4 Amazing Calisthenics Exercises for Seriously Strong Legs

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Many people who want to build a more muscular frame often focus on their chest and biceps. This is because these are the body parts that are usually seen first. The leg muscles are often taken for granted resulting to unattractive “chicken legs”.

However, having a more balanced physique from top to the bottom is not only much more visually appealing, but also ensures that you are functionally stronger. In order for you to achieve this, you don’t really need massive weights or complicated machines. Just by performing a calisthenics bodybuilding routine, you can gain more muscle and have stronger, legs.

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a form of exercise that only uses your body weight for resistance. This means that you do not need any gym equipment or added weight to start this practice. This makes it very convenient and practical especially if your budget is tight.

Calisthenics exercises can be done virtually anywhere, even with very little space. You can perform the routines in the comforts of your home, in the park or any place that is available. This means you really have no excuse not to be consistent in your routine.

Can you build leg muscle with just body weight?

Bodyweight exercises are often underestimated but many calisthenics exercises can be scaled to make them more intense. Just by changing the position of your body, you can already upgrade the exercise, put more weight on your leg and intensify the move.

What is important however is to make sure that you first master the fundamental calisthenics moves before attempting to do the more difficult exercises. For the exercises below, you should first master the basic squat, the lunge, and the bridge especially if you are a beginner. These three exercises will help you to strengthen your legs in order to correctly perform the four exercises.

The 4 Exercises

Single Leg Straight Bridge

The single leg straight bridge is effective in building the legs separately because you work out only one leg at a time. This exercise targets the rear muscles in your lower body including your lower spine erectors, glutes and hamstrings. If you want to make your legs more muscular, it is important to also focus on these rear muscles to have a more balanced look.

How to do this exercise:

  • Start by sitting on the floor, ands by your hips and legs straight out in front of you.
  • Next, raise one leg in the air and drive your hips up
  • Straighten out your body by pressing your down with your hands and the grounded heel
  • Push your chest out then drop your head back
  • Pause briefly in this position before you lower down to the starting position to complete one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets, 10 reps per leg

Bulgarian Split Squat

In this exercise, you can put more intensity on your legs just by switching your body’s position. This exercise can be scaled to be easier or more difficult depending on the position of your legs.

How to do this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your back to a bench.
  • Elevate your leg by lifting it behind you on the bench. This will add more weight to your front leg.
  • Lower yourself down to a squat until your front knee bends to approximately 90 degrees
  • Make sure you keep your back straight and your knee does not go over your toes
  • Lift yourself up to go back to the starting position to complete one repetition
  • Do 5 sets, 10 reps per leg

Single Leg Squat

The single leg squat may look simple but it can be daunting even for people who are able to lift barbells twice their weight. This exercise will help you build lower body strength because it requires immense control and balance.

How to do this exercise:

  • Start by standing up with your arms extended straight in front of you for balance
  • Lift up one leg which will put all your weight on your standing leg.
  • Squat down, keeping your back straight until your knee reaches a 90 degree bend
  • Push back up to starting position to complete on repetition
  • Do 5 sets, 5 reps per leg

Skater Squat

This is a variation of the single leg squat but instead of putting your non-squatting leg in front of you, you will raise and hold it with one hand behind you.

How to do this exercise:

  • Start by standing up, lift one leg behind you by bending it on the knee
  • Keep holding your leg up with one hand
  • Place your other hand behind your head or in front of you for balance
  • Squat down making sure your back is kept straight until
  • Go down until your knee is only 1 inch above the ground
  • Pause briefly at the bottom position and stand back up to the starting position to complete one rep
  • Do 5 sets, 5 reps per leg

Tips to keep in mind

To help you get closer to your goal, keep in mind that you should also adjust your lifestyle. It is not enough that you perform these exercises to get the muscle you want. Here are some tips that will help maximize your gains.

Be consistent

Having an on-and-off routine will make it slower for you to achieve your fitness goals. Make sure to follow a regular exercise schedule so you can track your gains.

Value quality over quantity

If you cannot yet complete the indicated number of reps or sets, do not rush into the exercise. Focus on making sure your form is correct and accurate. Don’t cheat by assuming an incorrect form to make the exercise easier. This will not give you your desired results and can also cause you injury.

Give importance to you diet

Muscles are indeed built in the kitchen. What this means is that you have to fuel your body with adequate protein and nutrient-dense foods to make sure it is getting what it needs to build mass.

Have time for recovery

You need to rest for your muscles to recover and build. Make sure you are getting enough sleep which can aid in muscular growth. Having an average of 7-8 hours a day is ideal.

About the Author:

Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.