Squats are more popular nowadays than they were a few years ago. This can maybe be attributed to the numerous advantages they have to the body and the ease of their execution. When doing squats you get to burn fat in the body, improve blood circulation, and get your joints to be more flexible thus helping you avoid injuries while doing other forms of exercises. Additionally, they improve your body posture, tone your stomach, leg and butt muscles and last but not least you’re able to build your core strength.
When I learned how to do squats properly and regularly it made me appreciate just how simple yet effective the exercise is. Later on my travels, I came to the realization that somehow squats were made for the outdoors, to be done and complemented by breathtaking views. I didn’t require any special equipment or clothing to do squats and I could do them anywhere at any time! All I needed to take in my dosage of squats was my basic squat knowledge and a small space to do them. I could do them on the beach, up in the mountains, deep in the forests, on hotel room balconies, on the rooftops and it was amazing. I could just be in the ‘zone’ and absorb Mother Nature’s energy as I did my squats.
Variety in Squats
There are different variations of squats. This means you’ll get to work out different muscles in while technically doing the same exercise. In addition, by incorporating the different squat variations on my squat routine it ensured the exercise didn’t feel monotonous. Well, in most cases monotony in workouts tends to result in boredom but with this challenge, this will be your last worry while traveling. So I did one better and went for different squats oindifferent places and before I knew it I was making notable progress.
Also, you could typically burn 100 calories in a ten-minute squat workout. You can even burn more calories if you include weights in your squat routine (If you’re a squat pro I say go for it.)
The basic squats
When I learnt to do simple basic squats I simply interpreted it as an exercise of keeping my balance and upright posture all while in an up and down motion. A simple bodyweight squat involves all of your lower body muscles. So for those who are not familiar with squats, here is how to do a basic squat:
Step 1: Stand upright with your feet a foot apart. Keep your back in a straightened position and your feet in a slight outward angle.
Step 2: While maintaining your straight position, extend your arms outwards, bend your knees and move as if you are sitting down.
Step 3: Pause then move back to your original position.
You can go as low as you can, preferably until your hips are below your knees but being a beginner that will take some time (I had to learn too! But it’s simple really). Other squatting forms follow the same basic technique albeit with a few variations. Here are a few examples of such squats that I have been doing on my travels.
Body-weight jump squat
- Hold the back of your head with both hands and stretch your elbows outwards in line with your back and shoulders.
- Lower into a Squat position. As you prepare to return to your original position leap as high as you can.
- When you come down squat immediately, then jump. Repeat the process.
- Raise one foot off the floor with the toes up while keeping the toes of your standing foot straight.
- Raise your standing foot up as you lower the other foot into a squat position.
- Pause in that position, return to original position then repeat.
- Stand in an upright position with your hands held together in your chest. Also, ensure your feet are touching each other.
- Bend your knees until your thighs are in a position parallel to the floor
- Pause, then return to original position. Repeat
They are more or less the same and once I mastered one it was easy to do the other variations. I left out the squats involving weights because who wants to add weights to their baggage?
The Squat Challenge
When I started out I found out that there were hundreds of squat challenges online but they weren’t suitable for me. For example, most challenges involved starting on 50 squat reps a day and progressing to 250 squat a day by the end of a 30 day period. As a beginner, not only did I find that to be too much, but also not suited to my travelling. So I tailor-made a challenge suited to my travelling ensuring it is equally as challenging but more fun.
So the challenge involves doing each of the squat variations I pointed out earlier for a week. They are four variations so that makes it a four-week challenge. The number of reps I do in a day increases as the week progresses with rest days sandwiched in between three day periods. The 28 day period has 9 resting days spread out after every 3 days and I start each week with 20 reps of the squat variation I am to do. My schedule is the basic squat – bodyweight jump squat – Pistol Squat – Narrow Squat. However, the order is flexible hence you can perform them in any order as you wish.
Adding Number of Squats After Each Day
After starting out with 20 reps a day, I go to 30 reps, 40 reps then rest. After the rest day, I go back to 20 reps then increase the reps 10-fold as the week progresses. In addition, I incorporate the squats with other exercises that I do. I don’t have to do all the reps to be done in a day in a single sitting, I can just do the number I’m supposed to do spread out in the day. If I don’t get to reach the number of reps I do in the day I simply restart the week. It’s a great punishment which will help you instil self-discipline.
The squat challenge is a fascinating way to get a toned body. I’m looking forward to learning other squat variations in order to challenge myself further and at the same time add to the excitement. Try out this challenge and experience instant results.