Here is what happened when I did 2800 squats in 140 days.
Since the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to do 20 squats daily. And I am so proud to write that I have done 20 squats every day in 2022.
Squats are the basic bodyweight movement that you desperately need for a fitter lower body. Every fitness routine is incomplete without squats.
Squats are a versatile exercise. You can do them as a warm-up or form a killer leg day routine with squats as the headliner. They are an essential exercise that you need to do for strong and muscular legs.
You can train your booty, thighs, quads, and calves with just this one exercise. You can even strengthen your lower back and core with this simple movement.
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Why I did this challenge
I suffer from runner’s knee, so any exercise that exerts my knee even a little was a big no-no.
But this year I resolved to go all-in and conquer this fear. So I decided to do squats daily until my knees became accustomed to this movement.
The only way to improve my knee was by increasing mobility and strength. And squats are the perfect exercise for that.
I did a similar challenge in the fall of 2017 before I got runner’s knee. So, It’s been years since I did squats seriously. They used to be my favorite exercise so this challenge was both exciting and exhausting.
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My experience so far
The beginning was painful
My knee gave me grief at first. I could hear my knee pop every time I squatted. My thighs and butt were severely sore.
It was painful to continue after the 15th rep, but I stuck with it and got to the 20th rep every damn day.
After a few weeks, my knee got better and I was able to do the reps easily, till a new problem reared its ugly head.
My cramps made things difficult
I get painful hip flexor cramps. Five years of yoga, stretching, and mobility exercise could not cure those stubborn cramps.
It took me two years to do a decent split without yelling and crying. I have extremely tight hips. My right hip flexor is manageable but the left side can make me weep like a baby.
After a month of doing squats, I started experiencing shooting pain in my left hip flexor. It got so bad that I would have to stop and stretch in between reps.
But after two months the cramps became better and less painful.
Soreness fades away with time
Soreness was my constant companion during the first months. My legs, butt, and back were paying the price of not working out consistently.
Soreness is synonymous with progress. You get sore when you stress a muscle that you have not used in a while.
Now after five months of this challenge I can easily do fifty squats daily without getting sore.
The soreness will fade away once your body becomes accustomed to the new fitness routine. So, hang in there and it will get better with time.
No rest days
I did this micro-workout daily. There were no rest or cheat days.
The reason I started this challenge was to do squats like I used to do before I developed a runner’s knee. So till I can do 100 squats daily with ease this challenge will continue.
I will work daily to get my lost mobility, strength, and stamina back.
One squat after another till I become a pro again.
The results of doing 2800 squats in 2022
A healthier brain
Training the lower body is essential for a healthy brain. A 2018 study found that neurological health is hugely dependent on the signals sent by the gluteus maximus.
Training the leg muscles to increase new brain cells, helps in making new connections between the neurons, which improves memory. Squats can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Squat daily for better brain health.
Squats are the best functional and bodyweight exercise for building a strong lower half. You need to build lower body strength for a better back.
Squats work hamstring, quads, calves, and glutes. They can single-handedly transform your legs. So, do squats for stronger quads, firmer glutes, and flexible hamstrings.
Let’s talk booty
I am not that gifted in the booty department owing to my Asian genes. So, I hoped this challenge would do the magic and bless me with a bombshell backside.
And I wasn’t wrong, even though I lost one inch, I still ended up with a super-toned butt. Everything fit better and I got the bubble butt I always wanted.
The lesser-known benefit of squats
You can train your core with squats. You can even lose lower belly fat while training your legs with this dynamic exercise.
Squats can help you lose weight, burn abdominal fat, and train your core. They are the perfect bodyweight exercise that can actually work all your major muscles.
The correct way to do a bodyweight squat
Stand with your feet shoulder length apart.
Place your feet firmly on the ground and point your toes slightly outwards.
Keep your chest out and shoulders straight.
Your back and neck must be in one line.
Lift your arms in front of you for balance.
Now push your butt towards the ground while keeping your back straight.
Squat till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Do not go lower than that.
Come back up and repeat.
What happens if you screw up the posture
There are dire consequences of doing squats in the wrong posture. You can sustain a major injury if you don’t learn the right posture.
Crouching your back
The biggest mistake you can make while squatting is curving forward. It puts a lot of pressure on your lower back. If you curve forward while squatting you can injure your back severely.
Pro tip:- Keep your chest puffed out and shoulders stable for a straighter back.
Excessive knee flexion
Improper squat posture can cause your knee joints a world of pain. Your knees should not stick out too much. Make sure to place your knees at such an angle that they don’t go beyond the toes.
Pro tip:- Place a resistance band above your knees to stop them from rolling forward.
Dislocation of weight
Weight distribution is the key component of a good squat. You need to make sure that your weight is not displaced on your knees or toes. If you follow the instruction of the proper squat then your weight will be wholly on the balls of your feet.
Pro Tip:- Make sure that your squat doesn’t lean too forward or backward. Keep your squat in a straight line with your body.
Not too low or too high
Your squat should neither be too low nor too high. Find the perfect height for your squat. If it’s too high it will hurt your knees, and if it’s too low then it will cause back pain.
Pro Tip:- To attain the perfect posture make sure your back is straight. Squat till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Taking your abs for granted
You can strengthen your abs and lose belly fat with this wonderful exercise. But for that, you need to engage your core. You need to be mindful of your movement.
Pro Tip:- Tighten your abs while going down. You need to develop a mind-muscle connection for maximum benefits.
So, it is essential to learn how to do squats correctly to gain maximum benefits and prevent injuries. You can watch this video to learn the right posture in less than 3 minutes.
How did I automate this habit?
I have done 2800 squats in 2022. If I missed a day, then I would do 40 squats the next day.
Doing twenty squats daily was not a difficult habit for me.
I have been working out consistently for seven years now, so I was able to form this tiny habit easily.
The first step to forming any habit
I do a micro morning workout of 50 burpees. I have been doing them daily for a few months now. I do this micro workout daily before showering.
And I do this squats workout after the burpees. I do the squats right before my shower. My morning shower is the cue for me to do the squats.
Choose a cue to form any new habit. Make sure your cue is something that you do daily like showering.
Fix a time and a place
I did the squats daily in front of the full-length mirror that doubles as a cabinet door in the bathroom. It helped me maintain a good form.
I made it a habit to do the 20 squats daily before taking a shower. Most days I did the squats in my bathroom while waiting for the water to warm up.
The shower became my clue to do this challenge daily.
A Commitment to better health
On busy days when I had to rush in the morning, I did the squats at night before going to bed. It was tiring but worth it.
After seven years of working out regularly, I know the value of a good streak. After the seventh day, you are solely motivated by the consistency to create a new record daily.
Squats are the most versatile bodyweight exercise that can transform your physique. You can build stronger legs, a better core, and a flexible back with this functional exercise.
Anyone can do twenty squats daily. There are no complications, just remember to learn the correct posture. So, take a step today to improve your physical and brain health by doing twenty easy squats daily.