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How To Do The Sumo Squat

(Image credit: Unknown)

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The squat is just about the best lower-body compound exercise going, but eventually you will get bored of doing the bog-standard version. At that point, it’s time to tweak the form slightly – not only will this keep it fresh, but it’ll also ensure different muscles get their moment in the spotlight.

With the sumo squat variation, it’s the inner thighs and glutes that get more of a workout. And while most of us don’t think about our inner thighs all that much, no-one’s going to turn down a more impressive derrière.

How To Do The Sumo Squat

Start in a standing position with your feet wide apart and your toes pointing at 45° angles. By wide we mean wider than shoulder-width apart – around a foot (30cm) beyond your shoulder on each side.

Drop into a squat, bending at the hips and knees and sitting back. Keep your chest up and knees out. Keep lowering until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or even slightly below parallel if you have it in you. Then stand back up to the starting position. Make sure you don’t lift your feet off the ground or round out your lower back as you perform the sumo squat.

Sumo Squat Variations

Weighted sumo squat

Weighted sumo squat

(Image credit: Unknown)

Once the unweighted version of the sumo squat fails to thoroughly exhaust your thighs and glutes, it’s time to add some weight. You can do this in any manner you like, but we recommend holding a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of you so it hangs down towards the floor. This means you’ll also know if you’re going deep enough with your squats – the weight should almost touch the ground.

Sumo squat to kettlebell swing

If you’re using a kettlebell for your sumo squats you can easily combine the exercise with a kettlebell swing. Your stance for the latter will be a little wider than normal, which places more emphasis on the inner thighs, just as the sumo squat does compared with the standard squat. Holding the kettlebell in both hands in front of you, drop into a shallow sumo squat and swing the weight back between your legs. Thrust your hips forwards and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height as you stand back up, then swing it back down under control.

Sumo jump squat

If you don’t have weights to hand but want to increase the difficulty of the sumo squat while also ramping up your heart rate, opt for the jumping version of the move. Instead of coming back up to standing from your squat, drive back up explosively and jump straight up. Land softly and go straight into another squat

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.