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This Squat Challenge Will Transform Your Body

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Whether it’s trimming, firming, or lifting you're after, this 30-day squat challenge will make you want to flaunt your rear end — or at least love it a little bit more.

Why squats? An oldie but a goodie, the fitness move is a tried-and-true bum burner. “Not only do squats build muscle strength, the multi-joint movement has a metabolic effect, revving your heart rate, increasing endurance, and boosting your calorie burn — both during and after your workout,” says Angela Leigh, trainer and Equinox National Manager ETC. Leigh developed this easy-to-follow plan to target your glutes, hamstrings, and your oft-forgotten calves, helping you sculpt a firm bum, strong back, and sexy, shapely legs.

Before you tackle the move each day, complete 30 seconds of butt kicks, 30 seconds of high knees, and 30 seconds of jumping jacks. “A light warm-up gets blood pumping, preparing your body to move and shortening your recovery time,” says Leigh.

Then, set yourself up for a successful squat with the help of a bench or a chair. “For a proper squat, you want to lower down until your hips, knees, and ankles create a 90-degree angle,” says Leigh. “It’s easy to inadvertently pitch forward or not lower down as far as you think, so it helps to use the bench as a guide — when you feel your bum tap the seat, it’s time to stand back up.” As you get stronger, try lowering your target by using a shorter bench or chair to give you a more challenging squat.

Each day, perform three sets of the designated squat with a two-to-three minute break in between each set — and don’t skip your rest days! “Your body needs this recovery time to build the muscle and tone you’re looking for, and over-training will only hold you back,” says Leigh.

Basic Squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your back straight. Keep your toes slightly turned out.

Lift your arms out straight in front of you for balance, and lower your bum toward the ground, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.

When you feel your bum tap the seat, push through all four corners of your feet to return to standing.

Pro Tip: Think about driving your hip bones back to avoid leaning forward; keep your eyes facing straight ahead and your chest open to avoid rounding or arching your upper body.
Weighted Squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your back straight. Keep your toes slightly turned out. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.

Keeping your arms at your sides, lower your butt toward the ground, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.

When your bum taps the seat, push through all four corners of your feet to return to standing.

Pro Tip: Start with 5-lb weights. Next time, try 8 lbs and then 10 lbs. If you feel fatigued after a few reps, slowly lower the weights and finish the set using the lighter weights.

Hands-Behind-Head Squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your back straight. Keep your toes slightly turned out. Interlace your hands behind your ears, with your elbows out wide.

Lower your bum toward the ground, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes.

When your bum taps the seat, push through all four corners of your feet to return to standing.

Pro Tip: Equally push your head into your hands and your hands into your head. This will create tension that keeps your posture open and straight. Elbows should be wide enough that you can’t see them in your peripheral vision.


photographed by Lauren Perlstein ; styled by Bethie Girmai ; hair and makeup by Andi Yancey ; modelled by Micah Barnes at Wilhelmina Models

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