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Drop it Like a Squat: The 30 Day Squat Challenge

Have you ever wanted to start a fitness journey – or begin training again after a break – but felt unsure about where to start? Do you want to get ‘back on the horse’ but feel overwhelmed by the equipment and classes on offer? The 30 Day Squat Challenge is a simple training programme that aims to improve your physique over the course of single month using nothing but bodyweight squat exercises. Challenge yourself to commit, execute and achieve for as little as 30 days and you’ll see results.


The 30 Day Squat Challenge is a low-intensity, high-volume bodyweight squat programme for beginners. This means it’s all about doing lots of repetitions in a short space of time to achieve a complete workout.

It may seem obvious, but don’t undertake this programme if you have an existing injury in the lower body or back – it may get worse. Don’t try the challenge if any of the movements cause you pain – especially pain in your joints. Don’t try the programme if you’re struggling with any form of heart disease and consult your doctor before starting if you have any concerns or are pregnant.

It’s also important to remember this is a general fitness programme and is inappropriate for beginners in strength and conditioning. The 30 Day Squat Challenge is great for people getting into fitness and achieving results with no prior gym knowledge. But it’s not going to be effective for a seasoned veteran in weight training or field sports. If you have over a year of training, especially training with weights or high-volume, give this challenge a miss.


The 30 Day Squat Challenge comes in two different forms: volume and variation. The first is a challenge where difficulty grows by performing ever increasing repetitions, with a rest day every 4th day. This adds volume in a linear fashion, which means every day you’ll be performing extra repetitions. By increasing the reps in this fashion, the programme should feel equally difficult throughout and improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness as you go along.

The second version of the squat challenge focuses on mixing squat variations with increased volume. This means over the 30 day, the type of bodyweight squat you do will change or the amount of repetitions will be increased. Or both! This version works from the classic bodyweight squat towards more complicated and challenging variations. Not only will this stop you from getting bored, but allows you to increase the difficulty and get the most out of bodyweight movements, instead of needing to bring weights into the mix.


The first squat challenge we’re going to look at is the basic volume progression. This starts with a very small number of daily squats and builds up to as many as 250. You’d have to try really hard to NOT get fitter with this programme. This doesn’t require any fancy variations or unnecessary complexity – keep it simple, perform more air squats and get fitter.


The second variation uses more complicated squat and single-legged movements, so be sure to familiarise yourself with each of the movements and practice them before you start the challenge. As we mentioned above, you need to be able to perform all of the movements without pain to be able to follow this challenge. However, the addition of new exercises will challenge your muscles and co-ordination further, promoting new growth and progress.


Getting the most out of this challenge isn’t about trying harder, performing double the number of reps or making really loud noises during your workout (because that’s a bit weird). You’ll get the most from this challenge by paying attention to your recovery. This means a few small lifestyle changes can really boost your short and long-term results and stop you from feeling so sore too!


Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This means getting plenty of high quality protein, controlling the quality of your carbs and fats and eating lots of nutrient dense vegetables and other plant foods. This will increase your recovery ability, build muscle and burn unwanted fat.


Drink more water! This isn’t just important when you’re working out as proper hydration is key to staying healthy and recovering well. Water is used in almost every bodily process, so make sure you have enough of it.


You need to sleep more and sleep better to make the most of the squat challenge. Sleeping well means getting at least 8 hours in a cool dark room without interruption or disturbance. Try a wind-down routine and set a sleep alarm, as well as a waking alarm. Ready, set, stop!


If you’re new to training or have taken a long time off, you’re going to experience muscle soreness and tightness much like the first time you ever stepped in a gym. Mobility and stretching combat tightness and soreness, keeping you ready for performance and progress.



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