Blog Fitness Should You Do Bodyweight Squats Every Day?

Should You Do Bodyweight Squats Every Day?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should engage in at least two days of strength training per week. This is just enough to reap the benefits of increased muscle mass, better bone density, and improved metabolic health, while staying clear of overtraining (7). 

Plus, strength training has the added advantage of boosting your overall physical performance and reducing the risk of injury in everyday activities (10).

But when you’re thinking about incorporating squats into your routine, you might wonder: should I do bodyweight squats every day?

Daily exercise can be incredibly beneficial for your health. Since bodyweight squats require no equipment and can be done anywhere, it may seem like a good idea to do them every day. However, there are some important factors to consider before committing to this routine.

Will Bodyweight Squats Build Muscle?

Yes, bodyweight squats can build muscle, particularly for beginners or those who haven’t strength trained consistently (4). When you perform squats, you’re engaging major muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and even the core to some extent.

The key principle behind muscle growth is progressive overload, which involves regularly increasing the demands placed on your muscles. For novices, bodyweight squats provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth since their muscles are not yet accustomed to the load (8).

However, as you become more experienced, your muscles adapt to the resistance provided by your body weight. At this stage, adding variations or increasing the volume—such as doing more repetitions or sets—becomes essential to continue progress.

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Furthermore, research indicates that for muscle hypertrophy, the muscle should be exposed to mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress. Bodyweight squats can contribute to these factors:

  • Mechanical tension – When you squat, your muscles contract and generate force against the resistance. This mechanical tension is essential for building muscle (2).
  • Muscle damage – Squats can cause micro-tears in your muscle fibers, which prompts the body to repair and rebuild them. This process leads to increased muscle size over time (2).
  • Metabolic stress – The burn you might feel during and after a set of squats is due to the buildup of lactic acid and other metabolites in your muscles. This metabolic stress can contribute to muscle growth as well (2).

Therefore, bodyweight squats can indeed build muscle, but the rate at which you see progress will vary depending on your fitness level and how you plan your workouts.

bodyweight squats everyday  

Is It Good To Do Bodyweight Squats Everyday?

While bodyweight squats can be an effective exercise for building muscle and strength, doing them every day may not be the best approach. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Overtraining – Doing squats every day without proper rest and recovery can lead to overtraining. This can result in fatigue, decreased performance, and even injury.
  • Imbalanced training – Doing the same exercise every day can lead to muscle imbalances, as some muscles become stronger while others lag behind. To avoid this, it’s important to vary your exercises and incorporate other lower body movements into your routine.
  • Lack of progress – As mentioned earlier, muscle growth requires progressive overload. If you do the same number of repetitions, sets and the same weight every day, your muscles may not have enough stimulus to continue growing.
  • Increased risk of injury – With any exercise, proper form is essential for avoiding injury. When doing squats every day, it’s easy to get fatigued and slip into poor form, which can lead to injury.
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How Many Times a Week Should I Do Bodyweight Squats?

Aim to do bodyweight squats two to three times a week, with at least one day of rest in between. This will give your muscles enough time to recover and repair while still providing the necessary stimulus for growth.

Here are some considerations for how to structure your squat sessions:

Repetitions and Sets

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4 or more sets of 6-8 repetitions.
  • For building endurance and muscle endurance: Perform 3-5 sets of 15-20 repetitions with shorter rest periods between sets and a lighter load.
  • For strength and power: Do 4-6 sets of 3-5 repetitions with longer rest periods and a heavier load that is close to your 1 rep max.
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Rest Periods

Rest periods between sets are essential for muscle recovery. Take longer rests (around 2 minutes) if you’re lifting heavier weights or aiming for strength gains, while shorter rests (around 30 seconds) are suitable for building muscular endurance (9).

Other than rest between sets, make sure to take at least one day off in between squat sessions. You can still work on other muscle groups on rest days (such as upper body or core), but give your legs a break from squatting.

If you decide to take an active rest day (where you engage in light activity), consider whether or not the activity engages similar muscle groups as squats, and adjust accordingly. It could be beneficial to add in some static or even dynamic stretches the day after a squat session. This can help speed up the recovery from your squat heavy day.

But running or cycling, for example,  may engage your leg muscles similarly to squats, so it’s best to avoid these activities on a squat rest day.

