26 Sep 2019

The 30-day squat challenge

Do you like a fitness challenge? Challenges are a great way to work on your fitness, because they give you an achievable short-term goal.

Challenges are a great way to work on your fitness, because they give you an achievable short-term goal to keep you focused.

The motivation to lose weight or get fitter is obviously no bad thing, but without something clear and defined to work towards, it’s all too easy to skip a session or two then slide back into inactivity.  

Why the squat is such a great exercise

The squat works every major muscle in your lower body, so it has many benefits.

It is is one of the primary compound exercises, meaning that you use more than one joint to perform the exercise. It places significant strain on the quads, hamstrings and glutes. It also strengthens the joints, ligaments and tendons around the knee and ankle.

RELATED: 6 simple exercises to tone up your glutes

Since the move works so much of the body, performing it burns a lot of calories, aiding your weight loss pursuits. It also boosts your natural production of testosterone and growth hormones which is really important in your 40s and 50s.

RELATED: Testosterone - that's the male hormone right?

The challenge 

Before you start the challenge, make sure you have mastered the movement pattern and range of motion correctly. 

Practise by performing the bodyweight squat. Keep your core tight and place your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outward slightly. Slowly lower your body until your quads are parallel to the floor (or even a little lower), keeping your chest up and back straight.

Perform the prescribed amount of air squats each day. Try to do them all in one set, but if you do need to take a breather, try not to pause again for at least ten more reps. It’ll be tough, it’ll burn, but you’ll have buns of almost literal steel by the end of it.

Ready to get started? Here's your 30-day squat challenge:

Day 150
Day 255
Day 360
Day 4Rest
Day 570
Day 675
Day 780
Day 8Rest
Day 9100
Day 10105
Day 11110
Day 12Rest
Day 13130
Day 14135
Day 15140
Day 16Rest
Day 17150
Day 18155
Day 19160
Day 20Rest
Day 21180
Day 22185
Day 23190
Day 24Rest
Day 25220
Day 26225
Day 27230
Day 28Rest
Day 29240
Day 30250

Once you’ve done the 30-day challenge, try to keep it up by squatting at least twice a week.

Think of hovering over a toilet!

Adding weights to the 30-day squat challenge

Another way to increase the intensity and challenge of the squat is to add a weight - a kettlebell, dumbbell or a barbell.

When you can comfortably perform multiple sets of 15-20 reps you can progress to goblet squats. This is where you hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest as you perform the move. This adds further resistance and helps you keep your back straight. When you’re happy with your performance here, progress to adding a barbell.

Adding a barbell means that the squat also becomes a full-body move, because you have to brace your core and contract your back muscles to keep your torso in the optimal position. In fact, it’s essential to create whole-body tension to make sure that you complete the move with good form.  

Good luck!

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