Fitness

Squat challenge: 5 weeks to stronger legs

Enjoy stronger, more toned legs, glutes, and core with this 35-day squat challenge.

Want to reboot your fitness, but don’t know where to start? There are loads of simple things you can do to get moving more from the comfort of your own home, and this handy five-week squat challenge is one of them.

Starting out small with a little bit of movement every day is one of the greatest ways to ease into activity and establish a healthy routine for yourself. Try giving this at-home squat challenge a go and just watch your fitness soar.

Squats make a huge impact on your health and wellness because they activate one of your body’s biggest muscle groups: the glutes (buttocks) and thighs. Because these muscles are so powerful, targeting them with squats really gets your heart pumping and your metabolism revving! Squats also engage your core, which has to work to keep you stable as you move. Strengthening this area can help improve posture and reduce back pain. That’s a lot to gain for such a little daily effort!


How the squat challenge works


For this 5-week squat challenge, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done a squat, or have done them only once or twice. This 35-day plan will ease you in so you’re adding more reps every day and mastering a new variation each week.

All you have to do is dedicate a few minutes to this routine every day. By the end of each week, you’ll more than double the amount of reps you started with. If you can’t complete the total number of daily reps all at once, no worries. Your goal is to perform that rep-count throughout the entire day, so split it up into smaller increments.

Killing time while you’re waiting for your pasta to boil? Bust out a couple of reps; or with every commercial break during your favourite TV show, do a few more. No matter what, get in all those reps in that 24-hour period.

Each week, you learn a squat variation that’s a bit more challenging than the one you did the week before, but you’re prepped for it. “Performing a different variation of the squat each week will change the stimulus and allow for more adaption, leading to bigger and better results,” says exercise physiologist Tony Maloney. By the end of the month, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for crushing this goal.


WW 5-week squat challenge


Week 1

Squat Challenge: Standard squats
How to do it:

  • Stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, hands clasped in front of chest, elbows slightly bent.

  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower into a squat, as if you’re sitting back onto a chair.

Pause at the bottom, then return to starting position to complete 1 rep.

How to squat properlyStandard squat

Week 2

Squat Challenge: Split squat
How to do it:

  • Stand with your left foot planted about 2-feet behind you, heel lifted, as if you’re stepping back into a lunge.

  • Lower your hips, bending your knees until both legs are bent at 90 degrees (this looks like a lunge position).
  • Push through the heel of the front leg, and drive the hips and knees upward to starting position. This is 1 rep. Complete all reps on one side before switching legs and repeating on the other.

How to do a split squatSplit squat

Week 3

Squat Challenge: Sumo squat
How to do it:

  • Stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out; place hands on your hips.

  • Push hips back and squat down, keeping your chest up and knees turned out.
  • Return to start position to complete 1 rep.

How to do a sumo squatSumo squat

Week 4

Squat Challenge: Rear foot elevated split squat
How to do it:

  • Stand a foot or 2 away from the bottom of a staircase, facing away from the steps.

  • Place the toes of your left foot on top of the step behind you. In this staggered position, repeat the split squat movement.
  • Complete all reps before switching sides and repeating on opposite leg.

Note: Use the bottom step of a staircase at home, or substitute a stool or a bench to elevate your foot.

How to do an elevated split squatelevated-split-squat

Week 5

Squat Challenge: Prisoner squats
How to do it:

  • Stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, with your hands placed behind your head.

  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower into a squat, as if you’re sitting back onto a chair, lowering your butt as close to the floor as you can go.
  • Pause at the bottom, then lift up to starting position to complete 1 rep.

How to do a prisoner squatPrisoner squats

Before starting any new exercise routine, make sure to check in with your doctor.