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I did 100 weighted squats every day for two weeks, and the results were interesting

Aug 26, 2023

This lower body challenge helped strengthen my glutes, worked my core, and was actually quite fun

As a personal trainer, I know that the classic bodyweight squat is an exercise many people have heard of it. It's a staple move because it plays a significant role in all lower body, functional workouts, and everyday life.

We end up squatting throughout the day—when we bend down to get something from the floor, open a low cupboard, or pick up a heavy item. We probably squat more than we realize.

I love this compound exercise, as it is fantastic for building lower body muscle and works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes all at once. That's why I decided to see what would happen if I did 100 weighted squats every day for two weeks.

I used a pair of fixed-weight dumbbells for this challenge, but a set of the best adjustable dumbbells would work well, too. Plus, you can gradually increase the load as you get stronger or make the challenge more or less intense. No weights? Use a bag of rice or canned beans instead.

Here's what happened when I picked up the weights and did 100 squats each day for two weeks, and whether I'd do it again.

Squats are great for working the hamstrings, quads, and glutes—your body's biggest muscle. And if you work on that mind-muscle connection as you drive up from a squat, you'll feel your glutes working much harder.

Pushing up through the heels does kick the glutes into gear, and I'm a massive advocate of ever-so-slightly lifting my toes so that even more emphasis is placed on pushing up through the heels.

So, you can imagine how my glutes felt after performing 100 weighted squats on top of any other exercise I was doing. That's why it's unsurprising that squats are among the best exercises for glutes.

'Quality over quantity' are the three words I swear by when it comes to lifting weights. Bad form equals injuries, and injuries equal time off exercise—neither appeals to me.

I was skeptical about maintaining perfect form when completing the 100-weighted squats-a-day challenge. On one occasion, once I'd hit about repetition 70, I moved to stand in front of my bedroom mirror for a full-length reflection.

Noting my form, I did spot my right knee doing a slight cave inwards as I drove up from the squats. It was minor but still noticeable. That's why it's crucial to learn how to do squats properly to adjust your technique.

If you find the same thing, struggle to maintain a flat back, or find your heels lifting off the ground, remember, your toes can wiggle about a bit, but your heels must be stuck to the floor like glue!

The squat is a compound exercise that simultaneously recruits multiple muscles and joints in your upper and lower body. Your core muscle connects these two areas, so doing the squats challenge was also a great way to strengthen my midsection.

Developing your core, including your abdominal muscles, improves your posture, balance, and stability and promotes blood circulation. Plus, it helps you keep a flat back during squats, making you less likely to injure yourself—a risk when working with weights.

So, I engaged my core with every repetition during my 100 squat challenge, keeping it tight. It has all these benefits, meaning I packed in a time-efficient, multi-muscle workout using a single move.

My leg muscles get tight quite quickly—probably because I don't always warm up properly before a workout, but we won't get into that. So, adding 100 weights squats into my routine left my legs even tighter than usual.

And because it's a reasonably intense challenge, my muscles worked hard, leading to delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Tiny tears in your muscle fibers cause this post-workout soreness, but you can reduce its effects.

If you take on this challenge, it's worth picking up one of the best foam rollers and giving yourself a quick massage to promote muscle recovery. A post-workout smoothie packed with protein wouldn't hurt, either.

Don't assume you need to be running or squat jumping to get a sweat on. Doing these 100-weighted squats every evening in front of the television left me a little breathless.

That's because the challenge is a form of high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) that aims to exercise intensely with minimal rest. This raises your heart rate, works muscles all over your body, and helps boost your metabolism for all-day fat-burning.

If you fancy testing your lower body endurance, this is your challenge. I will not often do 100 unbroken weighted squats in a row, so this felt like a little shock to the system and one I recommend if you want to shake up your lower body routine.

I loved that I could feel my glutes powering through each repetition; there's no better feeling than your butt feeling perky. Plus, I enjoyed watching my form and analyzing the changes that occurred as my lower body became more tired.

It took about 10 minutes, which is longer than you might expect, but it's essential that you do each repetition with perfect form. And don't follow my lead—make sure you do some yoga stretches before starting!

Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman's Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun.

She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.

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