on the minute.
Alternating One-Leg Box Squats
The finale is simple, but tough to complete without shaky legs: 10 straight minutes of alternating one-leg box squats. Focus on the slow eccentric lowering movement, then spring back up. Good luck walking the next day.
The Quad Killer Workout
This quick circuit is designed to obliterate your quads. Perform each move for 30 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds — that’s 1 round. Perform 3 to 5 rounds for a full workout, resting for 30 seconds after each round.
Lethal Lower Body Superset
There’s just one move for this workout, but the volume makes it a doozy. Perform 10 Bulgarian split squats with your right foot forward, then switch to 10 reps with your left foot forward. Complete these reps every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 10 minutes.
Lower Body Lunge Fest
This 15-minute burner won’t just work your legs — the routine also pushes your cardio conditioning. Don’t underestimate these simple moves, either. After 3 or 4 minutes, your legs will be screaming for relief. Perform each move for 5 minutes, then move immediately to the next. To really challenge yourself, try 2 rounds, back to back.
Sore Legs, No Equipment
Bobby Maximus’ bodyweight workout is simple, but it won’t be easy. It’s just two moves—but the descending ladder structure means you’ll do a ton of reps.
Continue down the ladder until you reach 1 lunge per leg. Finish with one last 30 second wall sit. Good luck walking the next day.
Lower Body Finishers
You don’t need a blood restriction band to take on these four one-move finishers—just try them with your bodyweight. Start a timer for 5 minutes, and repeat the movements as directed to close out your leg day with a killer challenge.
Repeat for 5 minutes
Constant Tension Squat
Repeat for 5 minutes
Shoulders Elevated Hip Thrust
Repeat for 5 Minutes
Repeat for 5 minutes
Elevated Lunge Series
All you need is a short platform for this lunge routine. Start a timer for 10 minutes, switching variations at the 5-minute mark.
Single-Leg Walkout Series
Repeat this flow from trainer Andy Speer for 3 to 5 reps for each leg. You can use it as a warmup series for a leg day or full-body training day, or as a standalone exercise to boost your mobility.
Running Lunge and Step-Up Circuit
Want to be a better runner? You’ll need to work on your form. If you want to improve your mechanics, strengthen your glutes and hip flexors, and boost your mobility, try this two-move circuit.
Start a timer for 12 minutes. Perform the Runner’s Lunge for 50 seconds on one leg, rest for 10 seconds, then switch to the other. After 6 minutes, switch to the Running Step-up, working with the same splits on each leg.
12-Minute Bodyweight Muscle Burner
You’ll work more than just your legs here—but your lower body will be challenged during this do-it-all muscle burner. Finish 4 rounds of the non-stop action challenge for a super-quick workout challenge.
Home Workout From Hell
Another full body workout with major leg moves, this home workout will burn like a run through hell. Every minute has a different protocol of exercises, so just when you start to flame out, you switch up the set to stay engaged. It only takes 5 minutes—if you can even last that long.
As many rounds as possible
As many rounds as possible
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