OK, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, stick your butt out and squat. Great. Now do that again and again, all day long. How many squats would you be able to do? What would happen to your body? And would your butt be enormous by the end of the day?
Squats are a key part of many workout routines. They target the muscles in your lower body like your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, or your butt muscles. On average, you’re likely to do 21 to 29 squats in a row before you need to take a break. But for the next 24 hours, there are no breaks. You’ll do one squat after the next.
Maybe you’re a superathlete and could end up beating the world record. That would be over 15,939 squats in one day. Now, get ready to feel tired, sore and miserable. Or worse, you could end up in the hospital. Set your timer to 24 hours, and let’s get started. Begin with your best form, and take it slow. Stick your butt out like you’re sitting on a chair and go. One. And two. And three.
This will get more difficult as time passes. You’ll start to get sore and your form will get sloppy. You could get injured. So slow down if you have to. But whatever you do, remember to keep your weight centered. Otherwise, you could put too much pressure on your knees and increase your risk of injury. And mind your posture.
If you round your back too much, you risk injuring your knees. It’s still early in your 24-hour squat marathon, so don’t make your experience even more painful. I should probably fill you in on the proper technique at this point. You need to squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure your knees are positioned over your ankles and not forward over your toes.
After only five minutes, your heart will be pumping faster and you’re breathing will be faster as your muscles will need more oxygen. But I’ve got good news. You just burned 19 calories. OK, that may not seem like a lot. But if you keep doing these low-intensity squats, you could burn up to 5,472 calories by the end of the day.
I have some bad news too. With every squat, you could be heading closer to a serious medical condition that would land you in the hospital. When damaged muscle tissues break down, they release electrolytes and proteins such as myglobin into the blood. It’s called rhabdomyolosis. Basically, too much myoglobin in the blood could damage some organs, cause a permanent disability or even kill you.
At first, it would be hard to tell these symptoms from the effects of your exercise. You’d feel muscle weakness, fatigue and soreness. That’s par for the course, right? But you’d also get a fever and nausea. And your urine would be dark-colored. Ugh. I’d see a doctor at this point. But you have a squat marathon to finish. In 2019, two teenage girls were hospitalized after completing over 1,000 squats. But you can last longer than that, right? Right?
Wait, what just happened? You lost track of time and finished your 24-hour squat session. You did all that without a wink of sleep and only some quick pauses for hydration and nourishment. Surprise, surprise. You feel sore. Really sore. But you’re not too concerned. That is, until the following morning.
When you wake up, you can’t bend your legs. And now, your urine looks like a cup of dark tea.Yeah. It’s time to get to the hospital. You’ve become one of the 26,000 people diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis in the U.S. every year. Now, you’ll begin a fluid-recovery treatment to help flush out the myoglobin from your kidneys.
If the condition is severe enough, you’ll need dialysis to remove some blood from your body. And if the damage is severe enough, you’d need ongoing treatments. One full day of squatting wouldn’t result in your butt becoming huge either. Your body would need time to build all that muscle. Carrying your sore body to the kitchen for the protein you’d need would be exhausting.
So were all these squats worth it? Even if you were in the best shape of your life, I think you’d want to stick to a more reasonable number of squats.
- “Two Teenagers Hospitalized With Kidney Damage After Squatting Competition Gets Out Of Hand”. 2019. iflscience.com.
- “How To Do A Proper Squat And 2 Challenging Variations To Reap The Most Health Benefits”. Marissa Cruz Lemar. 2021. insider.com
- “Most Deep Squats In 24 Hours”. Andre Turan. 2011. recordsetter.com.
- “Most Deep Squats In Two Minutes”. Andre Turan. 2012. recordsetter.com.
- “Squat Test: Testing Your Fitness At Home”. 2021. topendsports.com.