Finding bodyweight exercises for the lower body that are actually challenging enough to continue stimulating gains even for intermediate and advanced trainees is difficult. Even if you’re a beginner, by focusing solely on squat and lunge variations (which is what a lot of bodyweight routines do) you’re really shortchanging your posterior chain, which just isn’t ideal (especially if you’re trying to build an ass).
The general advice in this regard seems to be find a barbell and start squatting and deadlifting, which is great if you have access to that. But if you’re looking for a bodyweight routine, odds are high that that’s not ideal for you.
This is where the Russian curl and glute/hip thrust progressions come in. Both of these are excellent exercises for the posterior chain and (especially the Russian curl) can be challenging even for advanced trainees. Before I recently injured my knee, I was deadlifting 2x bodyweight (not exactly ‘advanced’ but nonetheless) and couldn’t even do half a Russian curl. Similarly, a solid set of single-leg hip thrusts could easily leave me drained.
I haven’t seen a concise progression for either of these exercises anywhere, so I decided to create my own:
I’ve also made my own pistol squat progression, which is similar to others out there, but I’ve tweaked it and added some more difficult variations at the end:
I’ll be doing a post later on how to incorporate these progressions into effective beginner and intermediate/advanced bodyweight routines, but if you’re impatient you can sign up for the app and we’ll build a routine that incorporates all this for you.