If your reading this article you are probably considering taking a shot at the squat challenge. Maybe you watched a video on the 30 day squat challenge or your friend has asked you to do it with them? That’s great and all but your here because you want to know ‘Does the squat challenge work?’
Before we dive in let’s take a look at some things you might want to consider
- You can get started anytime – Just pick a day and go for it
- It’s Inexpensive – No equipment just you and your legs
- Squats are awesome – Squats hit big muscle groups which is great for progressing
- Motivation can be a problem – Doing the same exercise can get boring
- Your only working your lower body – Mix it up with some other exercises to get better results
- It can be tough – If your a beginner daily squatting is going to be a shock to the system
One to watch
- If you have no experience with this exercise make sure you squat with proper form. Bad movement patterns can damage your joints, back, hips and knees.
Not sure if your form is correct? Check out this video:
Most of us know that squats are great for helping to tone your glutes and legs, all the while burning some serious calories. But where did the squat challenge come from and why is it so popular and or course does it work?
Where can I get the lowdown on the squat challenge?
There are many sites that promote their own versions of the squat challenge. Two of the more popular choices are shape.com and 30dayfitnesschallenges.com. Both have variations with different types of squats and sequences but they all revolve around the same method of 30 days and a lot of squats. We tried the one from shape.com and found it to be pretty good all round.
The Science bit
A recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health details a clinical test of the squat challenge.
They took 19 healthy volunteers with an average age of 28 and put them through the challenge.
To really get some insight into the advantages and disadvantages of different squat types and patterns they split up the participants into smaller groups. Each group tried a different variation of the squat including the single leg or pistol squat, the standard double leg squat and other variations such as with and without a swiss ball.
All participants had detailed measurements and examinations before and after the challenge.
The results are in
The study found that the single leg or pistol squats were far more effective at improving the conditioning of the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. These are two of the three main muscles in the rear.
Including the swiss ball in the routine seems to have provided even better results. You might conclude from this that adding equipment to the challenge such as a kettlebell or barbell may accelerate or multiply the results.
How did we find the squat challenge?
So after all of that, I thought I would give it a go ourselves. So I kicked off with week one.
- Week 1- Doing 50 squats in one day right from the start can be a shock. After the first couple of days, you can really feel the muscle soreness and the fatigue.
- Week 2- The squat pattern becomes easier and it takes longer to feel the burn. A great sign of improvement but still tiring.
- Week 3- Really started to feel stronger and complete the higher number of squats with ease.
- Week 4- Having completed five times the amount of squats on day 30 as on day 1 I felt pretty good. My squats were deeper and I moved better.
Other things I noticed after the 30-day squat challenge:
- My legs and butt did have some shape change and felt stronger and more toned
- I noticed some reduction in body fat and my waist line
- Overall I felt better and also felt ready to take on the next challenge and keep going
So Does the squat challenge work?
Put simply. Yes it does! While its not going to change your body or fitness overnight, it’s a great way to get started without joining a gym or spending lots of money on equipment. You can easily pump up the volume after your first challenge by adding a kettlebell or a range or other exercises to your routine. Give it a shot and let us know below how you got on.
Mastered the squat and want to take on a new challenge? Check out our weighted pull ups guide here!