You don't need weights to build stronger legs — use this six-move bodyweight workout instead
This session strengthens your legs and core without any equipment, so you can do it wherever you are
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You might think you need heavy weights to strengthen your legs and core, but that's not the case. This workout challenges your lower body and calls your midsection into action using just six bodyweight moves.
The session has been devised by personal trainer Alice Liveing (opens in new tab) as a "travel workout", with no equipment needed to give it a go. So, whether you're at home, at the gym, or on vacation, you can always get your fitness fix.
If you're doing it at home, using a yoga mat (opens in new tab) can be handy for providing some extra grip on slippery floors, but this is a bonus rather than a necessity.
The workout is a circuit of six moves performed back to back. Rest as little as possible between movements, and try aiming for three rounds in total for a 15-minute workout. You can also increase or decrease the total number of rounds depending on your fitness level and the time you have available.
Whether you're new to these exercises or could use a refresher, it's worth practicing your technique. You can follow Liveing's demonstrations on her Instagram post (opens in new tab) to perfect your form before you start and ensure you get the most from your training.
Watch: Alice Liveing's six-move lower body workout on Instagram (opens in new tab)
Liveing says this workout is "lower-body focused", and she cleverly manipulates the mechanics of popular exercises like squats and lunges to make sure your legs are put through their paces.
For example, the one-and-a-half squat (opens in new tab) increases the amount of time your muscles (particularly your glutes, quads, and hamstrings) spend under tension, making it a more demanding variation of a standard, unweighted squat.
The lateral lunge and low surrender are also unilateral exercises, meaning they work one side of your body at a time. By doing this, they immediately become more challenging as the working leg supports more of your bodyweight.
However, while this is a lower-body focused workout, your legs aren't the only part of your body that will feel the effects. Several of the moves also challenge your balance and stability, engaging your core as a result.
For example, the table-top step-out and thread the needle movements will call your core muscles into action to hold your position and support your spine. Liveing also says you can add up to a 1km run between rounds to raise your heart rate.
As it is a strength training session, you'll want to allow your legs to recover the following day, so consider an upper-body workout (opens in new tab) or a lower-intensity activity like starting our Pilates for beginners plan (opens in new tab).
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.
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