5 Killer Leg Day Exercises You Can Do At Home
June 18, 2018
Can’t make it to the gym? We’ve got you covered! Get stronger and leaner legs at home with these five killer leg day exercises!
Leg Day Exercise #1: Skater Jumps
Lateral hop to the side as far as you can, landing on your right foot with a deep knee bend. As you land, balance on your right foot and sweep the left leg behind without making contact with the floor. Jumping off the right foot, lateral hop to the left, landing with a bent knee on the left foot. Continue to repeat, jumping side to side. Keep the chest up and back flat. Avoid rounding through the back and leaning forward by bending deeper into the knees.
Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes
Modifications up: Hold a dumbbell at your chest or increase your speed.
Modification down: Plant the back leg on the ground to help maintain balance.
Leg Day Exercise #2: Jump Squats
Begin in a deep squat position with knees bent to 90 degrees, back straight and knees stacked directly over the ankles. Explode into the air, jumping as high as you can and landing directly in a deep squat position. Avoid landing with straight legs and leaning forward. Ensure the chest and head face forward the entire time.
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes
Modifications up: Hold a dumbbell at your chest or tuck your knees into your chest when you explode out of the squat.
Modification down: Remove the jump and perform bodyweight squats with a calf raise.
Leg Day Exercise #3: Russian Deadlift
Begin by holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand and step the feet hip width apart. Set up the proper position by slightly bending the knees, drawing the shoulder blades together and back and ensuring the back is straight and the head is looking forward. Without altering the starting position, slowing begin hinging at the hips, pressing the hips backward as the weights slide down the legs. Continue to hinge forward, sliding the dumbbells down the legs until the weights reach the knees.
The range of motion will vary per person—if the back rounds and the shoulders fall forward, you have exceeded your range of motion. Keeping the back straight, the shoulder blades drawn together and dumbbells close to the body, slowly return to the starting position. Once standing up straight, press the hips forward to activate the glutes. Throughout the entire movement, keep the chest and head lifted and avoid locking the knees and rounding the back and shoulders.
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back muscles
Modification up: Use a heavier dumbbell.
Modification down: Use a lighter dumbbell.
Leg Day Exercise #4: Banded Squat Side Shuffle
Place a resistance band around both legs, either around the ankles or above the knees. Begin in a squat position with the knees bent to 90 degrees and feet hip width apart. Remaining low in a squat, take a slow and wide lateral step to the side with one foot, then the other foot, coming back to a hip-width stance. Continue in one direction, moving slowly and sitting low in a squat the entire time. Ensure the knees point forward with each step and the back remains straight and strong.
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, abductor muscles
Modifications up: Hold a dumbbell at the chest or increase the resistance by adding a second band around the ankles or knees.
Modification down: Remove the resistance band.
Leg Day Exercise #5: Weighted Sumo Squat with Calf Raise
Begin by holding a kettlebell with both hands and stepping the feet wider than shoulder width apart with a slight turnout of the feet. Draw the shoulder blades together and use the core muscles to keep the back upright as the knees bend to 90 degrees. When squatting, ensure the knees are stacked over the ankles, pointing in the same direction as the toes, and the shoulders remain stacked directly over the hips.
Straighten the legs to return to the starting position. Once standing, lift the heels high off the ground and slowly lower them back down in a controlled manner. Avoid hinging forward at the hips and allowing the knees to fall inward. Focus on keeping the chest and head up and the shoulders drawn down and back.
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, adductors, calves
Modification up: Use a heavier kettlebell.
Modifications down: Remove the kettlebell and perform bodyweight sumo squats with a calf raise