Let’s take a step back to examine the true definition of an amazing physique. The term ‘mirror muscles’ refers to various muscle groups on your body that are easily viewable with or without a mirror.
These include biceps (of course), abdominals, shoulders, core and back muscles. While it’s very tempting to only focus on those above-the-belt muscles, it’s a huge mistake to skip leg day because you might end up looking like this.
- Please avoid it at all cost.
This article will focus solely on breaking the stereotype that legs cannot be developed with bodyweight exercises; in turn, providing some of the most advanced leg workout without weights.
Therefore, it will be more beneficial for people with leg-training experience. Beginners should check out this post “How to get the most out of legs and shoulders workout” with exercises at appropriate levels before attempting more progressive movements.
Why You Absolutely Should Spend More Time On Leg Training
The key to a great physique is symmetry, where the top half and the bottom half of your body are balanced. If you still lack motivations when it comes to training legs, here are 9 reasons why you shouldn’t skip leg day.
It’s a common assumption that calisthenic doesn’t require leg’s improvement. Because the majority of advanced skills; for example, the planche, the front and back lever or the human flag, only demand phenomenal strength in arms and core.
However, such thinkings massively contradicts the basic idea of calisthenic, which is to establish your strength, physique and mind comprehensively.
Furthermore, in case you haven’t realized it yet, acquiring strength in your legs will get you prepared for more progressive calisthenic power moves later on.
Some Tips For An Effective Calisthenic Leg Day
These following tips should always be acknowledged regardless of your level. They work very well to maximize the impacts from your leg workout and to minimize the risk of injury.
- Types of exercise: Specialists recommend taxing your core by doing free-weight (or body weight) exercises instead of presses on lower body machine.
Exercises such as lunges, squats and deadlifts are highly praised for their efficiency. You should try different variations with each exercise to challenge yourself.
- Rate of recurrence: this is pretty obvious: you need to create your own training schedule based on your targets.
Accordingly, the ideal practice suggests altering the workout volume, including number of repetitions and additional weight. As the results, you body won’t get too complacent with one exercise, stimulating you to keep pushing further.
- This rule applies to pretty much every exercise and its variations: you should progress slowly and as methodically as possible until you’re familiar with the movement patterns.
Try to pay close attention to the proper body positioning and knee alignment, rather than going for more weight or going faster and risking getting yourself injured.
How To Do Advanced Free-weight Exercises
It should be noted that the following workouts that I’m about to introduce to you are all meant for advanced leg training. However, individual goals will differentiate the way each person execute these moves.
If your ultimate goal is to build legs like tree trunks as fast as possible, weight training will be a better solution. Check out this beginner’s guide for gaining mass in your legs or this list comprised of 7 best leg workouts for thicker quads, glutes and hams.
That being said, calisthenic also provide some solution if time is not a pressing matter.
Meanwhile, if it is skill-based power moves you want to master, then these exercises are absolutely for you.
1. Squat Jump
Squat jump takes the ever-great traditional squat to the next level, guaranteeing to leave your quads screaming.
Firstly, assume the proper posture where you stand normally, with your feets well-apart roughly at shoulder width. Your toes should point slightly outward, providing a good foundation for taking off and landing as well.
The next step is quite similar to a normal squat, where you lower your hips as deep as you can by bending the knees. After that, engage your core and reverse the movement with a quick and explosive jump, also as high as you can.
The real challenge is to land as quietly as possible. You should keep you body straight while descending, use the balls of your feet for touchdown then bend the knees to resume the starting position. It requires full body control, which is a lot harder than it may sound.
Variations of this exercise includes tucking knees, adding some weight, jumping on a box or frog jumps. The full guide to squat jump can be found here.
2. Tornado Lunges
Lunges include various compound movements that develop your lower body. The jumping lunge is an amazing plyometric exercise that most people can try.
If you’re looking for some challenge, the tornado lunge is possibly just the thing. This movement brilliantly adds plyometric movements to a simple bodyweight exercise.
However, please remember that this is a very complex workout, ideally executed at a fast pace. The tempo is crucial for this movement, and can have massive impact on the outcome. Watch the video below for a tutorial on how to do tornado lunges.
Standing with your feets spread apart at hip distance; this is your starting position. Then putting your right (or left, choice is yours) foot behind you, while bending your knees about 90 degrees and lowering yourself into a lunge.
From that stance, explosively jump off the ground and swing your legs the other way around. Your hands should remain centered to increase your balance.
Land with your legs at switched positions and knees bent to absorb the impact. Repeat the movement as many times as you can in 30 seconds.
3. Pistol Squat
It’s fair to say that the pistol squat is one of the most notorious advanced lower-body movement. As the results, it requires some time and patience in order to be mastered.
The pistol squat demands phenomenal strength in your core and lower-body, as well as your nervous system (a bit unusual, I know); in addition to the extreme agility of your hips, knees and ankles.
However, what most people struggle with when doing the pistol squat is finding the appropriate balance between strength, mobility and stability. It definitely earns its title as the king of lower body exercises.
For a complete guide on how to progress towards a pistol-perfect squat, check out this page.In general, a full pistol squat involves four major steps, as following:
- Start by standing straight and looking directly forward, with your chest up, while your hips and knees slightly bent.
- Raising one foot up, then executing the squat by bending your hips and one knee. Extend the raised leg forward to clear room for the movement.
- Descend as slowly but as deeply as possible, while paying attention to your balance.
- Maintain the bottom position for a short period, then return to the starting stance.That’s usually how it’s done.
Check out this following video for more variations of the exercise.
So there are some of my most favorite power movements for lower body; none of them requires weights. Apart from the pistol squat, which is definitely for more seasoned trainers, the other two are fairly easy for people with experience in leg training.
If you’re looking for more bodyweight exercises for your lower body or legs, then take a look at our leg and shoulder workout guide.
As usual, I’d love to hear from the readers, so please leave your thought in the comment section, and share it on, because friends don’t let friends skip leg day.