2 week Fitness challenge

It’s now November and Christmas is looming…are you are ready looking to test your strength? We” if that is a YES. We’re with you.

So how about a bodyweight squat challenge? Let’s run through a 14-day squat hold test to see if it’s possible to work your way up fitness wise with just 5 five minutes a day.

We know that bodyweight squats are the fundamental strength training move. They work on your strength and mobility, and best of all, require no equipment. But have you ever tried to squat and hold that squat for one minute… or five?

Squat holds are fantastic for engaging your quads and core, challenging stability and building full body strength. Many people can squat but are typically rubbish at holding them.

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Are you now on the hunt for a new fitness challenge to keep yourself feeling motivated and be physically stronger. Let’s accept the five-minute squat hold challenge!

I know what you’re thinking: five minutes is a long old time to squat, but the idea is to keep up the challenge and to perform a five-minute hold from the get-go. The idea was to build up to 300 seconds of non-stop squatting by the end of two weeks. 

MarkMeets readers, be under no illusions – this is not be easy. Squat holds are infrequent, they never exceeded 60 seconds and your legs may be wobbly like jelly after 10 seconds. Would it even be possible for me to achieve this in 14 days? we wondered.

“Five-minute squat holds are very extreme,” “Practice and perseverance, you will see progress. Just make sure your back, ankle and hip mobility is all correct before pushing your limits and consult a online doctor of necessary.”

So this challenge is definitely not for complete beginners but everything is possible.

“It’s a great way to challenge your body and being able to measure your progress is super motivating.” 

Admittedly, you may feel pretty nervous, but having built some lower body strength during your school days may help here and be in the know that the challenge and knowing that uou will feel a strong sense of accomplishment afterwards, so do give it a go. 


Squat holds are great for building and maintaining muscular strength in the lower body. “Working towards a five-minute hold will help improve your overall squatting technique, your mobility and could help you to lift more weight,” she says.

Also squat holds also offer many benefits, the main one being that they can help increase muscular stamina and endurance, as well as improve joint health.

“During a squat hold, you’re creating sustained tension in the muscles,”. “By doing this, you’re increasing time under tension, causing an increase in muscle breakdown. More muscle breakdown means more muscle growth.”

When you put a muscle under tension at its end range of motion (at the bottom of the squat), you’re helping your muscle tissues and joints adapt to that weight. That means that by keeping your muscles under resistance for a long period, you build strength, endurance and muscle tone. 

Squatting is one thing but holding a squat for one, two…five minutes is another.

If you’re also working on your core strength when you perform a squat hold: “If you’re squatting correctly, you’re engaging your core and back muscles. This will help build abdominal endurance and improve your balance and posture.”

As the core is the epicentre of all movements and our main stabiliser, says Sabri, doing regular squat holds could also benefit your performance in the gym and in other sports such as running and swimming.

What’s more, because a squat hold is a low impact, isometric (static) exercise, there’s less risk of injury compared with a dynamic, high impact move such as a jump squat. This means you can safely incorporate it into your training routine to develop muscular endurance without getting too fatigued for your more intense, weights-based training sessions.

You can also perform the exercise anywhere, you don’t need much space and there’s no equipment required. It’s ideal for when you can’t make it to the gym, you’re in a rush or away from home. 


  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned outwards. Make sure you engage your core and set your shoulders.
  2. Raise your arms out at shoulder level or clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  3. Slowly lower yourself into a squat position by bending at the knees and pushing the hips backwards. Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel with the ground.
  4. Take a moment to look down at your knees and ensure that they are positioned over the middle of your toes and not buckling in or outwards.
  5. Engage your core, breath and hold it for as long as you can.
  6. When you’re ready to come out of the position, return to standing by dropping your arms and pushing your hips forward.


What is the best way to progress from my sub-60 second squat hold time to five minutes in 14 days. So here is a great two-week programme to help you. 

DAYS 1-2

We suggest you kick off the challenge with a warm-up consisting of walking knee hugs, side shuffles, arm circles and walking lunges.

Working on ankle, hip and back mobility is key if you want to make sure my form is correct and don’t get injured, so follow this advice and do a few mobility drills including knee rocks, the cat-cow stretch, leg swings and our old favourite, the wall sit.

Now, it’s time to get started and thankfully, today’s challenge consists of 10 30-second squat holds, with a 30-second rest period in between.

Some people find sitting in a squat for 30 seconds relatively easy to begin with but as you go through the sets, we’re positve you will definitely start to feel it in the legs and glutes. It burns, but in a good way. 

It’s important to cool down, so afterwards, so once you have performed a few exercises stretching of your quads, calves and hamstrings. (Most people including us are usually a bit lazy with cooling down but I’m sure your body will thank you tomorrow).

Day two is the same process. In fact, we want you to look forward to your lunchtime squat hold session to change it up. Like day one, it doesn’t feel too challenging – seee how progress goes as the challenge continues.

DAYS 3-4

Let’s up the ante hey? Well ok then just for the next couple of days as and perform 10 40-second squat holds with just 20 seconds of rest in between.

It should definitely feels more challenging, particularly with the shorter rest period. By the last three sets, maybe your legs are quivering. Try some motivating music and sit through the five minutes of pain. 

You don’t need any equipment or any real space to try this fitness challenge.

Haven’t had much chance to exercise as you usually would? The change your mindset. “Setting aside 30 to 50 minutes a day to work your strength, mobility and mechanics is crucial if you want to achieve a five-minute hold,”..

With that in mind, on day four, try a lower body workout which includes goblet squats, heel elevated squats and sumo squats, with a few plank variations thrown in to work on my core strength. Then finish off the session with some of the back mobility drills especially if you sometimes feel a bit of tension in your lower back when you squat.

DAYS 5-7

Days five and six should are painful, to say the least. Work on 10 sets of 50-second holds with a 20-second rest period in between. This may feel significantly harder than the previous days.

On day five, if tired just manage eight sets. 50 seconds could feel like an eternity. Don’t overdo it. On day six, how many will you manage? 10??

“Making sure you have adequate rest and recovery is important to avoid injury,” “Squat holds can be challenging on the lower body when performed for extended periods of time so go easy on yourself, and make sure you’re eating nutritious food, drinking lots of water and sleeping well.”

Day seven is a rest day and be grateful. Your quads and hamstrings should feel sore when you wake up.


Week two is more brutal; it’s the final push towards that five minute hold.

DAYS 8-9

Now readers, this challenge isn’t fun, it’s brutal!

On day eight, trysquat holds right after a tough lower body session and do five to ten sets of minute-long squat holds.

On day nine, Do mix things up with squat holds first thing in the morning (if you are feeling optimistic and energised after a good night’s sleep). After a warm-up and mobility drills – sink into a squat and manage eight sets of one minute with 20 seconds of rest in between. 

DAYS 10-13

Over the next few days, it’s more of the same pain as you progress from five sets of two-minute holds to three sets of three-minute holds.

Work on three sets of two-minutes holds and extend the rest period to 30 seconds if needed when you get to three minutes. 

This challenge sounds simple but in practice, it’s absolutely brutal.

As I reflect on the challenge so far, I realise that it hasn’t just been physically demanding, it can be a huge mental challenge too. Enduring the discomfort and pushing through is hard, but it’s also extremely rewarding and you will feel great afterwards.

During the last few days of the challenge, we recommend yoou set aside at least 30 minutes each day to work on the lower body and core strength as this is super important if you are going to succeed.

DAY 14

How do you feel? Cntinue.


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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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