Fitness YouTuber Laurie Shaw has committed to a number of 30-day challenges, including taking up Muay Thai training and calisthenics workouts for a month. In his most recent video, Shaw sets himself the task of completing 100 squats using resistance bands for 30 days, to see if there is any increase in both the size and strength of his legs.
He tracks these metrics by taking before and after photos, and recording a one-rep max in the barbell squat on Day 1 and Day 30 of the challenge. “I’m obviously hoping to see a noticeable difference, or even just feel stronger and fitter in the legs,” he says, “but I’m also well aware that 30 days is not a significant period of time, and I may well not notice any differences at all.”
At the start of the month, Shaw maxes out on the barbell squat at 125 kgs. “I know it’s probably not a lot for bodybuilders, but for me, it’s quite a bit of weight,” he says. “It would be really awesome if I can lift 130 by the end of the 30 days, I’ll be pretty happy with that.”
Throughout the first week, Shaw comments that the banded squats tend to start out feeling fairly easy, but that there is a cumulative fatigue which builds and makes reaching 100 reps each day tougher than he had anticipated. “After only 20 reps on Day 2, my legs were already sore,” he says.
As he heads into the third week of the challenge, Shaw is getting used to the squats. “Although it definitely burns the legs to an extent, it’s not the most intense workout,” he says, “and a little more resistance would be nice.” In order to up the difficulty of the squats, he adds a barbell, combining the consistent resistance of the free weight with the increase in resistance from the band at the upper end of the movement.
“Each individual rep is still not that challenging, because I’m not lifting super heavy weight,” he says. “But it’s when I accumulate 100 together, the legs start to really burn.”
At the end of the 30 days, Shaw notes some slight growth in his legs, and is pleased to find that he has hit his target and improved his one-rep squat max to 130 kgs, an increase of 5 kgs.
Interested in trying resistance band squats on your next leg day? Stay cautious when the band is underfoot; keep your feet solidly planted on the ground to prevent the band from slipping. Additionally, remember that the band’s tension is at it’s highest when you’re standing straight, which is different than when you train with free weights, so you need to be mindful that the bottom position is actually the easiest part of the exercise.
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