I know that sounds freakish. But I actually went ahead and did 1000 squats a day. It was unlike any other fitness challenge I’ve tried before. It was almost like an equalizer, or an eye opener.
It absolutely ripped to shreds, all inflated notions I had about my fitness levels.But after all of it, I survived and am here to tell the tale.
I am pretty sure that most of y’all have bumped across the ‘1000 squats a day challenge’ on TikTok.
Many fitness buffs and IG influencers claim to have gone ahead and nailed this (though I seriously doubt half of them even went past halfway)
I got tempted into trying it for two reasons mainly. I am born with chicken legs. Secondly, I have always skipped leg day. Yeah, I am that guy with boulder-shoulders on twigs.
Given my hatred for all things lower body, I thought that this would be the perfect test of my will.
If I was able to do 1000 squats a day, I should definitely be able to hit my legs more frequently going forward, without as much effort.
So, with these motivations firmly drilled into my brain, I set forth to do 1000 squats a day.
Here are my results, learnings and two cents.
Is it Even Possible to do 1000 Squats a day?
Yes, it is.
But its not a cakewalk, if that’s what you expect it to be.
I don’t care if you have the boasting rights in the neighborhood for the max squat or deadlift. Doing 1000 squats a day will be the toughest thing that you will ever try physically.
Then there’s time management and recovery to account for.
What Would Happen if You Did 1000 Squats a Day?
Here’s a glimpse into what will happen if you did 1000 squats a day.
- You will not walk for the next few days. You will crawl around home. You will weep when you sit on the pot for the morning ritual. Anything that has to do with your lower body, flexion, extension, adduction, will bring tears to your eyes.
- You will realize that a day is only 24 hours long. You want an hour more to squeeze in some more reps. Only, the clock is running a lot faster than normal. Your trembling legs are begging for some more rest. But you’ve got to catch up with them numbers.
- You will realize that you have more strength than you imagined.
- Fatigue will hit you like an express train by the end of the day.
- Your legs will transform in front of your own eyes. This is coming from someone who has no definition or size in my lower body. 1000 squats a day did what no number of lifts could.
- You’ll understand the difference that hitting your legs will bring to your musculature.
How I Went About Doing 1000 Squats a Day
Most of you are probably wondering how I managed to do 1000 squats a day. Was it easy? Can anyone start doing 1000 squats regardless of their fitness levels?
I didn’t hit 1000 squats on the first day. Hell, I wasn’t even close on day 1. In fact, I managed only 200 squats on day 1. It took me 5 days to hit 1000 squats.
Then, I stayed at 1000 squats for two days. In total, I did 5000 squats in a week.
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Day 1 – 200 Squats Only! 20% of my target number
On day 1, I was super charged to hit 1000 squats. But I made a terrible mistake. I did not warm up my legs. I hopped straight into the workout and started pumping out the squats. After I hit 50 or so, my legs just went numb.
So, I took breaks. Divided the total into sets of 50. At the end of the day, I was only able to do 4 sets. My legs were on fire already.
Day 2 – 400 Squats – Double my first day
On day 2, I got up and went for a 5K run. I also threw in some pre-squat stretches from Athlean-X. You can check them out over here
These helped a lot. My legs were nice and warm by the time I got started. I managed to hit 100 reps in my first set. I felt that today was the day when I was going to hit 1000. But after 4 sets of 100 each, I called it quits. The quads were the most painful of all leg muscles.
By the end of the day, the soreness was severe. It wasn’t as tough as day 1 maybe. But definitely not easy either.
Day 3 – 600 Squats – Crawled at a Snail’s Pace
Day 3 was uneventful, except for the 50-rep increment in the sets. I did a first set of 150 and then continued to do 150-rep sets until I hit 600. Couldn’t even lift my leg to hop on my bike after that. So decided to call it quits, without risking an injury.
Day 4 – 800 Squats – Almost Injured. But Didn’t Want to Back Down
Day 4 was the opposite. It was as eventful as they come. Started with a mild muscle pull in the hamstring during the 5K warm up run. Then there was acute pain during my first set of 100. Oh yes. From 150, I dropped down to a 100-rep set.
I was pretty sure after the first set that I wouldn’t be able to continue anymore. But I did some hamstring stretches to loosen the hamstring. It worked like a charm. In case you are interested, here’s a video
I took a two-hour break and then hit the squats again. This time I managed two sets of 150-reps each, taking my total to 400. Two more sets of 150 in the evening took it to 700 and my body was screaming for rest.
But I didn’t want to spoil the momentum and did a mini-set of 100-reps again before bed time. The grand total was 800.
Nearly there, yet so far.
Day 5 – 1000 Squats!
Day 5 dawned. I took it a little slow during my 5K warm up. Didn’t want to exhaust myself or risk another hamstring pull. Instead of the usual 150, I stuck to 100-rep sets until I touched 500. Then I increased it by 25 and did another 4-sets until I hit 900.
As usual, hit another set of 100 before bed time. This time, I played smarter. Divided the sets through the day spacing them out by an hour at least. Didn’t hit the couch straight after the sets. Kept moving around ensuring that the muscles didn’t cool down.
It was tough as nails. But I was mighty thrilled at touching 1000 squats for the first time in my life. I wanted to keep at it at least until the weekend.
