Unless you’ve lived under a rock since the invention of Instagram and fitness influencers, you would be very familiar with the concept of doing a squat challenge for 30 days. It’s all over the Internet and it regularly trends on Pinterest as well. But is it all hype or does it actually work? Let’s find what it is and see if it’s the best option for you.
If you are here for the downloadable PDF, scroll down to get it.
So, what’s the 30-day squat challenge?
It’s essentially a 3-day workout which involves a certain amount of reps each day. The idea is to start with 50 squats a day and work your way up to 200 even 300 by the end of the challenge. Doing that is meant to strengthen the muscles in your lower body and also your core and back.
Sounds good but does the squat challenge actually work?
The short answer is: Yes but there is a BUTT (no pun intended) – you need to do the reps every day and stick to the challenge for the whole 30 days. Otherwise, you are better off walking to Starbucks for your skinny latte. The challenging part is finding the strength and motivation to do it for more than a week.
If you are new to exercising or not used to working out your lower body, you are also likely to struggle to walk for the first couple of days. (beware!)
So what does the 30-day squat challenge do for your body?
Squatting is good for your entire body not just for your glutes (butt) and quads (thighs). It’s a compound movement which also works your hips and calves as well as your core and back muscles. It’s also credited with improving digestion in women.
Let’s play a little guessing game and find out if the squat challenge is the right one for you:
Your butt is not as firm as it used to be and you want to shape up your glutes
Squatting is the perfect exercise if you want to tone your butt and thighs because it targets both muscle groups directly. In order to see any results and minor improvements in their appearance, you need to commit to at least the length of the challenge.
It goes without saying but you must also learn how to perform the exercise correctly. Otherwise you are not likely to target the glutes and hamstrings, and risk an injury. Scroll down to watch the video on how to do squats for beginners.
If you think that squatting for 30 days will give you a Kardashian butt, you are wrong. I’m sorry to bust that myth for you but it will take a lot more than that to look like any of them. Sorry.
You feel a bit sluggish and you want to improve your general fitness
Doing any form of exercise regularly over a period of time is likely to improve your general fitness levels. Doing squats 5 days a week is no exception. If you start the challenge with that end result in mind, the rest of the benefits on this list will follow.
It’s important to be realistic in your expectations and goal-setting. Many people go in expecting too much too soon and end up disappointed halfway through the challenge. You are not likely to lose too much weight and you are definitely not likely to develop a huge butt and massive thighs. Your general fitness will improve. Don’t be surprised if you feel light and energised towards the end of the challenge.
You want to sign up for that fun run and you want to train to prevent an injury on the day
Anyone who sets out on a long run without training first is prone to injury. If you are new to fitness and working out but you still want to do the fun run, start with the squat challenge. It will tone and strengthen the following muscles:
- Gluteus maximus, minimus and medius
- Hip flexors
As I mentioned earlier, squatting is also beneficial for strengthening the muscles of your core and back.
Your favourite jeans are a bit tight and you want to lose some weight
When you squat, you engage a few large muscle groups. That results in burning more calories then when you exercise just one small muscle. So, it’s quite reasonable to expect to lose some weight as long as you commit to doing the squat challenge for 30 days.
If you think that you can squat and only burn the fat on your stomach and thighs, think again. Unfortunately our bodies don’t follow that logic and you can’t spot-burn fat. In fact, losing the fat in those two parts can be a challenge in itself.
It also turns out that burning calories is not the only way to lose fat. A research team from the Harvard Medical School have made an interesting discovery about fat-burning. It’s to do with a hormone which is released during exercising.
You feel a little bit bloated and you want to improve your digestion
A little known fact about squats is that they improve your digestion. The main reason being is that when you perform the exercise you also increase the speed at which bodily fluids run through your body. The end result of that is a more efficient small intestine and better digestion.
How to perform a squat?
The easiest to learn how to squat correctly is to imagine that you are sitting on a chair and then getting back up. The trick is also to never let your knees to go over your toes. Meke sure that your butt doesn’t stick out and keep your back straight.
Practice makes perfect. Watch this video to see how it’s done correctly. Make sure you are comfortable performing the exercise correctly before you begin the challenge.
If you think that you are going to get bored from doing basic squats every day, you can introduce some weights – dumbbell or a kettlebell. If that’s not enough variety for you, consider these squat variaions.
- Single-leg squat – lift one of your feet above the floor and squat
- Sumo squat – assume the traditional sumo position and perform the squats standing with your feet apart wider than hip-width
- Pistol squat – stand with feet shoulder-width apart, both arms in front of you parallel to the floor, lift one of your legs up until it’s parallel with your arms and squat slowly until you reach your ankle, then go slowly back up
- Pulse squat – do a couple of short moves up and down as you are in the lower position of the squat before you proceed to get back up
As always, make sure you learn how to perform these variations before you start doing them. If your body is telling to stop, then stop. Don’t push yourself too hard if it feels wrong.
Do the squat challenge for 20 days – conclusion
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to do a squat challenge for 30 days. The physical benefits are likely to be the main attraction. Improving your general fitness and strength is likely to make you more confident about your appearance.
Get the downloadable 30-Day Squat Challenge PDF below. Feel free to print it and track your progress.
If you have any tips for completing the challenge or staying motivated for the 30 days, please feel free to share them with the rest of the readers in the comments section below.
- How to squat? Effects of various stance widths, foot placement angles and level of experience on knee, hip and trunk motion and loading https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6050697/
- Major fat-burning discovery – Harvard researchers discover a hormone released by exercise