A fitness challenge is a great way to keep you motivated as you work towards a goal. Challenges are awesome for beginners because they allow them to start easy and then make daily progressions. Before they know it, they’ll have reached their fitness goal and nailed the challenge at the same time.
Today, I’ve got a 30-day fitness challenge for beginners that targets the biggest problem area for most women: the butt and thighs. And it’s all built around one simple exercise …
the bodyweight squat.
In this guide, I’ll lay out the benefits of the 30-Day Squat Challenge. Then, I’ll provide a complete squat tutorial, present the entire challenge, and give you some tips for success.
Benefits of the 30 Day Squat Challenge
The 30-day squat challenge will see you performing the bodyweight squat exercise every day for a month. So, the benefits of the challenge come exclusively from squatting.
Here’s why spending time squatting every day is a smart investment …
- The squat is a functional movement exercise. That means it’s a movement you do many times each day. Every time you get up off the couch or bend down to lift an object, you are squatting. According to the American Council on Exercise, the squat is one of the 5 basic movements of living.
- The squat improves your posture.
- The squat strengthens and builds your quadriceps muscles.
- Of the four quad muscles, the vastus medialis gets the most work. This muscle supports and strengthens the knee joint,
- Squats tone and strengthen the butt (glute) muscles.
- Squats improve balance and coordination.
- Squats improve core strength.
- Squats will improve your flexibility.
- Squats burn calories.
- Squats increase bone density
How to Squat
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outward. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest. Tighten your core by pulling your abs in. Keep a natural curve in your lower back. Pull back your shoulder blades. Look straight ahead.
- Push your hips back as you bend your knees to go down. Do not round your back. Your butt should move back as you lower your body.
- Stop when your quads are parallel to the floor.
- Push through your heels as you return to the top position.
It should take you about 3 seconds to complete every squat rep; 2 seconds on the way down and 1 second to come back up.
Common Squat Mistakes
- Knees caving in or rotating out – this puts too much stress on the knee joint. Avoid this problem by stacking your knees over your ankles. Make sure, too, that your feet are no wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Squatting too low – if you squat lower than 90 degrees, you may overstress your knee joint. On the return, you will also not be able to fully activate the glutes.
- Rising onto the toes – this can cause you to lean forward and round your back. Stay on your heels throughout the exercise.
- Not keeping a tight core – this can lead to a forward lean.
- Dropping the chest and rounding the shoulders – this may result in a rounded lower back.
- Squatting too quickly – take your time.
- Holding your breath – breathe in through your nose and into your belly as you go down. Breath out through your mouth as you come back up.
The 30-Day Squat Challenge
Each day you will do three sets of squats. Rest for exactly 30 seconds between each set.
5 squats x 3 = 15
7 squats x 3 = 21
9 squats x 3 = 21
11 squats x 3 = 33
13 squats x 3 = 39
15 squats x 3 = 45
17 squats x 3 = 51
19 squats x 3 = 57
21 squats x 3 = 63
23 squats x 3 = 69
25 squats x 3 = 75
27 squats x 3 = 81
29 squats x 3 = 87
31 squats x 3 = 93
33 squats x 3 = 99
35 squats x 3 = 105
37 squats x 3 = 111
39 squats x 3 = 117
41 squats x 3 = 123
43 squats x 3 = 129
45 squats x 3 = 135
47 squats x 3 = 141
49 squats x 3 = 147
51 squats x 3 = 153
WOW – YOU DID IT!
6 Tips to Succeed with the 30 Day Squat Challenge
Use a Slant Board
A slant board is a wooden angled platform that you stand on while squatting. It will place your heels a couple of inches higher than your ankles when you squat.
When you squat on the slant board you will experience the following benefits:
- You will stay more upright.
- You will better target the vastus medialis muscle.
- You’ll be in a better ergonomic position.
- You won’t round your back
Practice Engaging Your Core
Keeping a tight core is the key to staying upright when you squat. Byt many people don’t know how to do it properly. Here is a simple exercise you can do to get it right:
- Lie on your back on the ground with both knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Push your tailbone into the floor.
- Breathe in deeply.
- Tense your abs.
- Breathe out but do not let the air out of your stomach.
Squat Early in the Day
Getting the challenge done first thing in the morning is a good idea. That way it’s done before your day gets too busy. It may mean getting up a bit earlier, but it will be well worth it.
Do the Squat Challenge With a Friend
Team up with a buddy to do the challenge. That way you will be able to motivate each other. You don’t even have to do the challenge together. With Zoom and cell phone technology, you can do the challenge together apart.
Create a Monthly Squat Challenge Chart
Print out a 30-day calendar. Then add in your squat challenge numbers for each day. Now put your chart on the fridge. Each day cross off that day’s squat challenge when completed. The simple act of crossing off each day is a powerful psychological motivator.
Squat to Your Favorite Song
Music is a great motivator. It’s also a great distraction. This combination smokes it a great complement to the squat challenge.
Squat To a Chair
It can be difficult to know how far down you should be going on the squat. Squatting to a chair will give you a target. When you feel your butt touching the chair, you know it’s time to come back up.
Be careful not to bounce off the chair. Your butt should just touch the seat before you begin the return to the start position.
How to Make the Challenge Harder
When you complete the 30-Day Squat Challenge, you will be a lot stronger and fitter. Your butt will also be more toned. For your next challenge, you’ll be ready to take on the resisted squat.
The Resisted Squat Challenge works like this …
- On Days 1-6 perform bodyweight squats
- On Days 7-13 do resistance band squats
- On Days 14-20 do squats with dumbbells held at arm’s length
- O Days 21-30 do squats with a light barbell across your shoulders
You can also perform other exercises to improve your squat strength.
Another way to make the challenge harder is to add in different variations of the squat. Here’s how to do it …
To perform a resistance band squat, stand with a resistance band looped under your feet. Hold the handles at shoulder levels with your palms facing forward. Now, with feet shoulder-width apart, perform the squat
- On Days 1-6 perform bodyweight squats
- On Days 7-13 jump squats
- On Days 14-20 do squats narrow squat
- O Days 21-30 do squats do Sumo squats
From the bottom squat position, jump into the air to return to the start position.
Place your feet closer than normal. They should be just six inches apart and pointed slightly outward.
Place your feet wider than normal. They should be about six inches wider than shoulder-width and pointed slightly outward.
The beginner’s squat challenge will get you fitter, stronger, and more toned. It will also improve your posture, flexibility, and coordination.
You’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment as you work through the challenge. And you’ll be ready to take on a brand new challenge. Here’s an awesome plank challenge to get your core tighter and your abs more defined.
Hi, my name’s Steve Theunissen. I joined my first gym at age 15 and, five years later, I was managing my own studio. In 1987, I became the first personal fitness trainer in New Zealand. Over the past decade, I have built a freelance fitness writing career to share my fitness passion with the world.