Body weight exercise can be extremely effective in the building of endurance in muscles of the body. Doing a higher number of repetitions allowing the muscles to fully fatigue will result in long, lean, toned muscles, and who doesn’t want that?

An additional benefit of body weight training (or training without weights) is that you can perform these exercises anywhere, anytime.

You can add some of these exercises to the total body routine you currently do, or you can implement them alone as part of a no-excuses, train hard anywhere workout for your legs.


These leg exercises without weights are bound to get you the lustrous legs you desire by summer!

For all of these exercises, you should complete between 15 and 20 repetitions. If you complete 20 repetitions easily and don’t feel tired, you are ready to progress to the next level exercise (called a progression).

You can complete anywhere between 1 and 4 sets of each exercise, depending on how much time you have available. You can also complete multiple variations of each exercise to increase your burn and change up your routine!

For example, you can complete the step up for three sets, followed by 3 sets of the lateral step up and three sets of the Lateral Up and Overs.

Target Muscle Group: All Leg Muscles (Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves)

Exercise: Transverse-Reverse Lunge

For this exercise, begin by standing on two feet. Adjust your body weight to balance on your left leg. Swing your right leg behind you and to the left (this will look similar to a “curtsey” position). Bend both knees to lower your body toward the ground. Return to the starting position by bringing your right foot back up to meet the left. Repeat.

Progression: Jumping Lunges

For this exercise, assume a lunged position with your right foot forward: both knees should be at 90 degree angles, upper body should be erect and core strong. Use the muscles in your legs to push your body off the ground and switch your feet in the air so your left foot now lands in front.  Drop back into a lunged position with bent knees, and repeat.

Regression: Transverse Step Up

For this exercise, set up next to a bench or step so you are facing a quarter turn to the right of the bench (your right foot should be parallel to the bench or step).

Step your right onto the bench with toes pointed perpendicular to your body. Step up, turning as you raise your body. Step back down into the starting position and repeat.

*Please note, the transverse step ups and lunges are challenging and if you have any prior knee issues, these exercises may aggravate those issues.

If you do have a prior knee injury, doing a side lunge or a side step up gives you the opportunity to work the legs in a different way, without the twisting motion you will experience with the transverse exercises.

Target Muscle Group: All Leg Muscles (Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves)

Exercise: Side Step up

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Step to the side of a bench or step. Place your foot on top of the bench and step your body up. Step back down and repeat. After you complete your repetitions on one leg, switch to the next.

Progression: Side Up and Overs

Set to the side of a bench or step. Place your foot on the top of the bench, like you did in the Side Step up, but this time hop your body over the bench, pushing off your foot that is on the bench. Your other foot should land on the top of the bench, then repeat hopping over to the other side. Continue hopping side to side until the allotted number of repetitions are completed.

Regression: Step Up

Stand behind a bench or step. Place your right foot solidly on the bench. Pushing through your right heel, step up on the top of the bench. Tap the toe of your left foot and step back down. Repeat until the allotted number of repetitions has been performed.

Target Muscle Group: All Leg Muscles (Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves)

Exercise: Jump Squat

Begin in the standard squat position: core tight, feet hip width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. Lower your body into a 1/2 to ¼ squat by bending at the knees and hips. Then explode up off the ground. Land softly with knees slightly bent and immediately repeat the movement.

Progression: Long Jump

Begin in the standard squat position. Lower into a ½ or ¼ squat and immediately explode off the ground, this time jumping forward instead of up. Land softly and immediately repeat.

Regression: Squat or Jump Squat with Stabilization

To regress the jump squat, simply perform a squat exercise or you can complete a jump squat with stabilization.

To complete a jump squat with stabilization, complete your jump squat, but instead of immediately repeating the exercise, hold your landing position (soft knees, slight bend at hips) for 3-5 seconds.

Then return to the starting position and repeat.

Target Muscle Group: Hamstrings

Exercise: Ball Hamstring curl

For this exercise, you will need a stability ball or furniture sliders. Lie on your back on the ground, and place your heels on the ball or sliders.

Begin to press down on the ball or sliders using your heels, and use your hamstrings and glutes to pull your heels back toward your body.

Return to the starting position and repeat. Be sure you keep your core engaged during this exercise to take stress off your low back!

Target Muscle Group: Glutes

Exercise: Hip Bridge

Begin on your back on the floor with knees bent. Perform a pelvic tilt—try to imagine pressing your low back into the ground to remove the space between the floor and your spine.

Then begin to peel your hips off the floor up toward the ceiling. When you reach full range of motion, give your glutes an extra squeeze, then slowly return to the starting position.

For an extra challenge, place your feet on a stability ball or BOSU ball while performing this exercise!

Target Muscle Group: Abductors (outer thigh)

Exercise: Wall Slides

Lie on your side with your hips, shoulders, and heels against the wall. Slowly begin to lift your top leg off the ground up, keeping your heel pressed into the wall the entire time (be sure to take off your shoes to not mark your wall!). Slowly lower down and repeat.

I hope you enjoy the way these exercises will make you feel and your legs look! Keep working hard and you WILL see results! Be sure to let me know what you think and leave questions or comments below!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
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