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5 Compound Lower Body Exercises Using Nothing By Your Bodyweight

You don't need your weights today.

No weights!

But if you want to use weights... you can with all of these exercises.

These compound - multi-joint... multi-modality... leg exercises will take your ho-hum workout and turn it into a:

  • Bullet point

    Calorie burning

  • Bullet point

    Muscle sculpting

  • Bullet point

    Coordination boosting

... powerhouse of a workout.

Are you ready?

Let's get into it already.

Squat Lunges

Kindal is starting in an athletic position ready to squat down. Her body is pre-engaged and ready to move.
Kindal drops down into a balanced squat but does not go down too far because the lunge is following immediately.
Kindal is coming out of the squat but does not come all the way up. She stops only a few inches from straight legs.
Kindal immediately drops back into a reverse lunge keeping her torso tall and upper body ready to move.
Kindal comes out of the lunge but does not come all the way out of the lunge to standing. She stops short because the squat follows.
Kindal immediately goes into the next squat and this entire time her legs never lose tension.

Squat lunges are an amazing compound leg exercise.

You get the total muscle engagement from your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Here's how to do squat lunges.

Step 1

Start like you would before any squat.

If you don't know your ideal squat stance... start with shoulder distance apart. Don't go too wide (it's a common mistake).

The key I want you working on now is slightly twisting your feet into the ground... without actually letting your feet twist out.

This twist action will force you to activate your glute medius muscles... and it will help ensure your knees track to the outside of your feet.

Step 2

Squat down, leading with your hips.

Remember... you want your knees to track forward as you keep your balance over your entire foot.

Look at the picture of the bottom of my squat. A good squat is just as much about mobility as it is about strength.

For this exercise I shoot to get just below parallel for squat depth.

Step 3

Here's where things get interesting.

As you come out of your squat... you are not going to come all the way up so your legs are straight.

Rather as you come up... and as your hips come above parallel by a few inches... you'll immediately step back into a reverse lunge.

This is a smooth transition where your legs are staying engaged the entire time.

Step 4

As you come out of your lunge... the same "rule" applies.

Rather than standing straight up from your lunge... just as your back legs comes forward... drop down into your next squat.

You can think of the squat lunges almost like squat pulses. You're legs are bent the entire time and engaged... which means your strength endurance is getting worked really hard.

Kindal squating and working out hard to get out of a workout rut. Kindal squating and working out hard to get out of a workout rut.

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Lunges with Kick

Kindal drops back into a good reverse lunge keeping her torso tall and weight mostly over her front foot.
Kindal fires from the bottom of her reverse lunge and straight into a strong kick while maintaining balance.

This exercise and the next are very similar.

However, I am going to introduce you to two ways to make a reverse lunge more dynamic and more "compound."

You'll be able to easier add these variations into your workouts.

Let's start with the reverse lunge with kick.

Step 1

Stand as you would when starting any lunge and take a large step back into the bottom of a reverse lunge.

**Try to take a larger than normal step**.

This will help get your back hip more into extension (when your knee goes behind the front of your hips).

Hip extension is great for stretching all the muscles that flex your hips... these are the same muscles that get tight from sitting all day long.

Make sure your front knee does not move backward too much. I prefer to keep it position in-front of your ankle.

Step 2

From the bottom of the reverse lunge... drive off your back foot as you press into your front foot.

Push with a little more power than you expect because you're going to kick your back leg all the way forward and do a kick in front of you.

Unless you need to (because you lost balance) you will not put your back foot on the ground before you kick.

Step 3

From the kick... immediately bring your leg all the way back into the next reverse lunge.

Remember... the goal is to not let your leg touch the ground until you're in this reverse lunge.

So the exercise is fast... smooth... and it's going to put a lot of stress on the leg that's on the ground the entire time.

There are so many small tweaks you can make... so let's make a tweak during the next exercise.

Curtsey Lunge with Balance

Kindal reverse lunges back but crosses her legs into a curtsey and she still keeps her body weight mostly over her front foot. This does torque the knee a little.
Kindal fires from the bottom of the lunge lifting her knee as high as it can go and holds it briefly to test her balance and mind to muscle communication.

A curtsey lunge will test your knees joint mobility and add in balance for your entire leg.

You'll quickly see with this lunge variation how your coordination (brain to muscle connection) is going to be tested.

Step 1

Stand as if you were about to do a reverse lunge.

When you step back into your reverse lunge... rather than step straight back... step back diagonally so the leg that goes back crosses past the front leg.

You're essentially doing a large curtsey.

intensity tip

Listen to your knees here. You will be torquing your knee (twisting it).

If you have tight leg muscles... you may feel your knees. Listen to your body and don 't push it too hard.

The more you cross your legs... the more torque your front knee will sustain... so you are in control.

Step 2

From the bottom of the curtsey lunge... pressing into your back toe and drive out of the lunge.

You are going to return your hips to a square (front facing) position.

And rather than step your foot back to the ground... keep driving the leg forward and up in front of you with your knee driving as high as you can.

