Wheels Of Steel: Al Kavadlo's Bodyweight Legs Workout

No squat rack? No worries! You don't need fancy weights or Olympic bars to build a pair of high-performance wheels. Here's the ultimate bodyweight leg workout.

Many people are under the impression that it's impossible to build strong, muscular legs through calisthenics training alone. I see this myth perpetuated time and time again, but the truth is that bodyweight training alone can give you truly impressive quads, hamstrings, and calves. The following program will also challenge your mobility and balance. So what are you waiting for? Legs do it!

EXERCISE 1 Close-Stance Squat
2 sets of 20 reps
Works: quads, hamstrings, glutes

Begin by standing upright with your feet slightly closer than hip-distance apart. Keeping both feet completely flat on the floor, squat down as low as you can. Hold this position briefly before returning to the top to begin the next rep. Although the close-stance squat targets the entire lower body, it places emphasis on the quads and outer thighs.

Close-Stance Squat

EXERCISE 2 Wide-Stance Squat
2 sets of 20 reps
Works: inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, quads

This time, begin with your toes turned out and your feet several inches wider than your hips. Again, squat down as deeply as possible, holding the bottom position briefly before returning to the top to begin the next rep. The wide-stance squat places emphasis on the inner thighs and hamstrings.

EXERCISE 3 Single-Leg Bench Squat
2 sets of 10 reps
Works: quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs

Stand with your back facing a bench and lift one leg in the air. Extend your arms in front of your body and carefully sit back onto the bench, pausing briefly at the bottom before returning to the top position. Make sure to brace your trunk by contracting your abs as you stand up to maintain control. Perform 10 consecutive reps on one leg, then switch sides and repeat.

EXERCISE 4 Drinking Bird
2 sets of 10 reps
Works: hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back

Stand on one leg with a slight bend in the knee and your free leg hovering just above the ground behind you. Begin bending forward at your hips while reaching your extended leg behind your body, forming a straight line from your heel to the back of your head. Aim to get your trunk and extended leg parallel to the ground. (You'll feel a stretch in the hamstring of your standing leg.) Brace your trunk as you return to the start position, being careful not to twist your body to the side on the way up. Perform 10 consecutive reps on one leg, then switch sides and repeat.

Drinking Bird

EXERCISE 5 Single-Leg Bridge
2 sets of 10 reps
Works: hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back

Lie faceup on the ground with your hands by your sides. Lift one leg into the air and bend the opposite knee so your foot rests flat on the floor. Use your grounded leg to push into the floor and bridge your hips up toward your shoulders. Keep your extended leg in the air as you lower your hips back down with control and repeat. Perform 10 consecutive reps on one leg, then switch sides and repeat.

Single-Leg Bridge

EXERCISE 6 Elevated Single-Leg Calf Raise
2 sets of 20 reps
Works: calves

Stand on an elevated surface with your heels hanging off the edge so just the balls of your toes are in contact. Now take one leg away and hold it behind the other. Stay on just the one foot as you slowly lower yourself as far down as you can go, then raise all the way up to the tips of your toes. Perform 20 consecutive reps on one leg, then switch sides and repeat.