Progression

You can increase the intensity of your bodyweight squats by:

  • Adding weight: Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell while squatting can add resistance and increase the difficulty.
  • Changing tempo: Slowing down the lowering phase (eccentric phase) of the squat or adding a pause at the bottom can create more tension in your muscles.
  • Incorporating other exercises: To avoid overtraining and imbalances, consider alternating days of squats with other lower body exercises such as lunges or deadlifts.

Individual Considerations

Recommendations are one thing, but everyone’s body is unique.  If you’re new to exercise, it’s normal to feel sore for a few days after doing squats. Take it easy and give your muscles enough time to recover before doing more.

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If you’re relatively fit, you may find bodyweight squats not so challenging. You may be able to do them daily, as they might not provide enough stimulus to cause overtraining or muscle imbalances.

In the latter case, use your body as a guide and adjust your training frequency and intensity accordingly.

Read more: Calisthenics Warm Up 101: Bodyweight Exercises To Get Your Blood Flowing Before Your Workout

Can You Lose Weight By Just Doing Squats Everyday?

Just doing squats every day for weight loss is an approach we discourage because:

  • Spot reduction is a myth: Doing squats every day might lead to stronger leg muscles, but it won’t necessarily result in fat loss in that area. Your body will burn fat wherever it wants, regardless of the exercises you do.
  • Limited calorie burn: While squats can contribute to burning calories, they are not the most effective exercise for weight loss compared to others like cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). As these forms of exercise typically burn more calories when done in the same duration as weight lifting
  • Need for a balanced approach: Weight loss requires a combination of regular exercise, healthy eating, and lifestyle habits. Focusing on one exercise alone will likely not result in significant weight loss.

While squats certainly use up calories and may contribute to weight loss, incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine is key for overall fitness and sustainable weight loss.

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Here are some suggestions for using bodyweight squats for weight loss:

Combine Squats with Cardio

Incorporating 20-30 minutes of cardio (such as running, cycling, or jumping rope) into your workout routine can significantly increase calorie burn and contribute to weight loss. Try doing squats in between cardio intervals for a full-body workout (12).

Incorporate Resistance Training

Adding resistance training exercises such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises like push-ups and planks can help build muscle, which in turn helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories (10).

Reduce Your Calorie Intake

Remember that weight loss is not just about exercise, but also diet. Make sure to create a calorie deficit by monitoring your food intake and focusing on healthy, whole foods (3). 

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bodyweight squats everyday  

FAQs

  • 1s 100 Bodyweight Squats Enough?

Completing 100 bodyweight squats a day can be beneficial, but whether it is “enough” depends on your fitness goals and current level of conditioning.

Doing 100 bodyweight squats is likely enough for:

Improved Muscle Endurance: Performing 100 squats daily can significantly improve your muscle endurance, especially in the quads, hamstrings, and glutes (5).

Increased Strength: Even though bodyweight exercises generally focus on endurance, doing a high number of repetitions can still lead to modest strength gains (4).

Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: High-repetition, low-weight exercises like bodyweight squats can also offer cardiovascular benefits due to their repetitive nature and their ability to increase heart rate over time (1). 

However, such a program may not be good enough for:

Progressive Overload: To continually build muscle, you need to incorporate progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the difficulty of the exercise by adding weight or increasing the number of repetitions and sets over time (8)

Variety for Balanced Fitness: Focusing solely on squats could lead to an imbalance in your workout routine. Incorporating other exercises that target different muscle groups is important for overall fitness.

N/B: While doing 100 squats every day is impressive and beneficial in several ways, it may not be necessary to do them daily. Research suggests that even performing 100+ squats three days a week can be enough to produce increases in strength and muscle size (4).

  • What Will Happen If I Do 100 Squats a Day for 30 Days?

Performing 100 squats a day for 30 days can bring about several significant changes to your body. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Improved Leg Strength and Muscle Definition

Your legs, particularly your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, will become stronger and more defined. The repetitive motion of squats targets these muscles, leading to noticeable muscle growth and improved strength (4).

2. Enhanced Glute Development

Squats are highly effective at targeting the gluteus muscles (5). Consistently performing 100 squats daily should help firm up and shape your buttocks, enhancing overall lower-body aesthetics.

