In our first two training blog installments, we covered your biceps and triceps.  Now, it’s time to turn your attention to your lower half.  The beauty of legs training is that if you want to build muscle and shape your legs from home, it’s a fairly simple task that does not require equipment.  Many are exercises that you might do at the gym anyway, but for the purpose of offering you a convenient home workout, this training session will be equipment-free.

It’s a fallacy to think that you need to squat huge amounts to develop size and strength in your legs.  While squats do rule supreme as effective leg muscle developers, you can nonetheless adjust the execution of exercises to provide more stimulation than straight reps alone (as you would do in the squat).  Let’s remember also that your legs are not just your quadriceps muscles, but also your hamstrings and calves too.  This legs home workout hits them all.

Sumo Squat
Stand tall in an upright position, with your back straight, legs long, and head level.  Spread your feet out wide to roughly about twice the width of your shoulders.  Point your toes outward about 45 degrees.  Gently draw your hands together, immediately in front of you at the level of your upper abs.  Keeping your body straight and head up, descend into a squat by allowing gravity to cause a flex in your knees.  Pause when your quads are parallel to the floor for one second, then press forcefully into the floor by extending your legs.

Sets:  3-4     Reps:  8-10     Rest Between Sets:  1:30 mins.

Jump Squat
This move begins in the same way as the standard squat, but thereafter becomes much more dynamic on the concentric (ascending) portion.  Stand tall with back and legs straight and keep your chin level.  Spread your feet to about shoulder width.  Let your arms hang freely at your sides.  Allow gravity to cause you to descend by flexing through your knees.  Drop about two-thirds of the way to having your quads parallel, then explosively reverse direction by pressing into the floor.  Instead of simply raising up, jump vertically.  Be sure to bend your knees slightly upon landing.

Sets:  3-4     Reps:  8-10     Rest Between Sets:  1:30 mins.

Walking Lunge
Find an area of your house in which you can take about 10 strides in the same direction.  Stand tall with back straight, legs long and head level.  Let your arms hang freely at your sides, then place your hands on your hips and keep your feet together.  Lunge forward a comfortable distance with your lead leg and descend until its quadriceps is almost parallel to the floor.  Bring your trailing leg forward, then cross in front of your lead leg with it, and repeat the same motion.  Continue the “walking” action without resting between lunges until you arrive at your destination.

Sets:  3-4     Reps:  10-12 lunges    Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Step Up
Use a stairwell or a ledge that’s about two feet off the floor (and which can support your body weight).  Stand tall in front of it, with your body elongated as in the other movements.  Step forward with one leg and place its foot on the surface.  You should evoke roughly a 90-degree bend in your lead knee.  Press forcefully into the surface to raise the entire weight of your body, until you’re standing on the surface with both legs.  Reverse the direction to step down to the start position and repeat for reps.

Sets:  3-4     Reps:  10-12     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Calf Raise
Use the first step in your stairwell or a surface that’s about 8 inches off the floor and can support your body weight.  Step up onto the surface and stand tall with your back straight, legs elongated and head level.  Carefully slide backward until only your toes are on the surface and your heel is dangling past the edge.  Let gravity cause you to sink until you get a downward stretch in your calves.  Pause a second, then press into the surface and raise up fully onto your toes.  Pause again for a second, then keep repeating the action up and down.

Sets:  3-4     Reps:  15     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.


Exercise                                Sets     Reps   Rest
SUMO SQUAT                         3-4      8-10    1:30 mins.
JUMP SQUAT                          3-4      8-10    1:30 mins.
WALKING LUNGE                    3-4      10-12  1:00 min.
STEP UP                                 3-4      10-12  1:00 min.
CALF RAISE                            3-4      15       1:00 min.

For a more challenging variation of this workout:
Whenever you’re paused isometrically during a repetition, instead of holding for half a second or a full second, hold your position for three to five seconds.