DIY Workouts Gym & Training

30-Day Squat Challenge

January 30, 2014

Ready for another challenge? This time we’re bringing you 30 days of a great workout for your lower body that also strengthens your back and ab muscles. SQUATS! As a reminder, Athleta’s selection of sports apparel is a great place to start your wardrobe. Without further ado, to get started…

Perfect Your Form


  • Hinge your hips, your booty should be slightly sticking out like you’re sitting down in a chair.
  • Your knees should be slightly above your toes or behind them when squatting down.
  • Point your toes slightly outward, and slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • When squatting down, make sure your hamstrings are parallel with the floor at a 90 degree angle.
  • Keep your head forward or slightly facing up.
  • Chest out, shoulders back.
  • Don’t round your back, it should have a slight arch.
  • Breath in on your way down and out on your way up.
  • Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right for your body, and consult a pro if you have an injury or are unsure if this challenge is right for your fitness routine.

There’s No Time Like the Present

Since February is a short month, we’re starting today, but the calendar below doesn’t include dates so you can start when it’s convenient for you. Click the image for a larger version you can save and print to track your progress.

Don’t waste another moment — enlist some friends to make it more fun, then get up from your seat and get your squat challenge on!

Squat Challenge

Special thanks to Jackie, our squat model and copywriter, for holding a squat with a smile.


  • Reply Paula January 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Is this per session or stretched out per day?

  • Reply Team Athleta January 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Paula,
    Let your body answer that for you. If you start feeling like doing it all at once is too much, spread it out through the day!

  • Reply B Macy January 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    What a about a challenge to squat heavier? The real way to get strong is to first learn how to squat properly, then start adding weight. Promote getting strong and lifting heavy (relatively speaking). That’s what women really need!

    • Reply Olivia July 31, 2017 at 7:03 am

      You are absolutely right, proper form then increase intensity and volume

  • Reply Beatriz Perea January 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    How many times a set? How many sets you suggest per day?

  • Reply chelle January 31, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I seem to really be attracted to and do well with these types of challenges! Thank you for the inspiration to give it a go!

    I did my first 50 this morning! And blogged about it too!

  • Reply alicia January 31, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Day 1 started today!!! and grabbing some friends to get in on it as well 🙂

  • Reply kathryn January 31, 2014 at 10:17 am

    When you squat, u you need to make sure you break parallel. Your model did not.

  • Reply c January 31, 2014 at 11:41 am

    What does “break parallel” mean?

  • Reply Trailmomma January 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    One of my favorite ways to get in squats, is to do them while brushing my teeth! That’s twice a day and an easy way to fit in some bonus execises. You can also consider during commercials while watching tv as well!
    Love these challenges! Go get ’em ladies!

  • Reply Jessie January 31, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Is there a way to print only the calendar?

  • Reply Jessie January 31, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Nevermind!! 🙂

  • Reply Sandy S January 31, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Yea, another fun 30 day challenge!!! So glad that Athleta let me use my voice as one of their 2013 sponsored athletes to spread the word of the fun planking challenge, and so happy to see that they’ve continued the fun with this planking challenge!! for those asking about how to execute this challenge, I would suggest breaking the squats up and doing them in segments throughout the day, as opposed to repetitively doing huge amounts of squats in a single “sitting.”

    challenging someone to squat heavier is a great way to increase the intensity of the challenge, but since athleta was writing for a general audience of different abilities, I think they chose the safe route and went with the non load bearing route. plus challenging participants to non weighted squats invites people to be able to knock out squats almost anywhere — lol even while brushing your teeth or watching tv (LOVED your comment trailmomma!! 🙂 )

    as far as “breaking parallel,” it means starting off by getting yourself in a 90 deg angle (L-shape), then dropping below that 90 degree mark, as staying above 90 deg puts the emphasis on your quads, while dropping below 90 deg/ breaking parallel/ going ‘arse’ to grass will activate your larger backside muscles — hamstrings and glutes. activating those larger muscles causes less stress on your back while working more muscle.

    happy squatting ladies!! 😀

  • Reply Ann February 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Any suggestions for some good stretches after the squats?

  • Reply LC February 2, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I’m pear shaped and always thought squats will make my lower half bigger. Is that true? I swear I had difficulty getting my jeans on.

  • Reply christy February 2, 2014 at 5:49 am

    I’m bus driver, dirt bike racer, life gurd, vidieo gamer, wife, daughter, sister,mom:) I’m always looking for ways to get in shape ! My husband an play black ops among other things we like to do sit UPS while we wait for each game session load every 7-10 min.we play inbetween deathmatch its a fun way to work out playing & work go hand in hand for balance i do love this inspiration thanx every little bit..”small an simple things can bring big change”

  • Reply anon February 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I would think “breaking parallel” wouldn’t be possible for most people. Nor does it sounds natural. No one squats or moves like that in normal, day-to-day life. And isn’t that what squatting is all about?

