10 Lower-Body Exercises You Can Do at Home (WITHOUT a Resistance Band!)

Are you looking for a way to get fit while sculpting your lower body from the comforts of your own home? Luckily, at home lower body workouts are easy to do and require no special equipment. Simply using bodyweight training will improve the appearance and strength of your thighs, calves, and glutes. Much of our muscle mass is in our lower body, and the more muscle used during an exercise, the more calories get torched in the process.

Today we will review 10 incredible lower-body exercises that require no additional equipment, only using a wall or chair for balance assistance if needed. These exercises are perfect for all levels of athleticism, from newbies to hardcore fitness enthusiasts. Each exercise targets one or more major muscle groups of the lower body, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and abductors. Are you ready? Let’s get started! 

Exercise #1: Reverse Lunge with a Knee Lift

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly turned out, assume a strong stance. Keep your knees and hips slightly bent with your weight equally distributed on your feet. To get into your starting position, lift your right leg until it is parallel to the floor at a 90° angle with your hip. Stretch your right leg behind you to rest your right big toe and ball of your foot on the ground in a moderate-length stride. Bend both knees until your right knee comes close to touching the floor. At the deepest part of the lunge, your left thigh should be parallel to the floor with your left knee over the middle of your foot. It is okay for your knee to extend past your toes just a bit, but not too far; as well, be sure that you do not lift your left heel off the ground. To complete the rep, return to standing with your right knee lifted, then repeat and switch.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, you can add a hold to the deepest part of the exercise. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.   Keep the knee of your standing leg squarely over your foot at all times. Do not let it sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2.   Your back should be straight as you look forward.

Exercise #2: Bodyweight Squat

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly turned out, assume a strong stance. Bend simultaneously from the hips, knees, and ankles to lower into a squat. Perform a couple of reps and adjust until you are in a comfortable position. Your goal is to get your thighs parallel to the floor. It is okay for your knee to extend past your toes just a bit, but not too far; as well, be sure that you do not lift your heels off the ground.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, you can add a hold to the deepest part of the exercise. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.     Keep your knees squarely over your feet at all times. Do not let them sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2.     Push your big toe into the floor to engage your glutes and keep the exercise smooth.
  3.     Your back should be straight as you look forward.

Exercise #3: Squat Jump

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly turned out, assume a strong stance. Bend simultaneously from the hips, knees, and ankles to lower into a squat. Perform a couple of reps and adjust until you are in a comfortable position. Similar to a bodyweight squat, your goal is to get your thighs parallel to the floor. It is okay for your knee to extend past your toes just a bit, but not too far; as well, be sure that you do not lift your heels off the ground. To perform a squat jump, you will contract your lower body muscles at the deepest point of the squat to forcefully propel yourself upward into a jump. Be sure to swing your arms in front of you up towards the ceiling as you jump to achieve the best results. To prevent unnecessary strain to the body, try to land gently on the toes before settling down into the next repetition.

 

Complete 3 sets of 5 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, you can add a hold to the deepest part of the exercise. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.     Keep your knees squarely over your feet at all times. Do not let them sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2.     Push your big toe into the floor to engage your glutes and keep the exercise smooth.
  3.     Your back should be straight as you look forward.
  4.     Those with joint problems should complete small jumps to minimize joint compression.

Exercise #4: Side Lunge

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly turned out, step your right leg 12-24 inches to the right. Bend your right knee as your foot comes down and sink into the side lunge. Your toes should go slightly past your knee as your left leg straightens. Complete a couple of reps and adjust until you are comfortable. Those who are more flexible will be able to step out further. Similar to a forward or backward lunge, the goal is to bend the right thigh until it is parallel to the floor without the knee collapsing. It is okay for your knee to extend past your toes just a bit, but not too far; as well, be sure that you do not lift your heels off the ground.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, you can add a hold to the deepest part of the exercise. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.     Keep your knee squarely over your foot at all times. Do not let it sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2.     To add an extra stretch to your abductors, hold the deepest position. It will also work the glutes and quads harder.

Exercise #5: High Knee Toe Tap

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly turned out, rest your arms at your side. Stand tall with your abdominals engaged and eyes looking forward. Lift your leg off the ground as you swing your left arm forward. Your goal is to raise your right leg until it is parallel to the ground as you reach your left hand out to touch your right toes. Your lifted leg should be straight, and your elbow should be slightly bent. Once your hand has touched your toes, return to the starting position and repeat the exercise using the opposite limbs (left leg and right arm). If you can't touch your toes, that is okay! Just reach as far you can without curving your back. Your back should be straight the whole time.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, add 2 additional reps to increase the difficulty. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to decrease rest periods and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results.

Pro Tips:

  1. Keep your knee squarely over your foot at all times. Do not let it sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2. Try to keep your arms moving in a smooth cycle, swinging in a controlled fashion.
  3. Stay light on your light (don’t let your feet slap down). 

