How To Get Bigger Legs Without Lifting Weights

How To Get Bigger Legs Without Lifting Weights

Along with a bigger, stronger chest, shirt-straining arms and perfectly carved six-pack abs, most guys want their leg muscles to really pop. Contrary to what you might think, building bigger legs without a gym full of equipment isn't impossible.

Below, we showcase how you can pump up your legs with little or no weights, so no squirming under a deep barbell squat or tearing a deadlift from the floor necessary. In fact, all you need is a small amount of room and a shed load of tenacity.

To help you learn how to get bigger legs (calves, quads, hamstrings and more all included), we tapped up personal trainer Alex Crockford to draw you a personal blueprint to getting stacked down below. 'This workout is a home workout using no equipment other than usual things you'll find at home,' explains Crockford. But just because it's a weight-free workout, it doesn't mean it'll be a walk in the park. Far from it.

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'You need to feel it working, so if it’s too easy you can add weight with home dumbbells or anything heavy enough at home,' continues Crockford. 'There are a mixture of standard sets and supersets to build muscle, but with reasonably short rest periods.'

Sounds like a win-win. Let's go.

How to Build Bigger Legs: The Bodyweight Workout

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1. Walking Lunge

Reps: 12 each leg Sets: 3 Rest: 30 secs after each set

How to do it: Standing tall and keeping your chest up at all times, take a long step forward with one leg, bending your front knee until the back knee touches the ground. Stand up explosively, pause and repeat with the other leg, moving forward.

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2a. Squat

Reps: 12 Sets: 3 Rest: No rest, go straight into squat jumps.

How to do it: Standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your chest up and sink your hips back, before bending your knees to drop your thighs until they are at least parallel to the floor. Push through the heels back to standing.

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2b. Squat Jump

Reps: 12 Sets: 3 Rest: 30 secs after each superset.

How to do it: Stand straight with your arms across your chest and your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push up explosively from your feet keeping your arms folded as you jump up. Immediately jump again when you return to the squat position.

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3. Bulgarian Split Squat (with or without dumbbells)

Reps: 12 each leg Sets: 3 Rest: 30 seconds after each set

Crockford says: 'Use a platform such a chair, bed, sofa or a stool, but make sure it is secure and safe.'

How to do it: Stand facing away from bench with one leg resting on it, laces down. Squat down with your standing leg until the knee of your trailing leg almost touches the floor. Push up through your front foot to return to the start position.

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4a. Step Up

Reps: 12 each leg Sets: 3 Rest: No rest, go straight into single leg bridge.

Crockford says: 'Complete 12 reps on one leg before switching.'

How to do it: Place a bench or a box in front of you and step onto it with one foot. As you plant your foot, drive with your other foot to join the other. Lower back down and step back onto the floor. Repeat on the other side.

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4b. Single Leg Bridge

Reps: 12 each leg Sets: 3 Rest: 30 secs after each superset.

How to do it: Lie flat on the floor with your legs bent. Drive through one of your heels to push your hips upwards as far as you can go, before pausing and returning to the start position.

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5a. Lunge Jumps

Reps: 1 min Sets: 1 Rest: no rest, go straight into squat pulses.

How to do it: Lunge forward until your rear knee is almost touching the ground. Jump into the air, bringing your rear foot forward and the front foot back. Land in a lunge and repeat.

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5b. Squat Pulses

Reps: 1 min Sets: 1 Rest: after superset

Crockford says: 'At the bottom of the squat, 'pulse' your body up and down a few inches either way.'

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start the movement by bending your knees and sitting back with your hips. Go down as far as you can, 'pulse' your hips up and down for 5 seconds and quickly reverse the motion back to the starting position.

Can Skinny Legs Get Bigger?

We asked Mitch Raynsford, strength and conditioning coach at P3RFORM, your burning quad questions, specifically: is it possible for 'hard-gainers' to grow their legs?

According to Raynsford: 'Any muscle group can grow and increase in size with the right stimulus and nutritional support. Even the biggest bodybuilder on the Mr Olympia stage started with ‘skinny’ legs at the start of their training journey. For hypertrophy we need to stimulate the muscle group with resistance training at least twice a week. Eating in a caloric surplus will provide the body with sufficient energy to produce greater muscle mass. Tick these two aspects off and you’ll be on the right foundation to grow the size of your legs.'

There's hope for us yet.

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How to Get Bigger Thighs?

So now we know it's possible, how do we do it? Raynsford recommendations are clear: 'Once you have the foundation and frequency of training understood, muscle growth can be enhanced further by adding in differing rep ranges, adjusting the rep tempo and the progressive overload.

'Hypertrophy has been shown to occur after as little as 5 reps and as high as 20 reps in a set, so working across this range can produce greater results. Often aiming for lower and heavier on compound exercises and higher reps for the accessories is a good way to go.'

What about tempo?

'Tempo is an area that is often overlooked in the gym as people try to simply lift the heaviest weight possible and do no control the eccentric (negative) portion of the lift. Ensuring the eccentric lasts 3-seconds causes greater muscle damage and in turn facilitates great muscle growth.

'Progressive overload is arguably the most important factor of all and is the principle of gradually increasing the demands placed on your muscles over time. The human body is very good at adapting to a stimulus so we need to ensure we increase that load session by session.'

How Often Should I Train Legs to Get Them Bigger?

While it may seem a good idea to train legs as much as possible to increase their size, you will still need adequate recovery. Aiming for 2-3 good sessions a week that include at least 3-5 leg exercises in each session will be a sure-fire way to gain lower body mass. Without enough rest between sessions, you'll find your energy levels and performance suffering, so alternating sessions between upper, lower and full-body is a good way to ensure enough recovery. You can use the following table to structure your training:

training splits
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How Long Will It Take for My Legs to Get Bigger?

We get it, you're impatient to see results. According to Raynsford, it might not take too long for gym newbies. 'This is all down to the individual, the frequency of training and their training history among other factors,' he says.

For a beginner lifter, you can expect to see strength differences in as little as 2-4 weeks with muscle size noticeable after 6-10 weeks. For more experienced lifters with greater muscle mass, these changes may take longer.

'Building significant muscle mass is a long-term process but ensuring you are progressively loading, training with correct form and have adequate nutrition, muscle mass is sure to develop well.'

So stay consistent, get your nutrition in, and the lower body gains will soon come.

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