Squat Challenge Essentials

squat challengeAre you trying to get your body ready for summer? Have you been surfing the internet for the perfect squat challenge? Squats are a great exercise to get your body ready for your favorite summer bathing suit. It is important to make sure you pick a squat challenge that is healthy for your body type and fitness level.

Doing a large number of consecutive squats might look impressive, but it is not the best way to stay fit. It is important to start where your level of fitness is and work up to harder exercises. The best squat challenge is when you can take the exercise to the next level to improve your health. Remember you want to create a routine that challenges you, and also makes it easy for you to keep it up and get fit for life, not just summer.

Why Squats?

Squats are a great exercise to have in your routine. They engage a large portion of your core and leg muscles. They are en exercise that will help you keep an active lifestyle as you get older. We use squats more than you might think. They are important when you are getting in and out of a chair or picking something up off the floor. The older you get makes these everyday movements a challenge. It’s important to start doing squats with your regular exercise routine to make sure you can continue to do everyday tasks.

Doing a squat challenge is a perfect introduction into a healthier lifestyle. Use a squat challenge to form a habit of exercising regularly and eating healthy. Completing that initial challenge will show you that you can do it. It will give you a boost of confidence that will help you stick with your exercise routine and healthy eating habits.

The Benefits of Squats

Adding squats into your routine will help you continue to do the things you love as you get older. Squats engage your legs in a full range of motion which strengthens and builds muscles. Squats are a great exercise for sports and also your daily activities. Because it engages your leg muscles it also helps strengthen your knees. You use all your muscles around your knee when doing squats. This is important to keep your knees healthy and strong. Because your leg muscles and knees will be stronger you will be able to gain more flexibility when doing your squat exercises. The lower you can go in a squat the better it is for you. Adding squats to your workout routine will help you build muscle and be healthy.

The Muscles

Knowing what muscles your body is using to so an exercise will help insure you are doing it properly. If you are feeling pain in an area not listed you may have bad form. Go over all the muscle areas as you do your squat to make sure that area of your body is where it is supposed to be. Here are the muscles that you will be strengthening when doing a squat challenge with proper form.

  1. Primary Muscles
    • Gluteus maximus (Glutes)
    • Quadriceps (Quads)
    • Hamstrings
  2. Secondary Muscles
    • Erector Spine (Back)
    • Transvers abdominus (Abdominal)
    • Gluteus medius/minimus (Butt)
    • Adductors (Hips/thigh)
    • Gastrocnemius (Calf muscle)

squat challenge

Form

In order to gain all the benefits from a squat challenge and avoid injuries you need to have good form. Learning the proper way to perform the squat is essential. You want to start by standing up straight with your legs shoulder width apart. You do not want to have your toes pointing inward. You can rotate your legs outwards a bit if it is more comfortable for you. The most important things to remember is that your knees should track with your legs. Imagine that there is a line going from your knees straight out towards your toes. You want that imaginary line to come between your big toe and secondary toe. This will keep your knees aligned with your legs as you squat.

If you have trouble with stability start with your legs a little wider than your hips. The wider your stance is, the more stability you will have. You can also do the opposite and bring your legs closer together if you want to challenge your balance and core muscles.

Once you are in your stance you want to squat down as if you were going to sit back in a chair. You want to bring your hips down as low as you can. They should at least be level with your knees; if you can go lower that’s great! Remember to keep those knees in line with your toes. You don’t want them pointing in or out.

Keep your spine neutral when you are squatting down. Don’t arch your back or bend at your stomach. You want to keep your spine straight as you squat down. Exhale when going down and inhale when coming back up. Try not to rock onto your toes or heals. You want your weight evenly distributed between your toes and heel. With good form you will get the full benefit of doing a squat challenge.

squat challenge

Body Weight Squat

The body weight squat is the standard squat form. If you have decided to do a squat challenge you found online, many of them only use your body as the weight. The goal is to do as many repetitions as you can and build up to two hundred fifty repetitions a day. These squat challenges usually start at fifty squats on the first day. Remember it is important to pick a squat challenge that is right for your level of fitness and overall health. If you haven’t been doing squats, or any type of exercising, you should start with a smaller number of repetitions. Try starting with ten repetitions a day and do a few sets to help you build up your muscles. For instance, you can do three different squat variations using only your body weight at ten reps each.

Keep your head straight, shoulders back, and toes pointed out. The most important thing to do for a squat challenge is get the form correct. Take the time to practice in a mirror and keep the reps low so that your form doesn’t get sloppy as you go.

squat challenge

Dumbbell Squat

Once you have mastered the body weight squat you can up the intensity and build more muscles by adding in some weight. Remember to keep the reps low and change up the type of squat you are doing. There are many different variations of squats for you to choose from. You can also choose to use a dumbbell for your squat challenge if you have been exercising regularly and find the body weight squats to easy.

Slowly lower your body for these squats and pause at the bottom. Then come back up a bit faster than you went down. When these start to feel easy it’s time to increase the weight. You will build more muscle quickly using weights and small repetitions. You will not see as much of a change with low weights and a high number of repetitions. If you feel like you have plateaued it’s time to change things up a bit. Try different weight sizes with different squat variations.

Squat Styles

Here is a list of some of the many squat forms you can try when doing your squat challenge. Remember all your squats don’t have to be a regular body weight squat to see results. The body weight squat and the dumbbell squat are just good starting points for completing a squat challenge. You will probably see fast results by changing up your squat style.

  • Jump Squat
  • Hindu Squat
  • Pistol Squat
  • Wall Squat
  • Overhead squat
  • Barbell Back Squat

Diet

It is important to focus on healthy eating habits while doing a squat challenge. Not only will you see better results from your hard work, you will also have more energy. Having more energy will allow you to reach your squat challenge goals and keep them up. Not eating healthy foods could make it seem like you squat challenge isn’t doing anything to improve your muscles. Get your body in sync by fueling it with good food and completing a whole workout routine that involves squats.

If you decide to do a squat challenge, make a routine that works for you and that you can keep up. As time passes you will be able to try harder squat variations and include weights. A true squat challenge is completing a set of repetitions with good form and slowly working up to the next level of harder squat variations. You want to be careful not to injure yourself by doing a lot of repetitions with bad form.

Remember for an all-around healthy body it is important to eat well and do other exercises with your squats; try doing Pilates to improve your core muscles. You can even try doing a complete workout challenge for 6 weeks. For maximum weight loss and muscle building you should also learn more about healthy eating habits. Your current eating habits might need a makeover to improve your weight loss and health. Combining a squat challenge with other exercises and healthy eating is the best way to get your body fit and healthy.