Doing 100 squats a day may seem like something only masochists would choose to do. But if you commit to doing it every day for 30 days, you may be surprised at how it can benefit your lower body strength and appearance.
What results can you expect doing 100 squats a day for a month? Doing 100 squats every day for a month can help you improve size and strength, particularly in your quads, and increase muscular endurance. However, you may not notice significant changes if you’re an experienced exerciser. And while weight loss is possible, you need to also be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
In this article, I’ll provide an overview of what doing 100 squats a day entails. I’ll also discuss the muscle groups that are worked in squats, the benefits of squats, and tips on how to do 100 squats per day safely.
If you’re looking for a workout routine to go along with the 100 squats a day challenge, check out the Fitbod app. You can customize your routine to focus more on some of the muscle groups that squats don’t work directly (like the hamstrings) to help prevent muscular imbalances. You can also find stretches and mobility drills to help prevent muscle soreness and improve your squat form. Download the Fitbod app today and get your first three workouts for free!
What is the 100 Squats a Day Routine?
As the name implies, doing 100 squats per day requires you to do 100 squats every single day. You can do them unweighted or weighted, break them out into smaller sets throughout the day, and do different squat variations as long as you do 100 total squats in a day.
For example, if you don’t want to attempt 100 squats all in one set, you can do 5 sets of 20 or 10 sets of 10 at the top of every hour.
If 100 bodyweight squats (or air squats) are too easy for you, you can wrap a resistance band around your thighs or hold a dumbbell or kettlebell at your chest and do them goblet style. You can even add jumping squats to the rotation if you want to make them more dynamic.
Challenging yourself to do 100 squats a day can be beneficial if you’re trying to establish a new routine or looking for a way to add more movement to your day. It can help you improve your lower body strength, coordination, and muscular endurance.
Doing 100 squats a day could also be a good way to keep up with a routine if an injury prevents you from doing much else (depending on where the injury is and what your doctor or physical therapist recommends).
However, doing 100 squats per day can be a lot if you’re not used to it. Even doing air squats without any weight can leave you very sore if you’re not accustomed to doing so much squatting. And if you don’t do any exercises that directly target the back of the body, you could develop muscular imbalances.
As such, it’s important to ensure you have the right tools in place when you set a goal to do 100 squats a day. This will help you prevent injuries and asymmetries in strength and appearance. I’ll provide tips on how to manage 100 squats a day later in this article.
What Muscles Do Squats Work?
Squats work the following muscle groups:
- Inner thighs
- Spinal erectors
- Upper back
The quads do most of the work as you straighten your legs and stand back up from the bottom of the squat. The glutes are responsible for bringing the hips back into full extension and making sure the knees track over the toes properly. The hamstrings support the glutes in hip extension and help keep the knees stabilized.
The inner thighs are most activated in a squat as you rise from the bottom to extend the hips before the glutes take over. The calves help bring the shins back into a vertical position as you stand up.
The spinal erectors, which run up and down the outside of your spine, help keep the spine rigid and prevent it from rounding during a squat. The abs and obliques work to stabilize your vertebrae and prevent the spine from arching or twisting.
When doing barbell back squats, the upper back keeps the bar in a fixed position.
Different variations will target these muscles more or less, but each of these muscle groups are involved in some way.
Related Article: Squat VS Hip Thrust: Which Is Better For Growing Your Glutes?
How To Do a Squat Properly
Squatting mechanics are fairly similar regardless of which variation you do, though there will be some slight changes in technique based on whether you do them unweighted or weighted. And if you do them weighted, your technique will change slightly depending on what kind of weight you use and whether you hold it on your back or in front of you.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll provide instructions for doing an unweighted air squat.
Step One: Place your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes out
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re tall and/or have long legs, you may want to stand with a slightly wider stance. Make sure your toes are pointed out about 15-30 degrees.
Step Two: Take a deep breath into your stomach and make sure your shoulders are pulled down and back
Take a big breath and brace your core to keep your spine rigid. Roll your shoulders backward to engage your shoulder blades and pull them down and back.
Step Three: Squat down until your hip crease is below your knees
Breaking at the hips and knees at the same time, squat until your hip crease is below your knees. You can either keep your hands on your hips or bring them out straight in front of you as you squat down.
Make sure you keep your torso as upright as possible and don’t come up on your toes.
Step Four: Stand back up
Make sure your hips and knees rise at the same time and stand back up to return to the starting position.
5 Benefits of Doing Squats
1. They Improve Lower Body and Core Strength
We use our lower bodies every day for everything from walking to getting up from a chair to climbing stairs. Squats strengthen all of the muscles needed to perform those activities and also strengthen the joints, ligaments, and tendons in the surrounding areas.
This helps make everyday activities easier and reduces your risk of injury from doing basic tasks.
