Friday, June 20, 2014

Fitness Friday: Why You Should Reconsider Participating in a 30 Day Squat Challenge

We've all seen the '30 Day Squat Challenge' floating around on Pinterest and Instagram.
The premise is you work up from 50 squats at the beginning of the month, to 250 squats at the end, and you get an awesome butt for all your hard work.

The issue I have with this challenge, is not with squats. Squats are one of my favourite exercises - they are amazing for your lower body, you can do them anywhere, and almost anyone can do them!
You see a lot of people saying that they're going to start the challenge, and for the first few days, they're keen as beans. But then they miss a day, and then that becomes two days, until they don't know how to get back into it, lose all motivation and never complete the challenge. This is mostly because the challenge is really unrealistic, really inefficient and not that great at actually doing what it promises to do.

But, squats can be really hard. If you've never done any squats before, you may struggle with getting your form correct. (Click here for details). So how can a complete newbie be expected to do 50 squats in one day, when they are quite likely going to be doing them incorrect?

The challenge gives no information as to how to carry out the exercise either, which can not only be confusing for people new to fitness, but can lead to injury. For instance, on day 1, are you doing 5 sets of 10 reps with rest periods in between? Or are you literally pumping out 50 squats in a row? To me, the challenge looks like it's the latter. Without leaving time for rest in between reps, you fatigue quicker which means you're a lot more likely to continue in bad form. That's a great way to injure yourself.

The squat challenge doesn't increase the load as you continue. This means as you continue to add reps the exercise just keeps getting easier because there's no added resistance. So, the more you continue with the exercise, the more inefficient the 'program' gets. To really shape that butt, you need to add weight. You're much better off 8-10 doing squats with a kettlebell, or some dumbbells, or a barbell on your shoulders, than doing 250 body-weight squats in one day.

To build muscle, you need to put that muscle under stress / pressure, and then give it time to recover. This challenge doesn't allow that, as you're squatting high reps three days in a row, and then taking a break. Notice that most people who lift weights only have one 'leg day' a week? That's because you need to give your muscles adequate time off.

Another issue I have with this challenge, is that it implies this is the only exercise program a person will be doing for those 30 days. So what about all your other muscles? Squats mainly train your quads (the front of your thighs) and your butt, but don't really train your hamstrings (the back of your thighs) or your hip flexors. There's no other information in this challenge to work out any other muscles, which means most people won't even consider it, let alone seek out alternative exercises. Not training the inverse muscle means you're setting yourself up for a muscle imbalance, and again, this can lead to injury.

So, what happens after day 30? Do you continue to add reps? Or do you forever continue on just doing 250 squats a day (which is stupid)? Do you pick up a new 30 day challenge? Does this mean you're now neglecting your new butt? These are questions that should have answers!!

30 day challenges like the squat challenge do not work, and have massive potential to lead to injury. You should incorporate a range of different exercises into your routine, rather than sticking with one exercise for a long period of time. Next week I'll be posting my legs routine, so you can see what I do to shape my legs and butt.

Have you done a 30 day challenge like this one before? How did you go?

post signature

Twitter | Youtube | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin
© Where is my mind?. All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig