When you’re looking to get back into fitness, or indeed get into it for the very first time in your life, it’s always wise to start with a short and achievable challenge. Giving yourself a target you can complete within a month will give you a motivational boost just as your newfound zeal for working out might typically start to fizzle out.

This 30-day squat challenge is one of the smartest options to begin your fitness kick with for several reasons. First, because it just involves one bodyweight exercise so you can do it anywhere and anytime, and second, because the bodyweight exercise involved is the squat – just about the best bodyweight exercise there is.

The squat merits this high praise because it works pretty much your entire lower body – the hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings all benefit – and it also strengthens the core muscles around your stomach and lower back. The result of this is greater functional strength that will translate to extra speed and power in whatever sport you like to play, as well as increased resistance to injury.

Assuming you’re sold on the squat, take a look at these pointers on how to do it perfectly and head on to the 30-day challenge. We’ll see you in a month, when you have legs like pistons.

Just starting out? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, chin up and core braced.
  2. Hold your arms out in front of you or by your sides – just don’t put your hands on your legs, whatever you do.
  3. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground – the best way to describe it is like sitting down on an invisible chair. Go lower if you can – as long as it doesn’t hurt (and you can keep your balance) you’re OK. If you’re not sure if you’re going low enough, try squatting onto a box that’s slightly lower than knee height. Each time your glutes make contact with it, that’s a legitimate rep.
  4. Stand back up and repeat.

Once you’ve perfected your form, it’s time to take…

The 30-Day Squat Challenge

Perform the prescribed amount of air squats each day. Try to do them all in one set, but if you do need to take a breather, try not to pause again for at least ten more reps. It’ll be tough, it’ll burn, but you’ll have buns of almost literal steel by the end of it. 

Day 1 50
Day 2 55
Day 3 60
Day 4 Rest
Day 5 70
Day 6 75
Day 7 80
Day 8 Rest
Day 9 100
Day 10 105
Day 11 110
Day 12 Rest
Day 13 130
Day 14 135
Day 15 140
Day 16 Rest
Day 17 150
Day 18 155
Day 19 160
Day 20 Rest
Day 21 180
Day 22 185
Day 23 190
Day 24 Rest
Day 25 220
Day 26 225
Day 27 230
Day 28 Rest
Day 29 240
Day 30 250

Once you’ve done the 30-day challenge, try to keep it up by squatting at least twice a week. To go to the next level, find yourself a squat rack and move on to our bodyweight back squat challenge on the next page.

NEXT: Bodyweight Back Squat Challenge