This summer three of my clients and myself challenged each other and ourselves to increase the weight we could squat.

Why the squat? The squat is commonly referred to as the “King of the exercises” -- and for good reason! The squat works a large majority of your body’s muscles – the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core and to a small degree, arms (as they grip and stabilize the bar). It is also a much better indicator of overall body strength than the much more popular bench press.

Several different publications and fitness studies have determined that if you cannot squat (or deadlift) your body weight, you are considered weak. If you can squat your weight, that is considered AVERAGE strength. If you can squat 1.5x your bodyweight, that is considered STRONG and if you can squat 2x your bodyweight, that is considered VERY STRONG.

So this summer, we decided to see just how much each of us could squat, and see just how much overall strength we have!  By the way, we are all over 40 years old!! Age means nothing... it's just a number!


Danette is the one who actually started this challenge. She is like the Bionic Woman – her legs just keep getting stronger and stronger! She is the first female client I have had to break the 200lb mark. On the leg extension/curl machine she could match me for weight and reps! Only on the squat could I outperform her – and not by much! From this little competition between us grew the Squat Challenge!

Even though she was absent much of the summer, when she did come in she would always add plates to the bar and set a new personal best! In early July she set a personal best of 210lb! Given a bit more time, she will break the 250lb mark (her next goal) and continue to set even higher goals!

Anna was shy about joining this challenge at first but once she “came out of her shell” so to speak, she took off like a rocket! She followed Danette’s lead and soon broke 200lbs then went on to set a personal (and at the time client best) best of 260lbs on the squat!! Anna is Iron Woman – she has an iron will and just tells herself she is going to do it – which she did! Her goal was only 250lbs.

Watch for her to hit 300lbs soon!

Mike like most guys does not like leg day (you can’t always work on arms Bucky!). However, after seeing the ladies set milestones well into the 200’s he knew it was time to step up his game. By the end of the challenge, he topped out at 275lbs – the highest any client has squatted! What makes this achievement even more dramatic is the fact that he is 6’ 2” – long legs do not allow for easy squatting!

Tom: After training with Danette and seeing her bionic legs continually grow in strength I figured it was time to get serious in my squats. About 8 years ago I did a few reps at 350lbs but was shaking like a newborn calf when finished. I wanted to squat 400lbs and make it count, just to give me some breathing room from Danette (and Anna and Mike as the summer went on). 

Today I did 400lbs (2.3x my body weight) for 3 sets of 5 reps and felt GREAT doing it!

Thanks to my clients for participating in this challenge and making me push myself harder. Together we are Diamond Strong!