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HomeHealth & Fitness30-Day Squat Challenge | POPSUGAR Fitness

30-Day Squat Challenge | POPSUGAR Fitness

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No matter what type of workout class you’re taking — from Pilates reformer to indoor cycling — it’s rare to make it all the way from warm up to cool down without doing at least one squat. And there’s a reason for that: squats are one of the best ways to strengthen your lower body. So, it follows that a squat challenge is a fantastic way to build muscle and feel more fit — plus, challenges are a fun addition to refresh a workout routine that’s starting to feel a little stale.

But first: why are squats so great? They’re compound exercises (so they work several major muscle groups at once), and they’re easy to modify based on ability and fitness level. There are dozens of squat variations too, which is key to making an interesting challenge.

This 30-day squat challenge, designed by global Nike trainer Tara Nicolas, includes bodyweight and weighted squats; if you don’t have a dumbbell, kettlebell, or resistance band on hand, you can simply do a bodyweight squat in place of weighted ones, or hold a bottle of laundry detergent to add on some weight.

“Prioritize good form and keeping your pace up,” Nicolas says. “Extra credit if you can finish the entire round before the clock runs out. Meaning in week four, for example, we want to end with those nine squat jumps rather than in the middle of your split squats on the right.”

Of course, if you’re a total beginner, it’s best to speak with a doctor to make sure you’re able to jump into a challenge. You can also review our guide on how to do squats with proper form, here. We’ve also included a brief explainer on how to do each type of squat, below. And no matter your fitness level, you’re free to modify this challenge to your liking, adding in more rest days as needed or increasing your rep count if you’re feeling adventurous. Get ready to feel strong (and sore)!

PS’s 30-Day Squat Challenge

Week 1

Do five reps of each of the following squats, then repeat. Fit in as many sets as possible in three minutes.

  1. Air squat
  2. Sumo squat
  3. Single leg squat (right side)
  4. Single leg squat (left side)
  5. Squat jump

Week 2

Do five reps of each of the following squats, then repeat, fitting in as many sets as possible in five minutes.

  1. Goblet squat (with a dumbbell or kettlebell)
  2. Split squat to overhead press (right side)
  3. Split squat to overhead press (left side)
  4. Split squat (right side), kettlebell optional
  5. Split squat (left side), kettlebell optional
  6. Squat walk

Week 3

Do seven reps of each of the following squats, then repeat, fitting in as many sets as possible in seven minutes.

  1. Squat with side kick
  2. Sumo squat, dumbbells optional
  3. Single leg squat (right side)
  4. Single leg squat (left side)
  5. Squat jump, light weight optional

Week 4

Do nine reps of each of the following squats, then repeat, fitting in as many sets as possible in seven minutes.

  1. Squat walk
  2. Split squat to overhead press (right side)
  3. Split squat to overhead press (left side)
  4. Split squat (right side), kettlebell optional
  5. Split squat (left side), kettlebell optional
  6. Squat jump, light weight optional

Bonus: Days 29 and 30

If you’re feeling up for it, string all of the squat variations you mastered over the last four weeks together in one sequence. Do five to 10 reps of each, rest for one minute, then repeat once more.

  1. Air squat
  2. Sumo squat
  3. Single leg squat (right side)
  4. Single leg squat (left side)
  5. Squat jump
  6. Goblet squat
  7. Split squat to overhead press (right side)
  8. Split squat to overhead press (left side)
  9. Split squat (right side)
  10. Split squat (left side)
  11. Squat walk
  12. Squat with side kick



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