These No-Machine Leg Exercises Will Help You Get The Most Out Of A Quick Workout

Getting to the gym every day can be an impossible task when you’re juggling work, friends, and other obligations. But most of us still wish we could fit in a solid workout even if we don’t have enough time to pair it with a shower and a drive to and from the gym. I spoke with personal trainer Jess Stadler of about the workouts that are the most beneficial when you’re short on time, plus how to fit in some great leg workouts even on your slower days or when recovering from an injury.

It’s all about plyometrics

“My usual go-to when I want to get an efficient workout is to incorporate plyometrics,” Stadler says.

Plyometric workouts are exercises during which muscles exert their maximum force in short bursts of time, known as “power movements.” Stadler’s three favorite plyometric exercises are Bulgarian lunges, single-leg dead lifts (with an added jump), and jump squats. “Adding that power movement will get your heart rate up and engage the muscle to build more strength when you’re short on time,” Stadler says.

Plyometrics are something that take time to get used to. If you rush into a plyometric workout, you risk injury from the quick bursts of force and movement. But if you’re used to doing the workouts and want to add something extra, incorporate a resistance band. “Adding a band around your thighs will activate the glute muscle,” says Stadler. For an even more intense workout, incorporate dumbbells along with the band for a routine that will challenge your strength while still utilizing those power movements.

If you’re taking it slow, the band is your best tool

If you’re recovering from an injury and can’t spend hours at the gym but still want to get a sufficient workout, Stadler says a resistance band is your most helpful piece of equipment. “If you ever have injuries, or your week has been crazy and you just want to slow it down, I always advise people to do slow and controlled movements and use a band,” she says. “If you’re not already activating the glutes properly, adding a band will instantly turn them on.”

She recommends bridges, lateral walks, and monster walks to train the leg muscles without risking injury.

Stadler’s absolute favorite piece of workout equipment is either the resistance band or a resistance cable. “I’ve really tried to include the band in a lot of my workouts,” she says. “It just adds an extra challenge, and you can use it anywhere you go—at the gym, at home, or with weights.”

When she wants a quick burnout, she’ll grab a set of resistance cables. “You’re not only strengthening the muscle but also holding a contraction. It’s such a great way to train that muscle and focus on that mind-to-muscle connection without hurting yourself.”

To learn more about Stadler’s workout programs, visit


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