Doing leg exercises at home is probably a lot easier than you realise. You don’t need a leg press machine, or a stair climber, or a squat bar to fire up those lower-body muscles. All you need is your bodyweight, maybe a chair, and the motivation to put some burn in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and inner thighs.

It probably comes as no surprise that having strong legs can take you far. You need legs that are strong enough to literally carry you through life. Everything from walking up a flight of stairs to lifting your heavy laundry bag is easier when you can put some leg muscle behind it.

Luckily, effective leg exercises don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t even require a gym membership. There are plenty of bodyweight leg exercises you can add to your workout routine to get stronger—and work toward any bigger strength and performance goals you may have, too.

Bodyweight leg exercises are valuable for learning proper form before you add weights to certain moves. Another bonus of bodyweight moves? You have your body all the time and it’s free to use, so you can do exercises anywhere and at anytime!

The bodyweight leg exercises below will help you build strength while also prepping your body to do more complex moves with weights.

1. Reverse Lunges With Knee Lifts:

How to:

  • Start standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Step backwards with your left foot, landing on the ball of your foot and bending both knees to create two 90-degree angles.
  • Push through your right heel to return to standing. As you stand up, thrust your left knee toward your chest.
  • Repeat on the other side.

2. Plié Squat Calf Raises:

How to:

  • Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out, and hands on hips or in front of your chest.
  • Squat until your thighs are parallel to floor.
  • While staying in a squat, lift both heels off the ground and hold for two seconds.
  • Lower heels back down.

3. High Knee Toe Taps:

How to:

  • Stand facing a bench or box (or a chair if that’s all you have), hands on hips or by your sides.
  • Tap your left foot on the bench, then swap legs and tap your right foot, quickly alternating sides.
  • Keep your back straight and chest lifted the entire time.

4. Side Lunges:

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a big step out to your right. Bend your right knee and push your butt back, keeping your left leg straight.
  • Keep your chest lifted and core tight.
  • Repeat on the other side.

5. Single-Leg Calf Raises:

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Raise your left knee to hip level, toes pointed, hands on hips or behind your head (whatever keeps you stable).
  • Keep your core tight as you lift your right heel as high as you can off the floor, balancing on the ball of your foot.
  • Hold for three seconds, then lower the heel back down.
  • Repeat on the other side.

6. Curtsy Lunges:

How to:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step your right leg diagonally behind your left leg and bend your knees to lower into a lunge.
  • Push through your right heel to stand, and bring your right leg back to start.
  • Repeat on the other side.

7. Pistol Squats:

How to:

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Lift your left leg a few inches and extend it forward, foot flexed.
  • Bend your right knee, hinge forward at the hips, and sit back into a squat, while lifting your left leg to hip height.
  • Extend your arms out for balance.
  • Try to bend your knee to 90 degrees if you can. (These are super difficult, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t at first.)
  • Push through your right heel to straighten your leg and return to start.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

8. Side Leg Raises:

How to:

  • Lie on one side with legs out straight and stacked on top of each other.
  • Prop your torso up with your forearm (as shown) or rest your torso flat on the mat.
  • Lift your top leg toward the ceiling in a slow and controlled movement.
  • Make sure to lift from the hip and butt, not your lower back.
  • Return to start.
  • Repeat on the other side.

9. Inner Thigh Leg Raises:

How to:

  • Lie on one side with legs out straight and stacked on top of each other and your torso flat on the mat or propped up on your forearm.
  • Cross your top leg over the bottom leg, bending at the knee, so that your top foot is in front of your bottom knee.
  • Lift your bottom leg toward the ceiling in a slow and controlled movement.
  • Keep your torso stable throughout.
  • Return to start.
  • Repeat on the other side.

10. Inverted Inner Thigh Openers:

How to:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your right leg up, keeping your thighs touching, and extend your leg up toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower your right leg out to the right side as far as you can while keeping your hips and lower back glued to the floor.
  • Bring your leg back to start.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

11. Single-Leg Glute Brides:

How to:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your right leg and straighten out your knee.
  • Keep your thighs parallel to each other.
  • Point your toe toward the ceiling.
  • Push through your heels to lift your hips up while squeezing your glutes.
  • Try to create one diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Pause for one to two seconds, then lower back down.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.