I've always been a sucker for a good challenge. Maybe it's because of the competitive streak in me, or perhaps it's due to my love for all things fitness, but whatever it is, I'm usually one of the first people to sign up for a workout challenge. And as someone who is currently chasing booty gains in the weight room, I was curious to see what would happen if I committed to doing 100 squats every single day for two weeks.
Of course, we're talking about 100 air squats here. There was no way I was about to do 100 weighted squats in one sitting - that is a level of fitness masochism even I would politely decline to take part in. But the catch was that I had to do all 100 squats in one session, meaning I couldn't break them up during the day. Having previously spent two years of my life as a CrossFit junkie, though, I knew that doing a high number of air squats was much harder than it sounds on the surface.
My booty and I made it through the two weeks in one piece, and here are the four major takeaways I gathered from doing this challenge.
It Felt Like Cardio More Than Anything Else
If you do 100 reps of anything, it ends up feeling like cardio. You start sweating, panting, and cursing. Your cardiovascular system is kicked into overdrive and your heart rate increases, which makes you feel badass and accomplished. After about 50 squats, I was breathing as if I had just taken a brisk run around the block, and by the end of all 100 reps, I was wiping the beads of sweat from my forehead.
As an avid weightlifter, I noticed that this challenge felt much more like cardio than strength training - and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there was one day when I was so tired from doing my 100 squats that I decided to skip my StairMaster cardio session. My legs had had enough for the day.
I Didn't See Any Significant Changes in My Butt
The photo on the left was taken shortly before I started squatting my ass off, and the one on the right was snapped right after the challenge ended. As you can see, there isn't any real difference in my butt - or my thighs, for that matter. I've heard from many different trainers that you need to add weights to your lower-body routine if you want to see booty gains, and I am living proof that this is true. Air squats simply weren't enough to grow my butt.
It Built Up Endurance in My Lower Body
By the end of the second week, I noticed in my HIIT cardio sessions and some of my endurance runs that my legs were able to go the extra distance. Because they had been conditioned to withstand an ungodly amount of squats every day, they were better prepared to get through the last few reps of box jumps or that very last mile. It was an exciting thing to see - all my hard work was paying off, even if in the smallest of ways!
It Didn't Improve My Strength Training
I still kept the same weightlifting program throughout my challenge, so I was still doing three lower-body sessions a week that focused on legs, hamstrings, and glutes. I would usually do the 100 squats before my strength-training session to get myself nice and warmed up for the heavy weights. However, I didn't see any significant improvements in my lower-body movements, like deadlifts, front squats, and hip thrusts. Although doing 100 squats a day certainly has its own advantages, getting stronger in the weight room is not one of them.
Like I mentioned earlier, this challenge felt like cardio more than anything else, and cardio is traditionally not known to help you reach new heights in your weightlifting program. It didn't necessarily take away from my lower-body sessions, but it definitely didn't give me any extra strength to complete them.
It Was Almost Too Easy at the End
You'd be surprised at how quickly your body adapts to new movements. By day 10, I started to notice that I could get through the whole set without really breaking a sweat. Without adding resistance or additional weight, I started to plateau. So with any challenge, whether it's for two weeks or 30 days, if you really want to see improvements and breakthroughs, you may have to incrementally make it harder for yourself as time goes on.