At home, leg exercises are an easy and efficient way to train the most important muscle group in the body. But what are the best leg exercises? And what muscles do they work?
The legs and buttocks are essential in supporting the physical demands of the day to day.
Well trained legs help you sprint to catch the bus or lift a heavy suitcase.
In this article, we will teach you the 25 best exercises for legs to do at home that:
- You need to strengthen the muscles of your legs
- Will help you avoid injury
- Escape from the typical image of large arms and legs chicken legs
Also, we’ve included a leg training routine that you can begin today.
But, we’ll start with a little anatomy…
What muscles are in the leg?
The leg consists of a powerful and specialized musculature.
Our posture and mobility depend on it.
The gluteus maximus is the strongest muscle in the body.
And not only that!
Our leg muscles allow us to be upright and run long distances. This has been essential in our survival as a species (study).
The leg also has other large muscles such as the quadriceps and twins.
Also, the lower limbs have smaller muscles that provide stability and allow rotational movements. The best leg exercises integrate these smaller, rotational muscles because they’re key to good mobility in the legs.
An example of this type of muscle is the popliteus that maintains the stability of the knee.
The long muscles make up almost all the muscles of the leg.
Here’s a description of the most important ones.
This muscle group connects into the tibia. It originates in the femur and consists of:
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis
- Vastus intermedius
- Rectus femoris
It is the strongest muscle group in the body.
Also known as femoral muscles, which have four separate muscles:
- The long head
- The short head
- The semitendinosus
Also known as twins, because they’re split into two. One is in the posterior region and the other (the more noticeable of the two), in the calf.
The soleus and gastrocnemius allow us to flex and tiptoe.
The twins are one of the most difficult muscles to work without risking injury. Don’t worry, you can have well-formed twins. With hard work.
We’ll share with you the best leg exercises to work the twins below.
Despite being a small muscle group, it is an important one.
They have 3 individual muscles that connect into the femur and originate in the pubis. These are:
- The short abductor
- The long abductor
- The major abductor
The glutes are actually a group of muscles formed by:
- The gluteus maximus
- The gluteus medius
- The gluteus minimus
- Some authors also include the tensor fascia lata.
They form what’s commonly known as buttocks. The glutes provide stability in erect posture and strength to move the leg.
This is one of the muscle groups most affected by a sedentary lifestyle. We prepared another specific article focused on this area of the body that you can look at here.
How to create a leg workout with the best leg exercises
You must take into account some general principles:
- The leg muscles are strong, so your training requires intensity or load.
- Functional exercises are best. The legs do specific tasks and they aid in preparing the legs for the day to day.
- Aim for good variability. The greater the variability, the less likely your body will adapt to it.
- You should warm up for about 5 minutes. You don’t want to tear something.
- Do neuromuscular work. Muscles contract because a nerve stimulated it. Good communication between nerves and muscles will give good balance and stability.
What are the best leg exercises to do?
We propose a few leg exercises you can do at home that fulfill everything we’ve been explaining.
They are the best exercises for legs and glutes ever invented!
Because they’re functional exercises that humans have performed for over 100,000 years!
The exercises selected work for both men and women.
We recommend starting with a short warm-up session. It can include simple squats, jumps and lunges.
The repetitions should prepare you for a more intense activity. Keep your limitations in mind and don’t over do it.
If you want to go deeper, you can always check our article on how to create a good warm-up.
For the real leg training you must perform 6 types of exercises, which you can divide into 3 a day.
For added difficulty: you can add an extra weight using a backpack with some books or a bag of sand. Be careful to not let this addition ruin your technique.
These leg exercises at home are:
- planks or bridges
- Optional: you can vary between burrols, back kicks, or burpees
Intensity and the number of repetitions can vary according to how much time you have and your goals.
Mammoth Hunters offers you custom training routines to suit your purpose.
The 25 best leg exercises to do at home
Of all the leg exercises you can do at home, this is the undisputed king. It seems easy but it’s hard to have good technique (especially for men who lack flexibility in the hip).
- From the standing position, keeping your back straight and carrying your weight slightly back.
- Flex your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Go back to the starting position.
Squat on each side
Following a technique like that of squats.
Standing and with the legs open, flex by tilting the body slightly to support a greater weight in one of the legs.
