The lowdown on climbing this month’s Squat Ladder
The 10th Monthly Challenge of 2018 is a Squat Ladder. The aim is to work through the highest level possible, completing air squats (no weights) from the lowest quantity listed in a level (a step) to the highest. You’ve got the month of October to complete this challenge.
Here’s how it works: Everyone starts at Level 1. You have a full day to complete the target quantity, although if you want a bigger challenge, you can take on a rule that the daily target must be completed in an unbroken set.
Once you finish a level, you move on to the start of the next level. For example, on day 1, you complete 5 squats. And then, on the next day that you choose to do squats (doesn’t have to be the next calendar day), you complete 10 squats. This continues with 25 and 50, after which you graduate to Level 2, starting at 75 squats in a day.
Here are the levels and quantities:
- Level 1: 5, 10, 25, 50
- Level 2: 75, 100, 150, 250
- Level 3: 500, 750, 1000
- Level 4: 1000, 1500
- Level Femi: 2,000+
Once you reach your perceived max for the month, you have some choices:
- I’d like to see you challenge yourself to take one more step on the ladder, especially if you’re in the Level 1 and 2 range. For example, if you are tempted to stop at 100, then take a break for a few days and go for 150. Be smart though, and work your way up slowly if you are new to this movement or getting back into shape after a long break.
- If you are below Level 3, then repeat your max step quantity as many times as you wish during the month. For example, let’s say you stop at the end of Level 1, 50 squats, and don’t wish to move into Level 2. Then, you make your new target to complete X 50-squat days to finish out the month. You may go on to do 50 squats a day for 5 more days in the month. Or perhaps you make it through 500 squats, and rather than go for 750, you repeat 500 squats one additional day.
- Once you’ve climbed the ladder to a stopping point that you feel good about, you’re done! Celebrate your month of consistency and the associated physical gains, and get ready for the November challenge!
Have fun with it!
Several years ago, I did a 1,000 squat workout on a cruise ship. That environment made the challenge much more interesting and entertaining to complete. I also did a 2,014 rep challenge once as a New Year celebration.
You can also make all kinds of rules variations to add challenge, variety and fun. For example, squats only count when completed after a run or bike, or after a CrossFit workout. Or, squats only count when done with a friend or on top of a mountain.
Every month’s physical challenge comes with a secondary challenge related to growth, community, education, etc. This month’s secondary challenge is mentor someone in your profession or area of expertise. This mentoring may be as simple as sending some encouraging words and guidance. You may also choose to set up a series of monthly or quarterly meetings, to serve as a sounding board, to share lessons learned, etc. It’s up to you!
How to Join
Just ask to join this closed Facebook Group — for support and accountability. The support group on Facebook brings friendly and supportive people together from around the world.
Once you’re in, feel free to add any friends who want to join.
It’s not required that you post on the group, or even join it in the first place. It’s more fun and motivational in a community though!
By the way, this whole thing is FREE — just good people coming together to support each other.
Helpful Tools & Ideas
Reminder and Accountability Apps: I use the iPhone app called Productive to remind me and keep accountable during our challenges. There are others as well. These apps are excellent for accountability.
Here’s a helpful video on air squat technique:
Do squats in a warm-up, buy-out, Tabata, etc. count toward a daily challenge? Yes, unless you self-imposed an unbroken set rule.
Can I count weighted squats or do the full challenge weighted? It’s up to you. My primary request is that you are smart about the load you bring to your body. If you think high volume weighted squats are for you, then that’s your call, but it’s not the direction I’d advise in a general challenge like this. You could consider advanced variations with a weight vest, kettlebell, sandbag, etc., but again, be smart about it, especially at the higher daily rep levels.
May I join late? What is the deadline? You may join any time you want, including late in the month. Really? Sure. It’s more fun to join closer to the start of the month. If you discover the challenge later in the month though, then please go for it and join us!
How do I join if I’m not on Facebook? Just say I’m in out loud 3 times, and you’ll be in! If you want to connect the dots and receive a virtual high-five, feel free to also drop me a note at [email protected] or say hi on other social media channels (links in footer).
May I join the challenge, but start my own Facebook group for my gym, club, friends or community? Sure. I’d love to see you in the global group, so how about both?
I hope you join us!
— Coach Jeff
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.