Your leg can be bent... you're just trying to pause for a split second and find balance with your leg as high as you can.

Step 3

From being balanced at the top... step your leg all the way back into the next curtsey lunge.

Your goal is to never let your curtsey lunge leg touch the ground unless it's in the bottom position of the lunge.

This will severely fatigue your font leg that is on the ground and that's what makes this version of the lunge compound and perfect for strength, control, and burning calories.

Prisoner Squat with Knee Drive

Kindal steps all the way back and puts her knee on the ground. Make sure you don't step too far back.
Kindal brings her other knee back so she is now kneeling.
Kindal steps her first leg back forward ready to press in and create some power.
Kindal drives off of her front foot and stands up while driving her back leg as high as she can get it and staying in a balanced position. This works the brain to muscle communication and coordination.

Make sure you read my in-depth [breakdown of the prisoner squat](/post). That post will go into a lot more detail.. but let me show you why this is a great compound leg exercise.

Step 1

Start standing like you're about to go back into a reverse lunge.

Step back into a reverse lunge... but don't take a wide step back. You just want to step back and go down to your knee.

I want to stress... step back... don't crinkle down.

Step 2

Step your other leg back and you are now on both knees.

Step one of your legs back out front. I try to always alternate the leg I step back and step forward... this keeps things even, but more importantly so you're not just repeating the same motion over and over again.

Step 3

Press into your front foot to start the drive back up to standing.

This is important... keep your back foot's toes tucked. This will allow you to press into your toes so you can use them to create more force forward and up to standing.

form tip

Watch your torso when you're coming back up.

A lot of women struggle getting up from the kneeling position to the point there their torso will collapse forward and they're forced to put their hands on their thighs to get up.

If you find you can't get up from the bottom of a prisoner squat... ditch the weights and use a belt or band attached to a door knob.

This will allow you to pull a little with your upper body and keep your upper body tall.

Keep practicing with this and you'll get stronger and stronger. Give yourself the time you need to see results!

Kindal squating and working out hard to get out of a workout rut. Kindal squating and working out hard to get out of a workout rut.

have your

results stopped?

and now you're...

stuck in a

workout rut?

Get daily workouts for 14 days
and break free
from your workout rut!
Send Me The Workouts!

Hip Switch With Butt Squeeze

Kindal is in the start position with her hips rotated. One hip is opening laterally and the other is internally rotated closed.
Kindal windshield wiper her knees up and over. This is the middle position. Her feet do not move. This is a straight rotation.
Kindal completes the windshield wiper over and she is in the same position as the beginning but with her legs reversed.
Kindal squeezes her butt and comes to a kneeling position. By squeezing the butt she opens her hips and creates a hip external rotation.

When you do this exercise bodyweight... it's far more mobility focused.

But by doing exercises like this that improve your hip movement you accomplish two things:

One... you'll be able to increase your range of motion during strength exercises.

Two... with increased range of motion, you'll be able to work more muscle and increase strength faster.

Plus this exercise is a lot of fun.

Step 1

The pictures are going to help with this so much. Your initial position is very difficult to explain... but let's give it a try.

Sit on your butt with your legs bent.

Let your legs fall off to one side while keeping your feet in the same place.

The bottom of one foot should be nearly touching the top of the knee on the other leg.

Step 2

Ideally... without using your hands for support...

Keeping your feet in the same location... rotate your knees up and over to the other side.

This mimics a very low squat position without needing ankle mobility.

Once there come up to your knees and squeeze your butt hard. This will open the from of your hips.

From here you will just sit back down... and repeat on the other side. Rotating and coming up to squeeze your butt is one rep.

form tip

To help get into these positions... place your hands behind you.

This will let you lean back a little and create more room for your legs to windshield wiper back and forth.

As you practice and try some of these tough positions... your mobility will naturally increase.

From here you can play with holding a weight. It's fun and very challenging.

Ready To Learn How To Workout More Efficiently, Smarter... And Harder?

These exercises are so easy to add into any workout.

And I'm willing to bet you have not done the hip switch with butt squeeze exercise before.

If you enjoy learning new exercises that will help you burn more fat and increase your strength...

You should join one of my premium programs like FWW LIVE or Habit.

Think about it like this...

I will design and plan your fitness life for you.

You won't have to stress about what type of workout to do...

You don't have to consistently second guess yourself... wondering if you're doing the right thing...

You'll know.

You'll know because you have me planning and helping you perfect your version of the ideal fitness lifestyle.

FWW LIVE is my private online personal training group.

It's a small membership where members get personalized access to me every day.

You can join a FREE 14 day trial of FWW LIVE and try it before you buy it. But if there are no membership spots open... it's closed. So don't wait!

Habit is a collection of my strength training workout style called MicroHITS .

Each program is 30 days long and focuses on one particular goal or style of training.

If you have any questions about these exercises, DM me.

Follow me on my social accounts where I'm constantly giving the small tips and tricks to help you succeed with your fitness life.

Kindal squating and working her way through a tough metabolic strength workout

not getting results? and now you're stuck in a workout rut?

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