- Standing with arms outstretched we begin the squat while moving the arms in a circular movement.
To understand it better, we recommend watching the video.
Side leg squat
- Standing with legs open and arms stretched out front.
- Perform a squat by bringing all body weight to one of the legs.
- Start in the squat position.
- Perform a vertical jump with global body extension.
- Land and flex your legs until you return to the squatting to start a new repetition.
Squat with side jump
- Doing a movement like that of the jumping squat.
- During the jump, perform a lateral movement.
- Have a short stand behind behind you (like a bench).
- Bring one leg back until the top of your foot rests on the stand.
- With the other leg, perform the a squat.
- Extend one leg forward, until it is parallel to the floor. Preform a squat while keeping that leg out in front of you.
- Try to keep your balance with your arms stretched forward.
Do not do these if you are just starting your exercises.
- Standing up, we make a squat and bend our arms until we touch our elbows.
- When returning the standing position, stretch the arms up over the head.
You can add weights to this exercise. Make sure to lift the load with your legs.
One of the best legs exercises at home. It only takes 1 meter in front of you to be able to do it!
- Take a long step forward.
- From this position, gently touch the ground with the knee of the back leg.
- Return to the starting position and change the foot with which you step forward wtih.
Like the lunge exercise, but without switching legs. Do all the repetitions of one leg before switching to the other.
Take a step forward with each lunge, keeping your arms stretched over your head.
- Make the lunge move.
- When you make the jump, change your leg in the air.
Do this exercise in place, without moving to the side. Be careful how you land, keeping your legs bent to cushion the fall.
Contrary to what its name indicates, this is not the simplest of leg exercises at home. It requires a stable box, chair, or step. If you do not have one, replace it with a lunge.
- Stand in front of a box, bench, or other stable step. Support one of the legs on the surface and bend your knee 90 degrees.
- Now we push ourselves by making a movement that simulates climbing a high step.
- The movement will end when your bent leg on the step is completely extended.
- Always keep the trunk completely straight, from here we undo the movement and change our leg.
Like the previous exercise, but at the end of the repetition you do the exercise with the other leg.
This exercise is complex and consists of three phases:
- Start in the standing position. Jump up and extend your hands above your head and then do a full squat.
- Sit on the ground and extend your body until you are laying on the floor with your arms stretched over your head.
- Reverse movement 2 and come back to the squat position.
- From position 3, stand and jump up, extending your arms above your head.
- Come back down into a squat and repeat.
Of all the leg exercises at home, this is one you can’t always do. Especially if you live in an apartment with a floor that doesn’t have good soundproofing. You’ll run the risk of annoying the neighbors.
- From the standing position, jump up as high as possible with your arms stretched over your head.
- Bend your knees to cushion the impact.
- From the standing position perform a squat. Now jump forward with all your strength.
- Land with both legs forward until you reach the squat position.
Another good variant of the jumps. Great for the legs but it’s not always the best to do at home (due to potential noise).
- Start in the standing position. Then bend your knees a bit until your hands touch your knees.
- Preform a vertical jump, extending your arms and legs as far back as possible, like a starfish.
- When falling, return to the starting position.
- At the beginning, the first few movements shouldn’t be too explosive.
- Stand in front of a box or a raised and stable surface.
- Jump with both legs on top of the surface and stand up straight on it.
- From there, jump back and land with both legs to end the repetition.
- Start the exercise lying on the floor face up with legs bent and feet supported.
- From here raise the trunk of your body by lifting the buttocks off the ground.
- Make sure to form a straight line between the knee and the shoulders.
- Relax until the buttocks is touching the ground again.
Semi-plank with one leg
- Lie on your back with one foot resting on the floor.
- The other leg remains elevated and extended.
- From here, lift your body until the trunk and leg align.
Balancing kick back
- From the standing position, bend forward on one leg while bringing the other leg back.
Burpee with star jump
One of the most complex exercises for legs. You have to do it in 3 phases.
Start the foot movement and then:
- Drop down to the floor, until you completely touch the entire body with the floor. Use your hands to dampen the fall.
- Keeping your hands on the floor jump explosively until you squat.
- From this position makes a star jump also explosively to return to the starting position.
This is our selection of the 25 best leg exercises to do at home. Which ones would you add?