  • Reply Kate February 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I really wish you would ask the ladies to go below parallel. If you don’t go below parallel, your knees are stopping you not your hamstrings, quads and booty.

  • Reply Michelle February 5, 2014 at 3:36 am

    To the anon poster that says breaking parallel is not natural–I beg to differ. I am the mom to a 2 year old and my daily life involves 30 pound weighted squats where I break parallel! Break parallel ladies! Maybe not at first, but definitely work up to it as you become stronger and have better form.

  • Reply older lady February 7, 2014 at 6:20 am

    This chick makes it look so easy but when you’re 52 with not so great knees, it’s not……

  • Reply Laura February 11, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Older lady,
    Keep at it I’m 54 and I started slow and I am up to 100 squats a day!!! Just go to wherevyou’re comfortable and go a little deeper every day. That is unless medically you can’t do these exercises. Thigh exercises give you energy! I can’t believe how these make me feel:)

  • Reply Julie February 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    A friend suggested to 15 of us that we do the squat challenge and FB message each other when we have finished a day’s set. My 5 year helps me count them out each night 🙂 I added 2 lb weights for added benefit. So far, so good. Keep the challenges coming. My only source of exercise in the past has been running but this winter has been brutal so I appreciate the challenge.

  • Reply TreceCarroll February 12, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I am enjoying this challenge!!! I started off on track. Then I had a serious cheat day with my diet. So on day 6 I did 200 squats instead of 75 squats. It felt so good I decided to do 210 squats the next day. We’ll discuss in another post why I have to do 410 squats today. SMH! But thank you for doing the challenge. My legs will surely thank you come March and beyond.

  • Reply MayJayMom February 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Breaking parallel is not necessary to engage the glutes. Instead, start with heels just outside of hips, this will engage the quads and it will be more challenging to keep chest lifted. As you widen your stance, you will shift the challenge more into the glutes.

  • Reply Katy February 16, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’ve been an Orthopedic nurse and a personal trainer for 21 years. I’ve seen what breaking parallel can do to your knees. There is absolutely no need to put undo stress on your knees!! Use proper form and stay at 90 degrees.

  • Reply Tammi February 19, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Can you do this challenge using a large exercise ball against your back by a wall? I find that puts less stress on my knees and my posture is better.

  • Reply Mollie M February 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    What’s the 30-Day challenge for March? I started a group on Facebook “30-Day Challenge Divas” of 14 of my friends (and friends-of-friends) from around the country/world (we have one member in Zurich) and we all want to know what’s our next challenge? Also, for the month of March, in the spirit of Lent, we’re each giving up something – everyone gets to choose what they’ll give up. The group posts daily to remind and inspire each other. So what’s next?

    • Reply Team Athleta February 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hi Mollie,
      In March we’ll be doing something fun to benefit our non-profit partner, but don’t worry, we’ll have a new 30-day challenge for you in April! To keep your group’s momentum going, we have some great yoga tutorials. What about a 30-day yoga challenge? Keep me posted!

  • Reply Lynne February 25, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    THANK YOU for this great challenge. I organized a FaceBook team and we are on target to finish at the end of February. This month has been one of the most stressful of my life and this challenge gave me a focus and something that I could control and accomplish. Will you publish a follow-up calendar for squats?

    • Reply Team Athleta February 27, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Hi Lynne,
      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the 30-Day squat challenge and that it could help you through a rough month. You ROCK for making it through a month of squats! We’ll be doing something cool to benefit our non-profit partner during March, but don’t worry, we’ll doing another challenge in April! To keep up the momentum, we have a lot of great yoga tutorials. Maybe you could pick one to work up to next month! Keep me posted!

  • Reply Floresc April 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Do they have to be all at one time in the day?

  • Reply Team Athleta April 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Hi Floresc,
    Do what feels best for your body! If you start feeling like doing it all at once is too much, spread it out through the day!

  • Reply Bunny May 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I have a commercial grade total gym. Would you be able to do the squat challenge on the total gym or is it more effective doing a standing squat? If standing, can you hold weights in your hands or a bar across the back?

  • Reply Sandy S May 5, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Bunny, I looked up the Total Gym and apparently they’re hosting a 30-day squat challenge so absolutely you can do your squat challenge on your total gym. Whether you’re standing upright, or doing squats on your Total Gym, you’re still knocking out your squats and giving your legs a workout.

    As far as doing squats with weights, as long as you don’t have issues with your knees you can add weights. I’ve done squats both ways — with weights in my hands, as well as with a bar across my back. Just make sure you’re using the proper form when doing squats, and again, you have no issues with your knees.

    Have fun with the challenge!! 🙂

  • Reply Bunny May 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Sandy S…..thank you very much for your response..

  • Reply Bobby April 14, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Do this squat challenge and give back to a great cause at the same time, see below:

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