Take on Schwarzenegger's Squat Challenge
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been sharing his wise words and workouts in his latest newsletter and on this occasion, he has brought us a squat challenge open to all. Don't underestimate the simplicity however, you will rack up 150 reps in total. If you can stay the course, that is.
'The easiest way to improve at anything is to build a progressive plan,' says Schwarzenegger. 'If you want to save money, start by setting aside $1 (or whatever you can afford), and then build that to $2, $5, $10, and so forth. The same mentality applies to fitness. Scientists call the idea progressive overload, and it’s accomplished by adding more reps, sets, or weight to your workout. Or, you can even adjust rest periods to make it more challenging.'
We know the benefits of setting a small habit and repeating it everyday. The effect on self efficacy and confidence means we are far more likely to keep the habit going long term. This is exactly the logic behind Schwarzenegger's Squat Challenge.
According to Schwarzenegger, the idea is progress over perfection. 'You might wonder if you must do all the reps in one set. You don’t. Remember, the goal is progress. If you need to do multiple sets, even spread throughout the day, those reps still add up.'
Set your morning alarm and get those reps in.
The Squat Challenge
Schwarzenegger recommends to start on the weekend, however, you can start on any day of the week. The protocol is simple but not necessarily easy: each day, you will do squats and increase the number of reps you perform.
The challenge will be as follows:
Day 1: 10 squats
Day 2: 20 squats
Day 3: 30 squats
Day 4: 40 squats
Day 5: 50 squats
This will equal 150 squats in total.
How do to the Bodyweight Squat
Stand tall with your core engaged.
With your chest lifted, send your hips back and bend your knees in line with your toes until your thighs break parallel.
Drive through the heels back to standing and repeat.
Schwarzenegger recommends to adjust the challenge to suit your abilities. 'This is designed to be a bodyweight challenge. However, if you're more advanced, you could do it as a 1-week challenge with weights. And if you struggle with bodyweight squats, then do a simpler variation where you squat to a chair, touch the seat, and stand back up.'
Here are some progressions recommended by MH:
Standing tall, hold the weight close to your chest.
Sink your hips and drop into a squat; at the bottom, your elbows should be almost between your knees.
Drive back up, tensing your glutes.
Barbell Front Squat
With your feet at shoulder width, hold a barbell across your chest in the front rack position. Then, lift your elbows high to secure the bar on your shoulders.
Maintain an upright torso and push your hips back, bending your knees until your thighs pass parallel to the floor.
Stand back up to the starting position.
Slowly bend at the knees into a full squat position.
Explosively jump upwards as high as possible.
Upon landing, control your descent and slowly return to the squat position, ready to repeat.
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