Legs are big, powerful, and require a lot of stress to snap them into shape. This is traditionally the job for weighted movements like squats, leg presses, and deadlifts. But we’re all blessed with our own set of weights at birth – your own body weight.
While we are sometimes brainwashed into believing that you need a gym and fancy equipment to build strength and size, but that is just not true. Bodyweight strength training is a system that utilizes gravity to your fullest advantage. The results are not only bigger thigh muscles, but also improved balance, athletic conditioning, and a better awareness of your own capabilities.
No matter if you are at work, home, traveling in a car, or held up in a hotel room – there is always a way to build muscle and stay in shape. And just because legs are traditionally built underneath an iron bar filled with plenty of iron plates, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a worthy alternative.
Body Weight Strength Training:
for Bigger Quadriceps and Hamstrings
Single Leg Box Squat
Air squats are great for conditioning, but if you’re looking for size, you’re going to need more weight to accomplish them. And when you’re working with your body weight the quickest way to double the poundage is to work on a single leg. The single leg box squat is a challenging move for most, but if you are looking for more, you can add a jumping motion to really feel the burn.
For an even greater challenge on the quadriceps, the pistol squat works the entire lower portion of your body, including the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
With size comes the opportunity to improve on shape. And the sissy squat builds the quadriceps better by taking the hip extensor muscles out of the equation. This means all your weight is going directly where you want it.
Explosive plyometric body weight movements are excellent for size and performance. The main focus here is to jump as high as you can while landing as softly as possible.
Russian Leg Curl
It is difficult to build your hamstrings without a machine or barbell, but the Russian Leg Curl is challenging enough that most beginners will likely not be able to perform them without a bit of cheating (pushing from the ground). But regardless what stage you’re at with this exercise, remember that the key is to lower yourself as slowly as you can. This movement is also great for developing the core.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
The ability to “hinge” at the hips is useful in many power lifts. And hinging under moderate stress is what the Single leg Romanian deadlift is all about, This movement is also a great way to improve your balance, mobility, and stability.