Day 6 & 7 – 1000 squats
Believe it or not, things started to ease out on day 6.
Maybe my body was getting used to the stress or getting closer to adapting to it. It was 50% easier than it was on day 1, although I was doing 80% more reps.
On day 7, I managed 5 straight sets of 200 reps.
Results and What I Learned
Here’s what I learnt from my ‘1000 squats a day’ experience.
Lower Body Is Worked Like Never Before
Bodyweight squats primarily target the quads and the glutes. But when the volume is so high, even the secondary muscle groups, like the hamstrings, the hip flexors and the calves are recruited way beyond what’s normally possible.
1000 squats are a full lower-body workout program. Don’t be fooled into believing that you are only hitting quads and glutes. Albeit being a body weight workout, the high number of reps gives this workout quite the edge.
It’s A Great Test for Your Fitness Level
Think too highly of yourself and your fitness levels? Here’s the equalizer folks. I used to brush off recommendations from my trainers to focus on my lower body, and thought I didn't need to measure my fitness level overall.
Well, this was the eye opener. It’s a terrific cardiovascular workout too, as long as you're not doing it as part of your cardio after workout.
You will end up drenched in a puddle of sweat and tears.
You Burn More Calories than Usual
Talking about cardiovascular workouts, try doing these at high speed. Like an HIIT. You can even add a jump at the end to make it more challenging. Or some lightweight dumbbells.
Doing 1000 squats will scorch calories. Not kidding. I dropped a ton of water weight in a week.
If you seem to have gained weight overnight, this could be a fantastic way of shaking it off.
Related Reading; Hips Don't Lie: How Many Lunges Should You Do a Day?
You Muscles Will Need More Recovery Time
24-hours is not an adequate amount of time between two workouts involving 1000 squats. You will be sore constantly and will have to work through the soreness. Your muscles will require more time to recover.
Squats may be great for building quads and glutes but too many squats will work more muscle areas and you will need more time to recover.
You Risk Injury
In hindsight, I got away lightly with that hamstring pull. It could very well have turned into a debilitating injury that could have put a premature halt to my workout plans.
Keep this in mind.
There is a very distinct possibility that you may not be as lucky as I was. There’s a high risk of injury in a workout challenge such as this. From minor muscle tears to severe ones, the risks are many.
It’s Frankly, Not Worth It
My motivations for trying the 1000 squats a day challenge were firm. I always lacked the will to hit my lower body. I would find excuses and avoid getting into that squat cage. Hell, I wouldn’t even do simple exercises like the leg raise.
I thought that this was probably the best way to push myself into a lower body focused workout program. But I feel that its not really worth the risk. There’s too much volume, with inadequate rest intervals.
You are hitting the same muscles for 7-days a week. The fatigue will leave you with no gas in the tank to do anything else.
It’s a no-brainer. Don’t try this. I don’t recommend it one bit.
If you want to do exercise challenges that are fun and are actually doable, you should try the 100 jumping jacks per day or doing 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats per day or mixing these two challenges for a daily full-body workout session.
Why Do People Try to Do 1000 Squats Per Day?
I have read various posts on messaging boards talk about people’s reasons for trying this. Here’s my two cents for each one of those reasons.
Wanting to Ape/Emulate Your Favorite Ig Fitness Guru
You need a different fitness guru. That’s all I can say about that. Gurus that peddle workouts like these aren’t worth your attention.
Wanting to Lose Weight
You lose weight in the kitchen my friends - whether you're trying to get rid of belly fat or shake off a few pounds overall. Dial down your nutrition. Calculate your TDEE. Ensure that you are eating in a calorie deficit. Do your HIIT/LISS cardio.
That’s all there is to it really.
Wanting to Build a Round Booty/Stronger Legs
You are in the same boat as I am. But this is not the ideal way to achieve both those goals. You need a well-rounded lower body workout plan. Have a dedicated leg day and hit every primary muscle group in your lower body with a variety of exercises.
Do some walking lunges, hit the squat rack, do the donkey calf raise, do the tip toe farmers walk. That’s how you build thick leg muscles. Not with 1000 squats a day.
How Many Squats Should One Do in A Day?
Like every single exercise and workout program, your goal, your age, experience and current conditioning levels will determine the ideal rep and set count for you, if you want to squat daily.
There are some rules of thumb that are considered universal in fitness.
For hypertrophy, focus on 5-8 reps at 80-90% of your 1RM.
For strength, focus on 8-12 reps at 70% of your 1 RM.
This is not set in stone though. It’s a broad guideline that may or may not work for you. Speak to a coach and plan something that’s in tune with your fitness goal.
How Many Squats a Day to Make a Difference and See Results?
Ideally, you don’t need to do more than 60-squats a day, twice a week, to see results. But things are seldom ideal in fitness. So here are some recommendations.
- Start with a basic lower body workout routine incorporating squats. The Strongman 5 x 5 is a program as good as any.
- Test your strength and form while you are at it. Start with very light weights and work your way to heavier loads.
- Give your body adequate time to repair and renew. You don’t need to hit legs more than twice a week, unless you are chemically enhanced, or are a rugby player.
- Eat well. To grow, you have to eat in a surplus. Else, your body adapts to the stress, but you won’t notice a visible difference in muscle size.
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