Because squats also strengthen the core, they can help improve posture and offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
All of this is especially important as you get older. Your risk of falls and bone fractures increases, and you generally aren’t as mobile in your 50s, 60s, or 70s as you are in your 20s. Doing squats can help keep you functional and independent as you age.
2. There Are a Lot of Variations
There are many squat variations, which means nearly anyone can do them regardless of how much equipment or space you have available. There are also plenty of ways to make them easier or harder based on your current abilities.
For example, you can do squats with a barbell on your back or resting on your shoulders in front of you, or you can hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest. You can wrap a resistance band or hip circle around your thighs.
If you’re working around or rehabbing an injury or don’t have the ability to squat all the way down, you can squat to a box or another high surface while you work on regaining the strength to squat below parallel again. (Of course, though, you should also check with a physical therapist or medical professional before attempting any exercise with an injury.)
3. They Work Multiple Muscle Groups
Squats are a great exercise for hitting multiple muscle groups at the same time. As you saw above, they target most of the large lower body muscles, the core, and some upper body muscles.
This makes them an excellent option for when you want to train more than muscle group but don’t have a lot of time to work out.
4. They Improve Sports Performance
Squats are excellent for developing lower body power and strength, which is necessary for sports like soccer, football, and basketball.
In fact, some studies have shown increases in athletes’ vertical jump heights and sprint times after following weeks-long squat programs.
5. They Improve Lower Body Mobility
Hip and ankle mobility is important for proper squatting mechanics. It helps ensure you can squat to proper depth, and hip mobility in particular can help prevent pain in your lower back, hips, and knees.
While most people need to do stretches outside of their structured workouts to work on their mobility, squatting can also help improve lower body mobility.
When you squat, you stretch your joints and the hip, ankle, and hamstring muscles. As you get used to squatting more, you’ll be able to improve your body’s ability to move through a full range of motion.
Related Article: 8 Benefits of Doing Squats For Weight Loss
Doing 100 Squats a Day for 30 Days: What the Research Says
There isn’t a ton of research done on the effects of doing 100 squats every day for a month, but there are some studies that show the benefits of doing high-volume squats consistently.
Study #1: 100 bodyweight squats per day saw a 4.2% decrease in body fat
In one study done on adolescent boys in Japan, the participants who completed 100 bodyweight squats per day saw a 4.2% decrease in body fat, a 3.2% increase in quad muscle thickness, and a 16% increase in quad strength.
However, it’s important to note that this study doesn’t discuss any nutrition changes the participants in the training group may have made. It also doesn’t disclose any previous training experience the participants did or didn’t have.
It’s possible that the body composition and strength improvements were also due to 1) improved dietary habits and 2) the fact that the participants were untrained individuals and were able to take advantage of some newbie gains (meaning their bodies responded quickly to the new training stimulus).
As well, the length of this study was 8 weeks, nearly double the amount of time of 30 days. If you cut the results reported in the study in half, you’d see that the changes that could occur after 30 days are nominal.
Study #2: Bodyweight squats per day showed significant improvements in leg press strength
In another study, older individuals (average ages between 68-71) who performed 140 bodyweight squats per day showed significant improvements in leg press strength and the number of sit-to-stand reps completed within 30 seconds.
These individuals only did squats three times a week, which shows that you may not even have to do 100 squats every single day to see results.
When it comes to doing 100 squats a day, research is conflicting. Some studies show only small increases in leg strength and size and small decreases in body fat, while others show significant improvement in muscular strength and endurance.
To fully realize all of the benefits of squats, you need to do them consistently for longer than 30 days. However, you may not need to do 100 squats every day, as even doing 100+ squats three days a week is enough to produce increases in strength and muscle size.
It’s also important to note that the most significant results may be found in untrained individuals. Improvements in body fat percentage, muscle size, and strength may not be as noticeable in those with more training experience.
Related Article: Can You Get Big Legs Without Squats? (Yes, Here’s How)
4 Tips for Doing 100 Squats a Day
1. Start With Low Reps
If you attempt to go from 0 to 100 squats a day, you’ll quickly start to question your ability to make logical decisions.
Even for experienced lifters and gym-goers, 100 squats a day can be challenging. You may think you can handle it, but even doing air squats at such a high volume can shock your system if you’re not used to doing that many squats.
If you’ve never worked out before, start by doing 30 squats a day for a week. Increase the reps by 10 each week until you’re at 100, and then proceed to do 100 squats a day for 30 days.
New exercisers may also want to start with squatting 2 days per week and adding one extra day each week until you’re able to do squats without extreme soreness or fatigue every day.
2. Don’t Just Do Squats
Aiming to do 100 squats a day is a good goal to shoot for, but you shouldn’t just do squats as your only exercise for an extended time. While squats work the muscles at the back of the body, your quads do a lot of the work. Doing nothing but squats can lead to muscular imbalances between the muscle groups on the back and front of your body.
