Squat Challenge

squat challengeYou have to love a squat challenge. Well, love it and hate it…for me, somehow the squat challenge was the hardest of all the body weight challenges I did.

With the dead lift challenge, the hardest part of was holding the bar. When I try it again, I’ll use straps to see what kind of numbers I can come up with.

I really loved the bench press challenge because I love bench pressing; this challenge was tough but I didn’t feel like I was going to barf like with the squat challenge.

Have you noticed that only the hardest hard core trainers squat? To me, it’s the be all and end all of leg training. Whenever I travel when I go to a gym on a leg day I always look for a squat rack. I’m not very tall and I find that the angles on leg press, hack squats and other pieces of leg equipment machines are sometimes whacked. I waste more time trying to adjust things only to find that I can’t go to full depth with my short lil legs.

So, to the squat bar it is.

(Oh and don’t get me started on those that consider only using the leg extension and ham curl machine and calling that a leg day…)

Don’t tell me that the squat is for your legs exclusively. Oh yeah, you’ll hit your legs, including your quads, hams, glutes, calves and inner thighs. But you’ll also hit your back (erector spinae), abs (rectus abdominus and obliques). The squat is a FULL body workout for sure.  And seriously, look what a squat will do for you…

squat challenge

In defense of the squat – Many well meaning trainers tell their clients with sore knees to avoid the squat or tell them to do partial reps. I’m all for training within a pain free range of motion, but increasing that range of motion over time is possible and necessary to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. The knee joint is strongest in a fully flexed or extended position, not the positions in-between. As long as you’re training in a controlled manner, not bouncing off the bottom of the squat and ensuring the knees align with the toes, the knees should stay healthy.

There are other considerations than just the knees involved in the squat. I’ve seen more ugly squatters in my day and I often feel like I need to say something to those that are about to injure themselves. Back and core strength are imperative to have a proper squat. The head controls the spine in the squat. Make sure that you LOOK UPWARDS to keep the chin from dropping and the spine from rounding. Sit the bar back far enough on the traps so that you don’t feel like the bar is on top of your neck. I don’t have a set of thick traps and I’m fine with a fair bit of weight on my traps, you can do it too.

This challenge is like the other two I did earlier. I did one set of continuous squats, timed, no rest. Then I rested one minute and set the clock for three minutes to max out my reps. I allowed myself to rest through out this set but I didn’t rack the bar.

The hardest part for me in the second set was actually keeping conscious, I’m serious, I got light headed at rep 7 and had to focus to keep the stars from spinning throughout the set. Here’s to anaerobic conditioning…(more on that in an upcoming post).

Here’s the video of this fun time:

I did 31 reps with my body weight of 122.5 lbs in 1:49 without stopping, rested one minute then did 38 reps in 3 minutes.

Give this squat challenge a go and post your numbers in the comment section.

I know that my numbers are decent but there are plenty of you who can put me to shame.

Go for it.

I know that I’m pushing myself to my limits and that’s all that’s important to me and you should be the same. If you get one more rep today than yesterday, then you’re on the winning side of things.

Then again, as I age, if I can get the same amount of reps as I did 20 years ago, I still feel like I’m winning.

An honestly, I think I’d kick my own ass if I were up against myself at 25 years old…over the years I’ve grown in mental toughness and really, that’s half the battle…

squat challenge

9 Responses to “Squat Challenge”

  1. KB says:

    Not a bad workout. I’m a big squatter so I did really well, but my clients didn’t like it…lol

  2. challeng says:

    What is ‘really well’? Tell us your numbers KB. Of course your clients didn’t like it…there are few peeps that LOVE to squat, unless they also love to be sick to their stomachs.

  3. KB says:

    265; 45 reps
    265; 54 reps

    Then again, I squat in the mid 7s raw.

  4. challeng says:

    Wow, good on you KB, you really do squat ‘really well’. I’m humbled. Glad I could challenge you to a good squat day though. =)

  5. KB says:

    Gotta love the king of all exercises. I think the only thing I enjoy more is olympic movements. Not your typcial power lifter, as I do the “fun” movements too :)

  6. Deb says:

    Wow Shawna! Super-impressed! I can’t even Squat my own body-weight yet (148lbs) but will work on it… you are one strong lady. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  7. challeng says:

    Start out light and make sure your form is impeccable and you’ll get to your body weight in no time Deb.

  8. Lisa Bullock says:

    Shawna, I really struggle with heavy squats – I have very good core strength, strong on everything else but my back just canes after heavy squats. My chiro explained that because I have a sway back, as I sit back into my squat my lumbar spine is compressing and that I shouldn’t be pushing heavy. Have you any thoughts on this? my squat form is good – but my bloody lumbar spine gives me grief!

  9. challeng says:

    Lisa,
    I’d go with what your chiro says. Unless you have aspirations of being a powerlifting champion, there’s no need for super heavy squatting anyway. You can get an effective workout with a lighter weight and changing up your rep tempo. Try a 4 sec eccentric (lowering) and a 1-2 second lift, don’t lock the knees at the top. You’ll see that your legs will benefit. Lighter weight and even body weight squats will get results too.

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