3. Better Posture and Core Strength

Squats engage your core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back. Over time, this can lead to better posture and increased core stability, reducing the risk of injuries during other physical activities (1).

4. Increased Flexibility

Regular squatting can improve the flexibility of your hips and ankles. This increased range of motion contributes to better movement patterns and reduced stiffness in these areas (1).

5. Mental Well-being

As with most exercise routines, committing to a 30-day squat challenge can boost your mental well-being. The consistency and physical exertion can lead to the release of endorphins, improving mood and reducing stress (1).

6. Potential Challenges

  • Adaptation: Your body may start adapting to the routine, potentially leading to a plateau in progress after some time. .
  • Overuse Injuries: Without proper form or rest, you might be at risk of overuse injuries. It’s crucial to maintain good technique and listen to your body’s signals.

If you’re considering undertaking this challenge, it’s also beneficial to complement it with a balanced diet and sufficient rest to maximize your results.

  • Can I Get Ripped With Bodyweight Exercises?

Performing 100 squats a day for 30 days can bring about several significant changes to your body. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Improved Leg Strength and Muscle Definition

Your legs, particularly your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, will become stronger and more defined. The repetitive motion of squats targets these muscles, leading to noticeable muscle growth and improved strength (4).

2. Enhanced Glute Development

Squats are highly effective at targeting the gluteus muscles (5). Consistently performing 100 squats daily should help firm up and shape your buttocks, enhancing overall lower-body aesthetics.

3. Better Posture and Core Strength

Squats engage your core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back. Over time, this can lead to better posture and increased core stability, reducing the risk of injuries during other physical activities (1).

4. Increased Flexibility

Regular squatting can improve the flexibility of your hips and ankles. This increased range of motion contributes to better movement patterns and reduced stiffness in these areas (1).

5. Mental Well-being

As with most exercise routines, committing to a 30-day squat challenge can boost your mental well-being. The consistency and physical exertion can lead to the release of endorphins, improving mood and reducing stress (1).

6. Potential Challenges

  • Adaptation: Your body may start adapting to the routine, potentially leading to a plateau in progress after some time. .
  • Overuse Injuries: Without proper form or rest, you might be at risk of overuse injuries. It’s crucial to maintain good technique and listen to your body’s signals.

If you’re considering undertaking this challenge, it’s also beneficial to complement it with a balanced diet and sufficient rest to maximize your results.

Can I Get Ripped With Bodyweight Exercises?

Yes, many people have successfully achieved a ripped physique using only bodyweight exercises. Here are a few anecdotal examples:

  1. Herschel Walker:

The former NFL player and MMA fighter is renowned for his incredible physique achieved mainly through bodyweight exercises. His daily routine includes thousands of push-ups, sit-ups, and other calisthenics movements.

  1. Frank Medrano:

Frank Medrano is a calisthenics expert and fitness model who built his ripped body using bodyweight exercises. His routines emphasize high-intensity workouts with exercises like pull-ups, muscle-ups, and various push-up variations.

  1. Al Kavadlo:

A well-known figure in the calisthenics community, Al Kavadlo has authored several books on bodyweight training. His lean and muscular physique showcases the effectiveness of exercises such as handstands, pistol squats, and human flags.

  1. Navy SEALs Training:

The rigorous physical training of Navy SEALs often relies heavily on bodyweight exercises, including push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and running. Many SEALs develop impressive strength and endurance without extensive use of weights.

Key Takeaways from These Examples

  • Consistency: Daily or regular workouts are crucial.
  • Intensity: High reps and challenging variations keep the muscles engaged.
  • Creativity: Utilizing different bodyweight exercises to target muscle groups from various angles.
  • Diet and Rest: Proper nutrition and sufficient recovery play a significant role.
  • Individuality: These are all elite athlete examples so keep in mind your own capabilities when attempting to complete one of their challenges. 

Sample Routine Inspired by These Success Stories

Morning Routine

  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 25-50 reps
  • Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Sit-Ups: 3 sets of 30-50 reps
  • Squats: 3 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Planks: 3 sets of 1-2 minutes

Evening Routine

  • Dips: 3 sets of 15-20 reps (use parallel bars or a chair)
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps per leg
  • Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Burpees: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Handstand Holds (against a wall): 3 sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute

These routines emphasize volume and intensity, similar to the workouts performed by the individuals mentioned. With dedication and proper progression, it’s entirely possible to get ripped using bodyweight exercises.

