woman performing bodyweight squat

Bodyweight Lower Body Exercises – Workout Routine

Are you looking to build up your lower body muscles? I have a number of exercises you may want to try developing quadriceps, glutes, and lower leg muscles.

Building strength in these areas will help you to run faster, perform better, endure longer, leap farther, and do more. Maybe you’ve been focusing on your upper body too much, and you already have the biceps and shoulder muscles you want for upper body strength.

If it’s time to turn the focus to your lower body, try these body weight lower body exercises below and see how well they work for you.

I have provided a few different kinds for you, so you can choose what you like best for your workout style.

6 Best Bodyweight Lower Body Exercises

Forward Lunge

Are you ready to fire up those lower leg muscles with a powerful set of lower body bodyweight exercises? Let’s start off with the lunge, which is an integral part of just about any modern workout routine, and that’s because it can work so much of the body at once.

Add some dumbbells to your lunges, and you’re suddenly working out your upper body. This is a great core builder, but the focus is mostly on the lower body, working your buttocks, quadriceps, and lower legs.


Start nice and slow to begin with, using the lunge as a warmup or stretching exercise. Move from a standing position to step forward and go deep into the lunge, as deep as possible.

Hold that position for just a moment and then come back to the starting position. The deepest lunge will have your back knee almost touching the ground and your forward knee parallel to the floor. Keep working at it until you can achieve this level of lunge.


This is one of the best lower body bodyweight exercises because it can be modified in a few different ways. You can do a traditional squat and take it as deep as possible. This will build up your lower body and core, with a nice focus on the abdominals.

You can also try the jumping squat, which really works those lower leg and builds up beautiful calf muscles quickly. Work with this exercise to train yourself to jump as high as possible each time, and pretty soon you’ll be jumping higher and higher.

Remember to keep your feet about shoulder width apart. This will help you have the right stance and ensure that you have a good balance and that you’re not at risk of hurting yourself. It also ensures that you get the most out of this exercise.


Another modification for the squat is to jump and spin 180 degrees. Do an explosive jump to make sure you clear the ground enough to spin until you face the opposite direction from your starting position.

This may be one you have to work at a little bit, building up that lower leg strength with some of the other exercises on this list and a smaller initial jump.

Reverse Lunge

There are tons of variations on the lunge you can do, making it one of the best bodyweight lower body exercises. The reverse lunge takes the typical lunge motion and just moves it backwards.

So, instead of stepping forward, you’re stepping backwards. This works some different muscles, helping to give you a more rounded fitness regimen.

If you feel like some of your lower body muscles are not getting the development they should and attention they need, try doing some of your exercises in different directions, like the reverse lunge as opposed to the forward lunge.

reverse lunge

Running in Place with Butt Kick

You could simply run in place if you want to build muscle with body weight exercises for the lower body, but adding the butt kick to the end of that really kick things up a notch and puts a little extra oomph into the exercise.

If you’re looking to build up those lower body muscles, you need body weight exercises for the lower body that really progress muscle development.

So, running in place with the butt kick at the end is a great way to do that, working a lot of your leg muscles and giving your glutes some extra strengthening as well.

Sumo Squat

This variation on the squat is a good full body exercise, and it adds extra strengthening for the lower body than what your typical lower body exercises would. Bodyweight is developed and increased thanks to the addition of the barbell.

Start with the weight that you’re comfortable with and can lift without much trouble. The extra force placed on your lower body ensures that your legs will have to develop, and it works the quadriceps and glutes a lot.

You’re doing a typical squat here, but with a barbell held up by your arms, as you keep your arms fully extended down towards the floor. So, at the lowest point of the squat, the barbell should be hovering just above the floor, or resting on it, depending on your preference.

sumo squat

It’s important that you keep the right posture for this exercise so that you get the most out of it and so that you don’t injure yourself while doing it. Maintain upright posture in the standing position of the squat, and then let your hips lower down in the direction of your heels.

The knees should be allowed to drive outward. Make sure your toes stay ahead of your knees, and keep your shins vertical when you’re at the lowest point in the squat.

To return to the standing position, push your heels outward and downward, and then push with your hips a little forward to return completely to the original position.

Reclined Air Cycling

Here’s an exercise so easy you can do it lying on your back on the floor. This is one of the better lower body pull exercises. Bodyweight is increased by putting a lot of force into your legs.

You lie on your back and make the same movement you would as if you’re riding a bicycle, moving your legs in a stepping, circular pattern with your knees brought up above your waist at the highest point.

You can add resistance bands to this to make it more of a pulling exercise and give yourself a greater challenge. Ankle weights are a great addition too, as they forced more exertion from you.

The more weight you add on, the more you’ll be forcing all of your lower body muscles to work together, creating entire lower body exercises. Bodyweight should drastically increase over time if you keep with this exercise and make it a regular part of your workout routine.

air cycling

I shared with you some bodyweight lower body at home exercises as well as ones that are more suitable for the gym. Not everybody has a barbell at home, but some of these exercises above can be done with resistance bands or no equipment at all.

Work with what you have, but make sure that you’re doing some of these exercises several times a week to really build up your lower body and strengthen those leg muscles and glutes.

You’ll provide a lot more support for your upper body this way and make your lower body very powerful. You’ll be surprised at what you can do once you strengthen those lower body muscles.