What TikTok’s Viral โ€˜Shrimp Challengeโ€™ Can Really Tell You About Your Fitness

On TikTok, people are testing their lower-body strength and mobility with the deceptively difficult “shrimp challenge,” often with fail-tastic results.

Taking a knee for this latest viral fitness challenge involves less Smirnoff Ice and probably more falling and laughing. The test doesnโ€™t involve seafood, either. Instead, itโ€™s a take on the shrimp squat, which is a squat executed on one leg, while holding the foot of your other leg up to your butt behind you.

The shrimp squat is hard enough, but the shrimp challenge takes it to another level.

What is the shrimp challenge?

The test first circulated in 2022, but it started to go viral in mid-April and continued to pick up momentum after some physical therapists posted a video making it look all too easy.

Now, basketball players, ballet dancers, fitfluencers, and regular people alike are trying the challengeโ€”with only a select few actually able to do it. Yep, not all of the super strong pro athletes or ultra-bendy ballerinas can do it.

But if you’re willing to give it a shot, here’s how to do it:


Discover the power of the shrimp challenge in physical therapy! ๐Ÿฆ This dynamic exercise targets multiple muscle groups, enhancing balance, stability, and functional movement. Perfect for rehabilitating lower body injuries and improving overall strength and flexibility. Dive into the shrimp challenge and unleash your bodyโ€™s potential! ๐Ÿ’ช #PhysicalTherapy #ShrimpChallenge #Rehabilitation #Strength #Flexibility

โ™ฌ original sound – foundationptutah

  1. Start in a half-kneeling position with one leg bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle and your other leg kneeling on the floor behind you.
  2. Grab the foot of your back leg up and lift it up to your butt (like youโ€™re doing a quad stretch).
  3. While still holding the foot of your back leg, lean forward slightly and press into your front foot to come up to standing. Your back foot will stay bent behind you.

What the shrimp challenge is actually testingโ€”and why it’s so dang hard

The challenge โ€œrequires a high level of strength and mobility of the hips, knees and ankles, mainly targeting the glutes and quad muscles,โ€ explains physical therapistย Jacob VanDenMeerendonk, DPT.

In other words, just being really strong or just having good mobility (range of motion in your joints) wonโ€™t cut it. You need both elements to successfully shrimp it up. Indeed, engaging your muscles while stretching them is no easy feat.

โ€œYou’re placing your standing leg in a disadvantaged position in the bottom position of a squat, which then requires a great amount of strength to stand back up, and simultaneously you are holding the opposite leg in a position that requires a full stretch on the quadriceps muscle and maintaining that stretch while executing the return to standing position,โ€ Dr. VanDenMeerendonk says.

โ€œThe shrimp squat challenge is a fun movement to aspire to being able to do, and also an excellent exercise to perform if you’re looking to make some higher level mobility and strength gains in the quads and glutes.โ€ โ€”Jacob VanDenMeerendonk, DPT

What does it say about your fitness if you canโ€”or canโ€™tโ€”do the shrimp challenge?

Dr. VanDenMeerendonk says not to worry if you canโ€™t complete this challenge. Itโ€™s very advanced, and there are plenty of other ways you can strengthen, mobilize, and stretch your lower body that donโ€™t involve falling over.

โ€œYou can achieve strength and mobility gains of the same muscles and joints required in performing a shrimp squat as you would in a split squat, Bulgarian split squat, or even a forward or reverse lunge,โ€ Dr. VanDenMeerendonk says.

At the same time, if you do find yourself completing the challenge when you try it, or are able to work up to it, what it says about your body is that youโ€™re killing it in the realms of strength, mobility, flexibility, balance, and even body awareness.

โ€œThe shrimp squat challenge is a fun movement to aspire to being able to do, and also an excellent exercise to perform if you’re looking to make some higher level mobility and strength gains in the quads and glutes,โ€ Dr. VanDenMeerendonk says. โ€œThose who can perform the shrimp squat have excellent unilateral balance and coordination, as well as higher level hip and knee mobility. They likely have strong quads and glutes and a good understanding of their center of gravity.โ€

Want to give the shrimp challenge a try? Consider getting some padding for your knees on the groundโ€”and remember not to beat yourself up if itโ€™s a no-go! You can always work up to it with some lower-body strength and mobility moves, like in this 15-minute workout video.

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