I also recommend doing a few sets of exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings more directly. Examples include Romanian deadlifts, good mornings, glute bridges, and hip thrusts. You can do these exercises with a barbell at the gym or with a resistance band or dumbbells if you’re at home and don’t have access to a barbell.
You don’t have to do 100 reps of these exercises every day as well, but I’d recommend doing 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps at least twice a week to help balance out the muscles at the back of the body.
3. Don’t Expect a Lot of Weight Loss
Many people choose to do challenges like this in the hopes of losing weight. It’s possible to lose weight doing 100 squats a day, but you’ll need to do more than just squat. Specifically, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit (or eat fewer calories than your body burns every day) to lose weight.
You can determine how many calories you need to eat to lose weight by finding your maintenance calories (the number of calories you need to eat to keep your weight the same) using a nutrition calculator and subtracting 200-300 calories from that number to put yourself in a calorie deficit.
You’ll then need to track your daily calorie intake using an app like MyFitnessPal to ensure you’re staying within your allotted calories each day.
Additionally, just doing squats every day isn’t going to burn a significant number of calories. You don’t need to do a ton of cardio to lose weight, but you should make sure you’re at least getting enough steps throughout the day (a minimum of 10,000 for weight loss) and not just sitting still when you’re not squatting.
Related Article: Best Fat Loss Workout Plan For Females (COMPLETE GUIDE)
4. Stretch and Move Often
In addition to helping with weight loss (if that’s your goal), moving around often throughout the day will help ease any soreness you may experience from doing so many squats.
You can take a longer route to go the bathroom at work, pace while you’re on the phone, or walk around your house during commercial breaks when you’re watching TV to prevent your muscles from getting too stiff.
You may also want to walk around for 3-5 minutes before you start your squats if you’ve been sitting for a while. It will help loosen up your muscles so you don’t cause a muscle pull or strain.
Daily stretching can also help ease muscle soreness, and doing yoga or mobility drills for the hips and ankles will make it easier for you to get into the proper squat position. Good mobility exercises for squats include:
Related Article: 10 Minute Stretching Routine For Beginners
Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.
How To Do 100 Squats Per Day
Below are some ways you can get 100 squats per day by varying your sets and reps or doing them in time-based intervals.
You can add weight to these if you’d like, but remember that you’ll be doing squats every single day. You don’t want to choose a weight that will leave you so sore or fatigued that you can’t stick with the daily routine. Pick a load that lets you perform all 100 squats without your form breaking down.
With this many squats, I recommend doing them goblet style with a light dumbbell or kettlebell. If you want to use a barbell, I’d suggest decreasing the sets and/or reps for your barbell work (for example, 4 sets of 5 barbell back squats) and then doing lightweight or unweighted squat variations afterward until you get to 100 total reps.
I’d also recommend not doing weighted squat variations every single day and alternating between weighted and unweighted squat days.
Examples of how you can break out your 100 squats a day include:
- 10 sets of 10 reps, either with 1-2 minutes of rest in between until you’ve completed all 10 sets or doing each set sporadically throughout the day
- 5 x 20, following the same protocols as above
- 4 x 25, following the same protocols as above
- 10 sets of 10 reps, alternating sets between static squats and jump squats
- Alternate 30 seconds of squats and 30 seconds of rest until you’ve reached 100 squats
- Do squat Tabatas with 20 seconds of squats and 10 seconds of rest until you get to 100 squats
Can You Do 100 Squats a Day Forever?
I don’t recommend doing 100 squats a day forever, especially if you’re doing weighted squat variations multiple days a week. While your body will eventually adapt to the volume, it isn’t very feasible, and you may wind up burnt out and hating squats altogether.
If the challenge of doing 100 squats a day appeals to you, try it for 30 days at a time first (making sure to gradually work up to it as I described above if you’re a beginner). If you still feel good at the 30-day mark, keep going for another 7-14 days and reassess how you feel. At that point, you can keep going or take a break for a few days and then start over.
In total, I’d suggest doing 100 squats a day for no longer than two months at a time before giving yourself a break for a week or two and either starting over or moving on to a more structured routine.
You can find a workout plan that’s personalized to you and your goals in the Fitbod app. Download Fitbod today to get three complimentary workouts.
Doing 100 squats a day is a great way to build your leg and core strength, improve muscular endurance in your lower body, and establish a routine. It’s also a good way to add movement to your day other than just walking and getting in more steps.
There are benefits to doing 100 squats a day, but some research suggests that significant improvements in body fat percentage, strength, and muscle mass are seen in untrained individuals. You can also see results by doing 100 squats just three days a week.
If you do decide to do 100 squats a day, be sure to gradually work your way up to it and stretch and move often throughout the day to combat any soreness.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.