  • What Happens If I Do 500 Squats a Day?

Performing 500 squats a day should lead to various physiological and psychological changes, depending on factors like your current fitness level, diet, and overall health. Here are some potential outcomes:

  1. Increased Muscle Strength and Endurance:

Squats target the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Doing 500 squats a day can significantly improve the strength and endurance of these muscle groups (4).

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Health:

High-rep bodyweight exercises like squats can enhance cardiovascular fitness as they keep your heart rate elevated for extended periods (1)

  1. Enhanced Flexibility and Mobility:

Regular squatting can improve the range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles, contributing to better overall mobility (1).

  1. Fat Loss and Calorie Burn:

Squats are a compound movement that burns a high number of calories. Consistently performing them can help with fat loss and metabolic rate increase.

Potential Downsides

  1. Risk of Overuse Injuries:

Performing high volumes of the same exercise daily can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or joint pain, especially if proper form is not maintained (11).

  1. Muscle Imbalance:

Focusing solely on squats may lead to imbalances, neglecting other muscle groups. It is essential to incorporate a balanced workout routine.

  1. Mental Fatigue:

The monotony of doing the same exercise every day can lead to mental fatigue and decreased motivation over time.

Recommendations

  • Progressive Overload: Gradually increasing the intensity and volume of your workouts can help avoid injury and maintain continuous improvement (8).
  • Balanced Routine: Complement your squats with other exercises to ensure a well-rounded fitness regimen.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allowing time for muscle recovery is crucial to prevent overuse injuries and maintain long-term progress (6).
  • How Many Bodyweight Squats Is Impressive?

For a beginner, being able to do a perfect squat with proper form is impressive. As your strength and conditioning improve, the number of squats you can perform in one set also increases. Here are some benchmarks for different levels of fitness:

  • Beginner: 20 bodyweight squats in a row
  • Intermediate: 50 bodyweight squats in a row
  • Advanced: 100+ bodyweight squats in a row

Of course, these numbers are not set in stone and can vary depending on individual factors. The most important part of this is making sure that you are doing these with proper form. High repetitions with improper form will drastically increase your likelihood of injury.

  • Will 20 Squats a Day Make a Difference?

Any movement is good for your body and can have positive effects. However, to see significant changes in strength and muscle development, 20 squats a day may not be enough. It’s essential to progressively increase the volume and intensity of your workouts to continue seeing progress.

  • How Long Should You Hold a Bodyweight Squat?

The duration of a bodyweight squat hold can vary depending on your fitness level and goals. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Beginner: Start with holding the squat position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Advanced: Try holding for a minute or longer, while also incorporating variations like pulsing or adding weight.

Implementing a combination of static and dynamic exercises can provide a well-rounded lower body workout.

The Bottom Line

Bodyweight squats are an effective exercise for building muscle and strength. However, doing them every day may not be the best approach. Aim to do bodyweight squats 2-3 times a week with proper rest and recovery in between to see progress and reduce the risk of injury. 

Remember to vary your exercises, increase intensity, and listen to your body to avoid overtraining. Incorporating these principles into your routine should help you reap the benefits of squats, while avoiding potential setbacks.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 12 Benefits of Squats (2019,urbanfitness.com.au)
  2. A Critical Evaluation of the Biological Construct Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy (2019,nih.gov)
  3. Calorie Deficit: What To Know (2022,clevelandclinic.org)
  4. Effects of Body Mass-Based Squat Training in Adolescent Boys (2013,nih.gov)
  5. Health Benefits of Squats (2023,webmd.com)
  6. Making gains with your rest days (2018,colorado.edu)
  7. Physical Activity Guidelines (2024,acsm.org)
  8. Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise (2014,nih.gov)
  9. Profiling Rest Intervals between Sets and Associated Factors in Resistance Training Participants (2018,nih.gov)
  10. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health (2012,nih.gov)
  11. Resistance training – preventing injury (2015,betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
  12. The benefits of adding cross training to your exercise routine (2018,msu.edu)
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