The 30 day squat challenge: Know the risks, reap the benefits

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    30 day squat challenge

    The 30 day squat challenge will help you develop muscle and tone up your legs, glutes, abs and lower back muscles. It is a good cardio workout as well! (Shutterstock)

    The 30 day squat challenge is exactly what the title implies: one month (30 days, no using short months!) of nothing but squats. Of course, you can do the 30 day challenge along with other exercises, but the purpose of the routine is to tone your legs, booty and lower body while you strive to reach an increasingly difficult goal.

    SEE ALSO: 30-day ab challenge: Maximize results avoiding these risks

    30-day ab challenge: Maximize results avoiding these risks

    After all, weight loss and strengthening — two of the many benefits of squats — is great, but the satisfaction of completing a challenge makes it even more worthwhile.

    How to do the 30 day squat challenge

    The squat challenge is simple to explain:

    On day one, do 50 squats consecutively. After that, each day you do squats, increase the number of repetitions by 5 and then rest (do NO leg exercises) every fourth day. The day after each rest-day, you should add 10 more reps than the last day you did your squats. The final 8 days of exercise, increase reps by 20 instead of 10.

    At the end of 30 days, you should be doing approximately 250 squats.

    But why do squats? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to go out and jog for a few miles?

    According to Dr. Mercola’s Peak Fitness, squats are not an exercise which should be ignored. In fact, squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting balance, mobility, fat burning, and body-wide muscle development. A complete workout in a simple movement.

    Dr. Mercola explains functional exercises are the ones that help you perform real-life activities, and squats are one of the natural movements people have been doing since they could walk upright.

    Squats are the perfect exercise to shape your buttocks and legs as well. They also help with abdominals and lower back muscles. So if you want to be fit and lean, squats are the way to go!

    Doing squats helps increase your muscle mass (the more muscle you develop, the more fat you burn), which can help the body burn 50-70 more calories a day. So gaining 10 pounds of muscle through functional exercises like squats will help the body burn 500-700 additional calories.

    Because you are building muscle, make sure you consume protein before and after your workout. Follow these nutritional guides.

    Download our spreadsheet so you can keep track of your progress.
    Click here.

    30 day squat challenge

    How to properly do the 30 day squat challenge

    Take a picture of your legs and glutes on day one, so you can compare your progress.

    30 day squat challenge

    To reap all the benefits of the 30 day squat challenge, you must keep perfect form, as pictured here. The lower you go, the better but don’t force it. (Shutterstock)

    While the principle behind the 30 day squat challenge is very simple, the way you chose to do the squats involved might not be.

    Keep in mind that you can hurt yourself doing squats if you do not adopt the proper form and you do not follow nutritional and warm up guidelines. You may also be wasting your time with the repetitions, if you don’t know what you are doing.

    SEE ALSO: A quick and effective workout for killer legs

    The risks associated with performing squat exercises improperly include knee damage (strains or sprains), lower back strain (very painful and debilitating), stress fractures on the lower back and shins, herniated discs and muscle tears.

    For the perfect squat, recommends taking a wide stance.

    Even though squatting is usually more narrow, for the purpose of muscle strengthening, a wide squat—with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart—is ideal. Not only will this stance work the same muscles as a narrower one, it will work the glutes and the quadriceps without putting undue stress on the knees.

    Try your squat with wide and narrow stance and feel which muscles you are working the most with each variation. You can choose the one that feels best for you or do a combination of both. If you feel too much pressure on your back or knees, modify form.

    The basic steps for performing a squat with the lowest risk of injury are:

    • Warm up and stretch before exercising. Stretch afterwards as well.
    • Assume the stance you wish to do your squats in (wide or narrow or combined).
    • Keep your back straight and your knees centered over your feet.
    • Go down as if you wanted to touch your heels with your glutes, pushing your glutes out.
    • Bend down with the knees, hips and ankles until your thighs are at a 90 degree angle to your calves. If your knees go further than your feet, you are doing it wrong and might hurt yourself.
    • Keep your back straight but leaning forward while your head is aligned with your back and you look straight forward (not up or down to the floor).
    • Breathe in as you lower your body and out as you return to a standing position.
    • Do not rush it. It is better to do it properly than fast.

    SEE ALSO: Benefits of squats: Add challenge, avoid risks to maximize results

    You can do all repetitions at once, or break it down into sets of 12 or 15 reps, rest for a minute and then continue until you reach the goal of the day.

    Once you have perfected the squat form, you can work through the 30 day squat challenge.

    Remember to mix the squats in with a regular workout routine and a healthy diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight during the process.


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