The 10 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Your Quads

Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer

Learning the best exercises for your quads that don’t require any equipment can be very useful. Maybe your schedule or financial situation means that you’re unable to go to the gym or purchase any equipment at home.

Or maybe you frequently visit the gym but are tired of waiting for equipment to become free and want some exercises you can do while you wait.

The 10 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Your Quads

Whatever the reason, there are many effective ways to exercise your quads using only your body weight. With these 10 exercises, you can put the gym equipment away while still working up a sweat.

Before you start, however, make sure you warm up your muscles first to prevent any potential injury.

We would also recommend making sure you have enough space and some water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.

1. Bodyweight Squat

Bodyweight Squat

Squats are a core exercise of many bodyweight workout routines because they not only target several muscles but they work are exercises that you can do pretty much anywhere.

Being by standing with your feet at shoulder-width apart and your toes facing slightly outwards.

You can keep your arms at your sides, clasp your hands together in front of you or place them on your hips, depending on what feels comfortable for you.

Make sure you keep your core straight and tight as you lower yourself down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. You want to make sure you are feeling the weight more in your heels versus your toes while doing this exercise.

When you reach a seated position with your thighs parallel to the floor, stop and pause for a beat. Slowly bring yourself back to a standing position and then repeat, making sure all movements are slow and controlled.

2. Step-Up

For this exercise, you will need a solid object that will be able to bear your weight. You can use a step or box but make sure that you have enough room to safely move.

Ideally, the box or step should be around as high as your knee, but you can make the exercise easier by choosing something a little lower.

Step onto the box with your left foot and try to keep your knee aligned with your ankle as you move. Keep your back straight and tall as you move.

As you step up, bring your right foot up until it is parallel with your hip. Then bring your right foot back down to the floor and switch sides, so it is your right foot on the step and your left knee being raised.

3. Box Jump

Box Jump

This exercise also makes use of your knee-high box or something that you can safely jump onto. Step back so you’re about a foot away from the box and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Bend your knees, swing your arms forward, and jump onto the box or platform. Try to land with a slight bend in your knees and with your feet firmly on the surface.

You can make this easier by using a lower box. If you feel any knee discomfort, stop immediately.

4. Walking Lunge

Begin by standing straight and tall with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. There are several options of what to do with your arms so choose whatever makes you most comfortable.

You can hold them against your chest, place your hands on your hips, or keep them at your sides while holding light dumbbells.

Step forward with your left foot and sink down so that your right knee nearly touches the floor and your shin is parallel to the ground.

Pause in this position for a beat and then lunge forward with your right foot so it is now your left knee that nearly touches the floor. As you move, make sure to alternate which foot leads.

This exercise can put some strain on your knees, so be careful to keep your knees aligned with your toes. If you do feel any pain or discomfort in your knees, stop immediately.

5. Lateral Lunge

Lateral Lunge

Another type of lunge you can do is the lateral lunge. Instead of stepping forward with this one, you step to the side.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your arms in front of you to help with your balance.

Take a step to the right and push your hips back while bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. Squat down, wait for a beat, and then stand up. Repeat on the other side.

6. Reverse Lunge

Our third version of the lunge sees you move backward instead of forwards or sideways. As with the walking lunge, begin by standing tall and your feet placed shoulder-width apart.

Again, you can choose where to put your arms from several positions such as holding them against your chest, hands on hips, or by your sides with dumbbells.

Take a big step back with your right foot and lower yourself down so that your right knee nearly touches the ground. Bring your foot back to its original position and switch sides.

7. Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

This exercise does require a little bit of equipment, but you should be able to find something suitable within your home.

All you need is a solid surface at around knee height, so a box, table, or chair will suffice. Stand with your back to the object and rest the top of your right foot on the surface.

Make sure that you have enough room to squat down without your right knee pushing further forward than your left foot. Lower yourself down so that your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

8. Squat Jump

Another variation on the humble squat, this version sees you add a jump at the end.

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms close to your chest. Lower yourself down into a squat position until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor beneath you.

Once you’ve reached this position, jump up so that your feet leave the ground. Be careful when jumping and landing and try to be as light on your feet as you can. Landing too heavily can hurt your knees, so try to land with a bend to them.

9. Single-Leg Squat

Single-Leg Squat

Stand tall with your feet placed together and your arms folded against your chest. Lift your left foot off the ground while keeping your left leg straight.

Keep this leg straight and in the air as you squat down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly raise yourself back up, then switch sides and repeat.

This exercise can be difficult for some beginners so you may want to work on your quads before attempting it. You can also use a chair to help with your balance.

10. Single-Leg Raise

Lie on your back and place your legs straight out in front of you. Place your right foot flat on the floor so your knee is bent.

Try to keep your core tight and lift your left leg straight into the air. Don’t lock your knee as you move your leg. Do the same for your other leg.

Final Thoughts

There is no need for a gym membership or expensive equipment to work your quads. We hope that these 10 quad exercises using your body weight will help you work out at home. We know you will see the benefits if you commit to a routine!

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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