Recently I was conducting a health seminar with my good friend Mike Rashid. At the end of the session we did a Q&A to address any remaining questions people had.
A young man in his early 20’s asked us about overtraining and our thoughts on if it was realistic to train everyday.
“Does training the same muscle everyday have any benefits or is it more likely to wear out the body quicker?”
When it comes to reaching excellence in a given field, it takes building positive habits on a daily basis over a long period of time. However, when it comes to working out there are differing opinions on daily workouts.
Hi, I’m Sean Torbati and I’ve been working in the fitness world since I was a teenager. Over the years I’ve seen just about every trend, workout program, and diet in the book. Throughout my journey, I’ve been able to garner a deeper understanding of my body, what it can handle, and what works best for me.
When I decided to squat everyday I wanted to challenge my body and mind simultaneously.
Keep in mind that we each have different physiological adaptations so what works for one may not be optimal for another.
Recently I decided to place my workout focus on one particular exercise—the squat. For years I’ve been attempting to squat four plates per side (405 pounds) but have hit some snags along the way.
For a period of 16 weeks I decided to implement a different variable to my workouts by increasing frequency. In other words, I was going to squat every single day.
Here’s what I learned along the way.
Before we dive into specifics it’s good to have a deeper understanding of the squat itself and it’s mechanisms within the body.
As a constant lifelong learner, I don’t just want to know that things work. I want to know WHY they work.
The squat is a basic movement that’s easy to perform yet challenging to master. Although it's simple in theory, it can takes years of practice to perfect proper form.
If you look at the squat racks of your nearest gym, you’ll likely notice one distinct commonality.
Most people don’t have textbook form.
While each person’s body type and natural anatomies can dictate how a squat is performed, it’s vital to always keep these cues in mind (1):
The exact mechanisms for squatting vary from person to person, but learning proper form is crucial before lifting heavy weight.
The squat is one of three basic compound movements. For those unfamiliar, compound movements workout multiple muscles simultaneously.
While squats focus on leg muscles such as the quads, it’s a total body movement that can help build tremendous core strength as well.
Many people consider the squat to be one of the most primal human movements. Whether it be picking up your child or bending over to take out the trash—everyone should practice proper squat form.
You might be wondering if squatting everyday is safe to do? The short answer is YES if you’re smart about it.
A recent study looked at three individuals who squatted daily over a period of 37 days (2). Two identified as powerlifters while one considered themselves to be a bodybuilder. All three experienced squat increases of at least 12.5kg in their one rep maxes.
It’s important to note these were not beginners and each had five or more years of lifting experience. The increases were substantially more than what is normally expected for experienced lifters.
If you have been lifting for several years the squat daily regimen may help you break through plateaus.
The squat daily plan may not work as well for beginners as it takes time for the joints and tendons to develop the appropriate adaptations.
Aside from improved physical adaptations in the form of increased strength, squatting daily can also help develop positive habits.
One long-standing myth about habitual behavior (whether they be good or bad) is that it takes 21 days to develop. A study showed it can actually take up to 66 days to develop a habit. After this point in time, habit retention tends to plateau (3).
Habits simply cannot be built over night. It takes time, dedication, and consistency to create build positive habits in one’s life.
While the squat is a physical exercise, it can also provide mental benefits as well.
New research has shown weight-bearing exercises send signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells (4).
Regularly performing compound movements such as squats can improve cognition and reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.
Wealth cannot buy health but there is a correlation between the two. In a study done amongst some of the wealthiest individuals in the world, more than 76 percent surveyed practiced at least 30 minutes of exercise daily (5).
Making exercise a daily habit is not a predictor of personal success but it can help clear the mind and power you through the day.
Whatever your goal in life, success never happens overnight. It’s simply an accumulation of positive habits done consistently over a prolonged period of time. If you keep this mindset and stick to small daily habits, you’ll eventually end up reaching more significant goals in the long-term.
For me squatting goes beyond simply performing a repetitive movement on a daily basis. It’s a representation of how I view life. Compounding small victories every day will eventually result in much larger successes.
As I returned to the original question, I told the young man squatting daily isn’t just about increasing an arbitrary set of numbers. It’s an analogy for living life.
I left the seminar with the self-realization that if you can squat everyday, your body is capable of just about anything.
I’ve since hit 410 on the squat and my numbers are only going up from here. While the human body has absolute limits from an anatomical standpoint, I intend to push mine as far as I reasonably can (with safety in mind of course).
If you want to increase your squat or learn more about my program, feel free to reach out to me.
Let positive daily habits become predictors of future success.