Those of you who know me well are aware that I have been dealing with back pain for a while now. I’ve been working with a chiropractor for a few months to get my lower back and hip to go straight, but there’s only so much a guy pounding on your back can do. At some point you have to get your muscles to do the work by themselves, and that means building core strength.

This is not something I like to do. I hate sit ups. I hate the gym (I tried it, but we’re just not that into each other). I hate lifting weights. I used a personal trainer for a while, and though I liked her well enough, my monthly budget hated it. But then I also hate it when my back goes all kaphlooey, so I needed to find someway to enbrace something that I hate to do.

About four weeks ago I StumbledUpon the two hunderd squats program. this little gem of a routine can be done at home, with no equipment, and it’s free. And it’s not sit ups, though it does have a sister program for those and another for the dreaded push up.

The program starts with a squat test, and this determines which track you follow (there’s an easy, middle, and tough track offered each week based on your current level of squatitude). Each week has three days worth of squats planned for you, which I’ve been doing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The first two weeks required less than 10 minutes for each session, though by the middle of week four it’s at about 15 minutes.

As I sit here typing I am gleaming with dew after completing day 2 of week 4, which had me perform a total of 192 squats broken into 5 sets. When I took the intial test four weeks ago, I could barely manage 24 squats before my legs threw a hissy. So this program works, at least in so far as it increases my body’s capacity for squats.

Overall I’ve noticed a pretty dramatic change in my strength, which is really nice. My core is definitely much stronger, and I’ve noticed that my mid-section is not as pronounced (my hourglass is coming back!) I’ve also had almost no issues with my back, and that is the ultimate purpose behind all these squats.

I am so encouraged by the pace of improvement that I’ve started Thing 1 on the program, though I’ve got her taking the middle route rather then following me in the toughest track. She has the goal of improving her overall fitness by the end of the summer so that she can keep up with her more athletic friends on the playground, and this program will be one component in our plan for her physical transformation.