Fitness & Exercise

Squat challenge: 5 weeks to stronger legs

Enjoy stronger, more toned legs, glutes, and core with this 35-day squat challenge.
Squats work the biggest muscle in your body, which results in a killer calorie burn. “Everyone is crazy about squats because this is the best bang for your buck exercise—the move blasts your butt, legs, and core,” says exercise physiologist Tony Maloney, fitness center manager at National Institute for Fitness and Sport, in Indianapolis. “Since it’s a movement pattern we use in so many aspects in our daily lives, its benefit goes beyond a fitness boost—your day will feel easier as you get stronger.”
 
This makes it a great exercise to focus on when looking to make the lower body stronger. That is why this strength challenge is a great way to get moving. 

 

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, in addition to your usual workout. (If this is the only activity you’re doing, it’s a great start!) 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 favorite 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 Maloney. By the end of the month, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for crushing this goal (p.s. You just completed 1,000 squats. Yes, you!), and you’ll be admiring your hard-earned booty back there, too. 

 

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 properly

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat   Sun
# of Standard squats 20  30  Rest 40 50 Rest 60
Note: Complete the daily repetitions within a 24-hour period. No need to do them all at once.

 

 

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 squat

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat   Sun
# of Split squats
20
(10 per side) 
30
(15 per side)
Rest  
40
(20 per side)
50
(25 per side)
Rest  
60
(30 per side)
Note: Complete the daily repetitions within a 24-hour period. No need to do them all at once.

 

 

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 squat

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
# of Sumo squats 20  30  Rest 40 50 Rest 60
Note: Complete the daily repetitions within a 24-hour period. No need to do them all at once.

 

 

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 squat

 

  Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
# of elevated
split squats
20 
(10 per leg)
30
(15 per leg)
Rest      
40
(20 per leg)
50
(25 per leg)
Rest    
60
(30 per leg)
Note: Complete the daily repetitions within a 24-hour period. No need to do them all at once.

 

 

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 squat

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
# of Prisoner squats 20  30  Rest 40 50 Rest 60
Note: Complete the daily repetitions within a 24-hour period. No need to do them all at once.

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