Speed, speed, speed! That’s what this month’s YMCA fitness challenge is all about.

The challenge
How fast can you complete 50 bodyweight squats? All you need is yourself, a patch of flat and level ground and someone to time you. 3, 2, 1 GO!

What does it measure?
The bodyweight squat challenge will test your speed, endurance and mobility. Speed is key when you start, but the question is – can you keep that speed through all 50 reps? Maintaining your pace throughout this challenge is really going to test your endurance. But having speed and endurance will be of no use unless you have mobility. Can you get down low enough for the reps to count?

Our REPs qualified YMCA trainers are on hand to assess your mobility if needed and provide some tips to keep the movement safe, or a box to help you reach the right depth.

The benefits
The squat is a classic foundational movement. Every time you sit at a table, on the toilet, at a park bench, or on the bench press you're performing a squat. Having the mobility to perform a squat to adequate depth, and the pace and endurance to do 50 reps, is a great sign that you’ve mastered this fundamental human movement. Squats will also:

  • Increase your muscle tone and mass
  • Increase your muscular endurance
  • Improve your mobility (if done repeatedly)
  • And improve how quickly your muscles shorten, which can translate into an ability to jump higher    

Move it – the right way!
There’s a few key pointers to keep in mind with the squat:

  • Push your butt back! Critical to engaging your glutes, this will also reduce the stress on your knees.
  • Push down through your heels during the movement. Protect those knees by keeping them in line or tracking slightly outside of your feet as you move downwards. This will also keep your glutes involved.
  • Keep that chest up. Stay tall and proud throughout the movement with your head up.
  • Getting tired? Use your arms for momentum. Swing them forward on the way down, and drive them back past your body on the way up.
  • Lastly, if you’re using a box for support or to help you reach depth, just stick to touch and go … no sitting. Keep your movements fluid and consistent.

How will it feel?
50 squats is going to burn, but not in that intense way of the last fitness challenge. Your thighs will get hot and sweaty, and your breathing will definitely pick-up. The good news? It’s only 50 reps, so when you hit 26 you’ll know you’re half way. There’s only 24 to go. So dig deep and push on!

YMCA fitness challenges
Why not test yourself and try our other YMCA fitness challenges?