Is it possible to build strong and muscular legs through calisthenics training alone? The short answer is yes absolutely. While weights have the advantage that you can adjust the resistance very precise. Bodyweight training alone can also give you truly impressive quads, hamstrings, and cough. It also depends on your current level and goal. Most bodyweight leg exercises are good. A mix between building muscle increasing in strength and improving your mobility. Weighted basic exercises, on the other hand, are great to boost your max strain and optimize your muscle growth. Because there’s no limit how much resistance you can end.
The following workout will focus on calisthenics exercises. But if you are an advanced athlete you could also do some of the exercises with additional weight to save time and give you a unique leg workout. We combined all exercises to a giant set. The giant set in this workout consists of six exercises. Which you do after each other without any kind of rest in between. You start with the hardest exercise and continue with the easier one. This is very important because you have more strength energy and concentration at the beginning of the giant set. You do every exercise until fatigue and then continue with the next one.
Pistol Squat or A Slow Step Up
The first exercise is either a pistol squat or a slow step up. You can choose between one of those tools because most beginners aren’t able to do pistol squats. If you choose to pistol squat you could do it on the ground or standing on an object. It’s way harder to do it on the ground at least for the straight leg. If you aren’t mobile enough to keep your leg above the ground in the lowest position. You will lose your balance if you do it on a box you don’t have to raise the straight leg that much. While both variations make nearly no difference in terms of strength for the bent leg. We still prefer the version on the ground. The ground will force you to work on your straight leg strength and mobility on the other leg. This works your quad and also improves your performance.
When it comes to else’s and leg raises when you do the pistol squat. Keep your knees stable all the time and do it slowly and control. If pistol squats are too hard but you still want to work on them you can do it by using an object as support. If you choose the single leg step up to make sure to choose the right height for the object. You step on the higher the objects the harder the exercise gets. You should be able to lean yourself forward and release your rear legs in the ground without any kind of momentum. No matter if you do the pistol squat or the step-up we suggest you start with your weaker leg and continue with a stronger one.
Right after that, you do the Archer squat. Here we got several important key points. First, find the right distance and don’t choose a too narrow stance. Second, keep your upper body upright bend your hips and knees and don’t lean yourself forward even if you can’t get that person. And third, keep your heels on the ground. You can do the archer squat with an internally rotated leg to stretch the adductors of the straight leg. Or with an outward rotated leg to stretch the hamstrings.
One Leg Glute Ham Race
You continue the giant set with the one leg glute-ham race. This exercise is quite simple press one leg into the ground. Race your body and keep the other one above the ground. The more you extend the bent leg on the ground the harder the exercise will be.
Jumping Lunges or Normal Lunges
The next exercise is jumping lunges or normal lunges. At this point in the workout, you already did three different exercises without rest. You can now choose between lunges and jumping lunges. The goal is to be able to do some clean reps like at least about 10 per side or so in both versions. You have to aim for a stable knee position during the complete movement. When you do jumping lunges take care that the rear knee doesn’t hit the ground too hard.
You continue with the deep squat. Hold this position as long as possible. The deep squat is one of the best lower body exercises. So always take care that you do it right. There are four key points. First, don’t lean your upper body forward and aim for a nearly vertical position. Second, keep your spine straight and don’t round your upper body. Third, keep your heel on the ground. And fourth don’t let your knees collapse inwards. And aim for an evenly distributed load between the inside and the outside of your feet. If you lack mobility and can’t get that deep you can either go to the lowest position possible. And hold it otherwise and this is what we suggest. Hold yourself onto an object and go deeper. The object will ensure that you don’t lose your balance. If you lack ankle mobility always make sure that you hold an active and not a passive deep squat even if you use an object as support.
Single Leg Calf Raises
The last exercise is single leg calf raises. We suggest you do elevated cough raises because you will get a better range of motion. The key points are quite simple to do it slowly and controlled and keep your knees slightly bent like in the pistol squats. The step ups or the glute-ham race you first finish one leg before you continue with the other one.