One of my 31 Goals this year is to be able to complete 1,000 squats in a day. By that, I mean to complete 1,000 squats over the course of an entire day, not necessarily consecutively.
I decided to start the process by building up my squat strength with a challenge to complete 200 squats in a day over the month of April. I used a plan posted on FitSugar; the original post can be found here: http://www.fitsugar.com/30-Day-Squat-Challenge-30806625.
To recap, this challenge had me doing 5 kinds of squats in varying reps and sets. I did 4-day cycles: 3-days of reps and sets followed by 1 day of rest (and I tried to organize my workouts to stay away from lower-body workouts those days too). I started the challenge on April 1st with 6 reps of each type of squat, once (totaling 30 squats), and ended the challenge on April 30th with 10 reps of each squat, 4 times (totaling 200 squats).
My thoughts on challenge are positive overall. I think the daily progression of numbers of reps and sets were reasonable and easy to keep up with given my current fitness level. This challenge isn’t for everyone though, as everyone will have a different individual starting fitness level and I’ve no doubt that some people would find it hard to do 30 consecutive squats on day 1; for me though, this was doable.
In particular, I really enjoyed doing the different kinds of squats, and thought it was a great way to prevent against the kind of muscle fatigue and cramping I would have expected from doing 200 almost-consecutive squats; narrow, regular, sumo, and side/back leg lifts really kept my muscles guessing! Doing different squats on a regular basis also prevented boredom and challenged me to improve my form and capabilities with each one – particularly the dreaded narrow squat!
By the same token, I learned that I needed to really take my time because if I tried to go too fast I would inevitably sacrifice that all-important form; this meant that I needed to ensure I left myself enough time to do the assigned number of squats per day, because rushing to do the higher numbers of reps right before bed meant getting my heart pumping, making it difficult for me to fall asleep.
On that note, I have to say that it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns last month. I did struggle with this challenge in a couple of ways. First is purely remembering to do the squats! Like I said, I ended up doing my squats before bed a few times, which meant I stayed up later than I wanted to because I couldn’t fall asleep; some days I also simply forgot completely. Second, I was used to doing squats, sure, but not necessarily in these numbers and not on such a regular basis, so I still suffered from some muscle soreness; I enjoy this kind of discomfort though, and thus this kind of challenge, because it makes me feel strong.
The third struggle was all mental – the car accident which led to the loss of our dog has really messed with me and sometimes since then I simply find myself less motivated to accomplish anything. As the cliché goes, I know that time will make it better and I’m trying not to get down on myself for the fact that I need to give myself time to get back my enthusiasm for all things goal-related. And just like any sort of motivation, it comes and goes but, in general, I’m finding it easier to be happy and excited about things lately.
So where do I go from here? Like I said in my initial squat post, there are surprisingly few challenges to be found via Google, and even less that progress from 200 squats per day in any specific format on the road to a total of 1,000 (that is, that don’t have to do with weight-lifting). Due to this annoying lack of help from the internet, I decided to take matters into my own hands… if I’m ever to get to 1,000 squats in a day I certainly need to keep developing my ability at a steady rate!
I’ve decided I’m going to repeat this 200 squat challenge, but I’ll complete it twice daily instead of the regular once/day. Doing this challenge over the month of April, I missed a number of days here and there but I was still able to complete the assigned number of sets and reps on any given day, which tells me that I need more of a challenge; I didn’t need the progression in order to complete the increasingly difficult sets. Also, by doing the exact same sets, but spacing them out throughout the day, I’ll get my body used to multiple sets, and by the end I should be able to complete 200 squats twice in one day, for a total of 400. I’ll be almost halfway to my goal!
Admittedly, starting mid-May is inconvenient for keeping track of the days; starting on April 1st and ending on April 30th made things very easy to follow. But I’m impatient and don’t want to lose my motivation by forcing myself to wait for June to roll around (though the months seem to be flying by lately!).
So, day 1 of my new and improved 30-day squat challenge will start on May 13th with 6 reps of each type of squat, twice, and end on June 11th with 10 reps of each squat, 8 times. Most days, I plan to split the assigned squats and do half in the morning and the other half in the evening, but some days I’ll challenge myself to complete the whole thing in one sitting to increase my stamina. I’ll take it slow and, as my physiotherapist kept telling me a few weeks ago, if something hurts I’ll stop and reassess.
Here’s hoping I can keep track of the days!
As a side note, since starting to track my weight, when I weighed myself at the end of April I was up 5 lbs… I was at 205 lbs. I’m not feeling bad about this at all since I had such a crazy month for many of the reasons listed above, but I am going to learn from it and see how I fare when I weigh again at the end of May.
Do you enjoy doing squats? How many can you do in a day?