Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 200 Squats Challenge: just for thin people?

Confession: when I started the 200 Squats Challenge, I could barely do 10 squats.

Even then, they weren't quite "proper" squats, the kind where the thighs were close to parallel with the ground. In fact, for the first two weeks my knees were so stiff that I had to hang onto the edge of a door frame to lower myself down. (Getting back up wasn't the problem; the problem was that the muscles/tendons/ligaments wouldn't stretch.) I made a note, at the beginning, that I might not be able to do squat for six weeks.

Well, I did it. 200 squats in one fell swoop.

Progress: After the second week, the muscles/tendons/ligaments suddenly seemed to get the idea and I could do the squats more easily. Which is fortunate, because that's when they started to multiple. (The squats, that is. Not my ligaments.)

The 200 Squats Challenge starts out so easy that you don't feel discouraged. And then when it gets harder, it always feels just doable. Each week, I improved. Also, I liked making jokes about 'doing squat.' (Juvenile, I know.)

The first few squats were always a bit awkward, until the knees felt warmed up. My knees felt swollen after one session, and on several occasions the glute muscles reminded me that I'd done squat the next day after a session. Other than that, there weren't any problems -- so long as I maintained the "proper form." If I started to slouch a bit (and thus rounding the back), the lower back would remind me why this was a bad idea.

Results: After six weeks, I can tell that my legs are a lot stronger than they were when I started. They even look more shapely (as does my behind). Jogging up a hill is noticeably less of a challenge now; the glute muscles propel me up the slope easily. Squats are a fabulous way to get the heart rate up when you don't have time for a full workout.

And frankly, I feel good about this because I didn't know if I could make it. I love it when this overweight, out-of-shape body surprises me with its capacity for improvement.

No, the 200 Squats challenge is not just for thin people.

Exercise du jour: I wanna do 40 minutes on the elliptical. Can I go that long? I have no idea. Let's find out.

Done! Did 45, so I could count it all for the HBBC challenge.



Keith said...

Congrats on the squats challenge! I've not the faintest idea how many I could do while maintaining "good form". I suppose I'll have to go to the page and see. Why are we not seeing before and after pics of the shapely legs?

Kelly the Happy Texan said...

That is so awesome. I've thought about trying it too but it sounds so painful LOL You are a rock star.

40 minutes on the elliptical sounds tough but I am sure you can do anything you make the commitment to do.

C said...

I'm really liking the sound of all of this. However, I'm a bit of a wimp. After failing to complete the push-ups and sit-ups challenges, I don't think I'll do much better with squats.

Tricia said...

congrats! i need to hop on board with the challenge....anything to shape up my rear

Judith said...

That's great news, and very reassuring. I'm still struggling with "proper form". My knees are very uncooperative about bending.

messymimi said...

Of course it's not just for thin people, thank you for proving it. Yes, you probably can do 40 minutes.

Like i said, keep doing squats, some, so you don't lose that tone.

Retta said...

Ha ha ha .... I JUST read the fine print under your blog title... funniest I've read in awhile. You deserve a bright sparkly virtual object just for that. :-D


Lanie said...

I've been thinking about doing the squat challenge and maybe I'll even start it tomorrow now since it looks like we'll be snowed in and not able to get to the gym easily. I'm impressed, proud, and inspired!

Have you done the push-ups or sit ups challenges that are similar?

The Merry said...

Rettakat, I have sworn to achieve world domination -- domination of my world, that is. Not planning on enslaving minions or anything like that. Well, unless they're really cute minions.

Lanie, yes, I did the push and sit up challenges together, which I really recommend. It's much easier to do push ups when your core muscles are stronger, plus while you're down on the floor you might as well do sit ups as well. (Though if you're like me, you might want to try modified push ups or wall push ups. I actually did the push up challenge twice, the second time full push ups, because I wasn't strong enough the first time.)
p.s. Push ups stink, but your arms look better when you're done.

The Merry said...

Excuse me, Xenia, but who are you calling a wimp? Not the woman who ran a friggin' marathon about a year after she started running for the first time? Sheesh!

MessyM, yes, I do plan to keep doing squat. It's a great way to get the heart rate up without spending a lot of time working out.

Tricia, you're already awesome! I bet your rear is too.

Judith, I agree. Knees are a (literal) pain. It worries me to be having trouble bending my knees before I've even hit 50.

The Merry said...

Kelly, thank you. I am still impressed with your 30 days of 5ks. I think that I'm going to have to try that next time I do a month-long challenge :)

Keith -- can't post a picture of my legs. The glare, you know. The legs are so pale people would be blinded. I'm so thoughtful sometimes... ;)

JavaChick said...

Good job Merry!