When calisthenics emerged as a trend several years ago, the triumph over the sport could not have been predicted. Some people saw calisthenics as just a variation of body weight training – far from it! Calisthenics are more than just body weight training. It raises the workout with your own body weight to a new level. That said, there’s one muscle group that’s especially happy about this intensified body weight training: the leg muscles. Like you probably already know, the legs can only be challenged to a limited extent with ordinary body weight training. The following Top 10 Calisthenics Exercises for legs provide your leg muscles with one stimulus or another, which go beyond conventional body weight training.
Equipment: What do you need for Calisthenics Leg Exercises?
On the one hand, calisthenics leg training consists of standard body weight training that doesn’t require any equipment except yourself. On the other hand, special equipment is used for one exercise or another. Some of this simple equipment, like bars, rails, and small objects/aids, can even be found in playgrounds. This will largely save you from having to make additional purchases.
Equipment completes the calisthenics leg exercises by adding important elements that intensify the workout with your own body weight: more body tension, more muscles are required to work together, more balance, and increased agility. People who can’t or don’t want to go to the gym or are searching for something in addition to the gym, will especially benefit from the calisthenics leg exercises.
The leg muscles in particular, which have been under constant stress since our first step and react with difficulty to the stimulus of exercise, grow best with an extra hard workout routine. Calisthenics leg exercise give you the means to do just that, improving the well-known body weight exercises here and there with special equipment – challenge and build your leg muscles with our top 10 calisthenics leg exercises!
Squats are the basis that every leg exercise routine is built on, and it’s no different with calisthenics leg exercises. By learning the perfect squat technique, you’ll lay the foundation for even being able to do the majority of the following nine exercises. Since you don’t train with additional weight on your back when doing calisthenics, you’ll pick up a clean technique easier than you would in the gym. This will prevent loss of balance and injuries when exercising. In contrast to the gym, you don’t have to coordinate extra weight on the neck or shoulders when doing your calisthenics leg exercises. You’ll start the workout with free squats, which work as follows:
Stand with your feet positioned a little wider than your shoulder width and point the tips of your feet ever so slightly outward.
First, take a deep breath before each rep, then tense the stomach as lower back. This prevents you from hunching your back during the rep. A hunched back would be bad for the spine.
Begin the exercise by moving downward. Keep in mind as you squat: Move your butt downward as if you want to sit down, while keeping your upper body straight and leaving your feet flat on the floor.
If your mobility is optimal, you’ll get to the lowest point. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, you’ve reached the lowest point. It doesn’t need to be lower than that.
Holder the lower position with a straight upper body and the knees behind the tips of your toes for a while. Then slowly move upward into the starting position, pushing upwards with the thighs.
Repeat the exercise several times, but only as long as you can execute the rep with a clean technique.
|Tip Box: Internalize this technique as accurately as possible! It’s the foundation on which the various exercises that follow build on. Especially if you’re lacking mobility getting to the lowest point, you should regularly improve your agility with mobilization exercises and fascia training. Because the more exact you do the exercises, the longer you’ll go without injuries and the more efficient your training will be!|
#2: Bulgarian Split Squats
The Bulgarian split squats are closely related to squats. However, you exercise the legs individually – this a difference between the two types of squats. This squat variation is particularly popular among the calisthenics leg exercises, because the intensity of the leg training increases. So you’ll compensate for the extra weight that’s missing in your workout: instead of squatting with a barbell on your neck, center most of your body weight on one leg.
All you need for this is a step platform for one of your feet. A chair or a box is enough. As an alternative, you can use our parallettes for calisthenics leg exercises that have a sufficient height of 43 cm. Position yourself in front of the platform with your back to the platform, then put one foot behind you on the platform and perform the squat with the other leg in front.
#3: Jump Squats
Training dynamically is an essential part of calisthenics leg exercises, because some calisthenics exercises require you to concentrate your strength on one point in order to quickly jump into a certain position. An example of this is the “human flag” exercise, where you hang sideways on a vertical bar with a complete bodily tension and only hold on with your arms to form a flag with your body. Before such exercises work flawlessly, it’s necessary to have trained dynamically. Jump squats are a perfect dynamic exercise for calisthenics leg training.
You start in the lowest squat position. From there, jump upwards. It helps if you use your arms as a propulsion and swing them up from behind when jumping. During the jump, bring your feet together and your arms completely upwards. While gravity brings you back down, spread your legs out and bring your arms together in order to land in the starting position. The pattern then repeats. If you frequently repeat this exercise, it’s also excellent for building your stamina.
Lunges are similar to Bulgarian split squats. For this exercise, you’ll also train each leg individually. The difference is, with lunges, you exercise without aids and alternate moving each leg forward. In simple terms, this means you take a big step forward from a straight, hip-width stance. Lift the other leg behind you and remain standing on just your toes. In comparison to Bulgarian split squats, the glute muscles are more intensively trained. The further the step, the stronger the glute muscles are required to be. Additionally, this exercise is more dynamic in comparison to the Bulgarian split squats. Due to the continuous change of legs, you’ll train your muscular endurance better.
