There is a huge common mistake many people do in their bodyweight leg training and I want, besides discussing it, to also offer a solution. It feels like a general trend in bodyweight training where most practitioners focus way too much on upper-body development and too little on their leg training.
This has consequences and is one of the reasons why so many can’t grow more muscular and stronger legs.
The Common Mistake I Saw in Bodyweight Leg Training
What I spotted out is a massive error in the workout structure overall. And it bothers me a little because, on the opposite pole, I am a lot more focused on training the legs in all the best ways possible than everything else.
My opinion is that all the body parts have to be trained very well but not necessarily equally. I think legs require more dedicated and various training than upper-body muscles.
Proper leg development is about athleticism, power, endurance, maximal strength, and lastly, about aesthetics and size. Training and enhancing the legs with bodyweight exercises require tremendous effort and various training methods (How to Correctly Train The Legs in Calisthenics).
Nonetheless, what’s wrong with the workout structure is that many randomly throw a few bodyweight leg exercises after they just finished training their upper-body muscles. They focused and trained very well their upper-body and foolishly tossed some leg exercises after, for no apparent reason, other than continuing to exercise or do a couple of sets and reps.
This combination isn’t okay unless doing a total body workout is the purpose, and that is about intensity training and other aspects that exclude hypertrophy.
The solution to Your Bodyweight Leg Training Problem
If you did strength or hypertrophy upper-body workout first and essentially, and you want to throw in some leg exercises at the end, it doesn’t work for hypertrophy purposes.
However, if you insist on adding bodyweight leg exercises though, then at least be as committed as you were with training the upper-body muscles. Don’t just do a few squats and lunges at the end. Instead, add more variety and volume, which is extremely necessary to stimulate growth.
What I strongly suggest is to dedicate two days every week to training your legs at full capacity. I repeat, unless you do high-intensity total body workout, or you exercise for health purposes, or to burn a few extra calories, then train your legs with utmost seriosity. You don’t gain size, power, nor strength unless you frequently train, very hard, and include a lot of variety at the same time. Therefore, split your workouts!
Also, please take a look at athletics as well because calisthenics creates a slight limitation in terms of the benefits it can provide. To cover all the essential elements associated with hypertrophy, you need to get creative in your leg training.
List of Essential Bodyweight Leg Exercises:
- Uphill and Flat Short Sprints
- Sprint Intervals
- Trail Running with Elevation Gain
- Plyometric Training: High and Long Jumps, Burpees, Frog Jumps, Box Jumps, etc
- Squat Variations: Pistols, Elevated One-Leg Squats, Sumo, Bulgarian Splits, Lunges, Croach Walk, etc.
These are merely a few bodyweight leg exercises but, in my opinion, most effective to improve and, most especially, grow size and power.