The sumo squat is a wide stance squat that strengthens almost every muscle in your lower body. The wide leg posture you use, sets this exercise apart from the traditional squat. This difference in your stance puts more focus on your butt and inner thighs.
Although your own body weight creates enough resistance when you do squats, adding a free weight like a kettlebell increases the intensity and effectiveness of the exercise.
Adding weights to your squats will also engage the muscles of the upper body, this essentially creates a full body routine that activates more muscles and burns more fat and calories.
Stand with your feet 8-12 inches wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing outward at a 45-degree angle.
Hold a fairly heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in the front of your body just below your pelvis with both hands.
Slowly lower down as far as you comfortably can, making sure to push your hips back as you are bending your knees as you squat down.
After a brief pause give your glutes an extra squeeze and move back up slowly. By doing the sumo squat slow, you will add some extra intensity.
Do 8-12 reps of this exercise.
Kim Demonstrating the Kettlebell Sumo Squat
Make sure to push off of your heels as you are coming off the bottom of the squat. You can dictate what part of your lower body you are targeting by either pushing off your heels for your thighs and butt or pushing off the balls of your feet in order to work the muscles in the front of your legs.
The wider you place your legs apart, the more focus you put on the inner thighs and butt.
The distance on how low you squat depends on the flexibility of your legs. If you feel any pain in your knees, reduce the weight you are using and don't squat down quite as far. You can always move down further and further once you have more flexibility.
Have your feet pointing out slightly and make sure your knees go directly in the direction of your toes as you descend.
Sumo Squat and Traditional Squat Variations
The main variation between the sumo and the traditional squat is where the feet are placed. With regular squats, the feet are placed hip-width apart. With the sumo they are in a wider stance.
Doing either squat, pointing your toes out helps to protect the knees. Both squats do an excellent job of working the lower body muscles, as you can see by the photo's above, the sumo targets your inner thighs to a greater degree.
Flexibility. Squat exercises can be drastically effective for opening your hip joints and increasing your mobility. Tight hips control the movements of your hips, legs, and knees and can make it difficult to keep your back straight.
Muscle Strength. Squats are the most important lower body exercise for increasing the strength of the quads and glutes. They are also highly effective for strengthening your midsection.
Calorie Burning. Your legs and glutes are some of the largest muscles in your body. So when you exercise them it only makes sense that they will use more energy and burn more calories than other exercises.
Incredible Abs. Besides toning your butt and legs, squat exercises with weights work your core muscles more effectively than many popular ab exercises do.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.