#5: Goblet Squat
Among the calisthenics leg exercises, the goblet squat is nothing more than a squat in which you hold the weight in front of you. Common objects are used as weights; unlike in the gym, as in the case of a barbell. If you have a kettle bell at home, that’s especially useful for the goblet squat. Kettle bells are considerably more space-saving than actual dumbbells and can easily be stored at home. A heavy object the size of your head or a stuffed backpack is suitable for this exercise.
To hold the weight in front of you without any problems and stand stably, this time your stance should be wider than your hip-width and your feet should be pointed a little more outward than they would be in a normal squat. From there it’s just a matter of balance. Also, you should anticipate a fair amount of strain on your upper and lower arms from holding the weight. Furthermore, it’s necessary to have a strong tension in the lower body region.
#6: Calf Raises
Even the relatively small calf muscles should be part of the calisthenics leg exercises. You can do calf raises while standing on the floor. While standing straight, slowly move up onto your toes using only the power of your calves. Remaining in a standing position, move back down until your heel is just above the floor. Without dropping your heel on the floor, move back up again.
If you would like to intensify this calisthenics leg exercise, you can take the weight from the goblet squats for example and hold it during the exercise, so that the strain on the calves is more intense. There’s also the possibility to increase the intensity of the exercise even more by placing your feet on the rim of a box so that you can move your heels lower without touching them to the floor.
|Tip Box: The box should have a firm stand to avoid falls!|
#7: Cossack Squats
Cossack squats are already of another caliber, although they do have a lot in common with standard squats and the other squat variations that we’ve introduced! First, the similarities: like the other calisthenics leg exercises, lower yourself downward with your butt and thighs. Your upper body must be straight. And like the goblet squats, you’ll hold a weight in front of you. What’s new? You move to the side!
This has several advantages: On the one hand, you get a modified stimulus and challenge some muscles more than you would when doing straight squats. On the other hand, you’ll train your mobility, because you tend to go lower down when doing this exercise than you do with the other calisthenics leg exercises. All you need to consider for the correct execution of this exercise, in addition to the previous instructions for squats, is to place the feet outward at a 45° angle, so that the movement to the side can be done properly. Then go down to the side on the one leg, while completely stretching out your other leg on the other side. This way, you’ll alternate working both legs.
#8: Lung Jumps
We have the squats and the jump squats – and now following the lunges, we also have the lunge jumps! Because of the jumps, we again have quite a dynamic exercise.Begin down in the starting position with one leg stretched out in front of you and the other leg stretched out behind you. From this position, jump upwards. While you’re in the upper position, change the position of both legs: the leg that was previously in front, is now behind you once you land. With the other leg, do the same thing, but inverse. In comparison to jump squats, your gluteal muscles are more challenged, and in comparison to normal lunges, your dynamics and endurance are more challenged.
#9: Wall Sit
Wall sits – this calisthenics leg exercise requires the simplest equipment! What do you always find, whether at home or outside? A wall. Lean against the wall with your back. From there you’ll go into a squat position. Hold your thighs at a 90° angle to the lower legs, so that your thighs run parallel to the floor and are sitting with your back completely straight against the wall. Hold this position as long as you possibly can. This makes it an exercise of strength endurance. The longer you hold out, the better it is. The appeal with this exercise, is that you don’t have to do a certain number of reps. Of course, you can set a minimum time goal, but most people do the exercise as long as they can keep up their strength. Therefore, it’s not restricted, and you’ll have to show a strong will to continually reach new performance improvements.
What you have freedom in during the execution of the exercise is the position of the arms: this exercise is most difficult if you lean your back, neck, and head completely and straight against the wall and stretch your arms out to each side and press them against the wall. This puts your full weight on your leg muscles. You can alleviate the difficulty of this exercise by bending your upper body forward and resting your forearms on your thighs.
#10: Leg Curls with Resistance Loop Bands
Resistance loop bands – these are the small and practical training accessories that have been brought to the foreground in the sport of calisthenics and are creating new opportunities! Ideally, you have resistance bands in different strengths; most are offered in four strengths. Therefore, you can individually customize the calisthenics leg exercise and increase the level of difficulty by going from an easier to a harder band. Leg curls, as the last one of our calisthenics leg exercises, makes it possible for you to challenge your hamstring muscles during your workout. This muscle group is otherwise very difficult to exercise in isolation. That makes leg curls an important, complementary exercise.
Start by putting the band around your lower legs, just above the ankles.
In the course of the exercise, move one of your lower legs downwards and upwards. Leave the thigh in the starting position and don’t move it.
First, do all the reps for one leg, before you switch to the other leg.
|Tip Box: A little insider tip: If you place the foot of the leg that’s not being exercised on the loop band, you’ll prevent the band from slipping during while performing the exercise. This allows you to move your leg up even higher, gives you more range of motion and trains your hamstrings much more efficiently.|
Are you looking for the appropriate accessories for your calisthenics training?
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