It’s December and time for another challenge! This month we’re going to work on building strength in those important running muscles by doing some squats.
The squat is one of the most basic strength training exercises you can perform, and also one of the most beneficial for runners. A properly executed squat works almost every muscle in the legs, as well as the glutes, lower back and abs, and increases your balance – and it can be done literally anywhere, with no equipment required. There are so many variations of this position that almost anyone can do it and reap the benefits.
This challenge will take build you up from 20 squats per day to 130 throughout the month, with a few rest days thrown in to allow your legs to recover properly. If you want to join the challenge, review the instructions below, and download the schedule in the printable PDF.
How to do a bodyweight squat:
- Stand tall, feet slightly more than hip width apart, toes pointing forward or very slightly out.
- Bend your knees and begin to lower your body, and reach your butt backwards – as if you are getting ready to sit in a chair.
- Reach arms forward for balance, let them hang by your sides, or rest your hands on your lower back.
- Continue until thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Keep your knees behind your toes and your back as upright as possible.
- Breathe in as you lower your body and exhale as you return to a standing position.
- Do your squats next to a mirror, so you can keep an eye on your form.
- Look straight ahead to maintain a neutral neck position.
When you have mastered your form, try these additional challenges:
- Get low: Without breaking form, allow your butt to come below your knees.
- Add weights: Hold dumbbells or kettle bells close to your chest to add extra weight – or wear a weighted backpack.
- Make it unstable: Squat on a wobbly surface
Download the squat challenge schedule.
If you’re in, let me know in the comments!