Exercise #6: Calf Raises:

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, keep your toes pointing straight ahead. Assume a tall posture with your back and legs straight, abdominals engaged, and your weight equally set over both feet. Press your toes and the balls of your feet into the ground as you lift your heels. Hold the position for 1 second before slowly returning your heels to the floor. Your goal is to elevate your heels as high off the ground as possible. You may need to adjust your stance until you find a comfortable position. We suggest holding onto the wall or chair to help maintain your balance. Remember that this is not a race. Do not do these reps quickly; slow and steady will yield the best results.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, hold the top position for two seconds. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Super Level Up: To take calf raises to the ultimate level, perform them on one leg at a time.

Pro Tips:

  1.     Your legs must be straight. Don't let the knees hyperextend.
  2.     Be gentle on your release so as not to cause stress to the ankle or knee.
  3.     Try this exercise with 3 different foot positions: toes straight, toes in, and toes out. This will target different muscles of the calf! 

Exercise #7: Side Leg Raises

As you lie on your side, stack your hips, keep your legs straight, and engage your core muscles. Lift your top leg 12-18 inches off the floor, creating a 45° angle. Don't go further than this, or you will strain other muscles. Then, gently release your leg to the starting position. Please try not to tip over; to do this, maintain a neutral spine and avoid excessive hip movement.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, hold the top position for two seconds. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions and decrease rest periods to achieve the best results. 

Super Level Up: Add small "pulses," 1-2 inch short-range motions at the top of the rep to achieve fantastic glute toning.

Pro Tips:

  1.     Your legs must be straight. Don't let the knees hyperextend. Imagine you are reaching your toes to the other side of the room.
  2.     Maintain a tight core the entire time to protect your back.
  3.     Contract your glutes powerfully on each rep for maximum sculpting.
  4.     Push the bottom leg into the floor for added benefit.

Exercise #8: Pistol Squat:

Standing with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, turn your toes slightly out. Lift your right leg straight out in front of you. With your leg stretched straight ahead, you will bend simultaneously from the left knee, hip, and ankle to lower yourself into a pistol squat. Your goal is to be almost sitting on the floor in a deep one-legged squat with both thighs parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position to finish the rep. During the squat, it is okay for your knee to travel forward and past your toes a small amount. However, don't let your heels leave the floor during the pistol squat, as this could place unnecessary stress on the knees. 

Please note that this exercise takes a serious amount of flexibility, mobility, and strength. When completing this exercise, make sure your body is adequately warmed up. If you are doing it for the first time, you may want to have something to hold on to for balance. If you feel pain, do not continue.

Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, hold the deepest position for two seconds. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.     Keep your knee squarely over your foot at all times. Do not let it sway to either side or too far forward or back.
  2.     Push your big toe into the floor for added glute tension and to smooth out the motion.
  3.     Keep your back flat the entire time as you look straight ahead (Picking a spot to focus on in the room will help you keep your balance).
  4.     Lightly place one hand on a chair at the beginning for balance.

Exercise #9: Inverted Thigh Opener:

Lie with your back on the floor, knees bent at a 90° angle, feet hip-width apart, and toes pointing straight ahead. Stretch your arms out to either side for support. Lift your right leg and straighten it; your toes should be pointed towards the ceiling. Slowly separate your thighs and lower your right leg out to the right (away from your left leg and towards your right arm). At the deepest position, your leg will be perpendicular to your body and parallel to the floor. Contract your abs and tighten your lower body to return your leg to the starting position (where your leg is straight). Your core should remain tight, and your left shouldn't move at all during the exercise. The goal is to hold the starting and deepest position for 2-3 seconds to target the quads, hip flexors, and inner thighs.  

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, hold the deepest position for an extra second. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions, decrease rest periods, and alter tempo (faster or slower) to achieve the best results. 

Pro Tips:

  1.     Contract the glutes at the top of each rep to maximum sculpting.
  2.     Hold your core tight to prevent back pain.
  3.     Point your toes to engage your whole leg.

Exercise #10: Inner Thigh Leg Raise:

As you lie on your side, stack your hips, and engage your core muscles. Your bottom leg will be straight, and the top leg bent with the foot placed down in front of the bottom hip or thigh. If you are not flexible enough to place your foot there, you can have it placed a bit lower toward the knee. Push the foot of your top leg into the ground for stability. Lift the bottom leg 6-12 inches toward the ceiling then lower it gently back to the floor. Do not go past 6-12 inches of lift, or you will risk injury. In addition, please try not to tip over; to do this, maintain a neutral spine and avoid excessive hip movement.

Complete 3 sets of 10 reps per leg. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Level Up: If it is too easy, hold the top position for 2-3 seconds. Additionally, as you become stronger, you will need to increase repetitions and decrease rest periods to achieve the best results. 

Super Level Up: Add small "pulses,” 1-2 inch short-range motions at the top of the rep to achieve great glute toning.  

Pro Tips:

  1.     Contract your inner thighs at the top of each rep for maximum sculpting.
  2.     Hold your core tight to prevent back pain.
  3.     Avoid any extra hip movement so as not to engage the wrong muscles.