I'm doing upper body bodyweight strength training (gymnastics stuff) for a while now, and would like to incorporate some leg exercises into my training.

I'm looking for 1-2 good compound exercises for legs. Probably I should be doing squats, but the problem is that I don't have a barbell at home in order to increase the intensity enough (for strength/hypertrophy stimulus). Of course, I One possibility would be to do pistols (one-legged squats), but I'm wondering if one-legged squats are equivalent to/as beneficial as weighted squats (with regards to muscle groups trained)?

Any other suggestions on exercises I could do? My equipment: some dumbbells, pull up bar, suspension-trainer (TRX), and a bench like this one.

  • Yes, do the pistol full range down to the floor. Reach out and hold your toe from the complete flat position & go up. Go back down, do not drop but rather "hop" to the other leg. Each return is one. Asymmetric balancing on one leg is awesome as well while at it. You can also do step-ups with weights. I use the swimming pool's deep end to lean back to near falling in holding two huge bags of water. Dip fully down and step up the wall with one leg. First few times you might fall back into the water but you'll get over it. Adjust your angled for more hamstrings or more upper thighs. Feb 28, 2017 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


Here's a few mostly body-weight exercises. If you want to add a lot of mass to your legs, you really do need to push some heavier weight. I did bodyweight strength training for about 2 years straight using some of the exercises below and gained about 1.5 inches to my thighs in the first 6 months or so.

Nothing compares to barbell squats for adding size. But these exercises below will give you a lot of strength, muscular endurance and lung power.

Kettlebell Swings You can make your own improvised Kettlebell to save money, you should do these with pretty heavy weight if you want to build any size with these

Hindu Squats are great for building lung power and and endurance. Do these to complete failure (very painful), and you'll build a lot of strength quickly. I apologize that the man in the video is in his underwear. His form is correct, however swinging the arms is completely optional. Some people find swinging the arms to help with balance.

Plyometric Lunges

Plyometric Squats

Sissy Squats are good at building up the vastus medialis ("tear drop" muscle on the quadricep). Some people say they can be hard on the knees, I would recommend them as a finisher to minimize impact on your joints.

These are all quad exercises. It's harder to work hamstring muscles without some sort of weight or equipment. If you get a heavy kettlebell, you could perform Romanian/Stiff-Legged Deadlifts to build your hamstrings.

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