Do you always get back pain when you squat? Do you find getting from sitting to standing difficult? Are you looking to improve your technique in the gym? Or maybe you are preparing for labour or have recently given birth?

If so, the sumo squat is the movement for you. It’s great for posture and helps you to generate power in your push off in walking or running!

In this article, we’ll be discussing:

  • What is a sumo squat?
  • How to do sumo squats?
  • What are the benefits of sumo squat?
  • Who is the sumo squat suitable for / not suitable for?

What Is a Sumo Squat Pilates Exercise?

The sumo squat Pilates movement is a variation of a standard squat and helps to work on lower-body strength.

The difference between this squat and a standard one is that it is performed in a wider stance and your feet are turned out. Not only does the sumo squat work the glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and calves, the leg positioning of the sumo squat also works the back of your body and your inner thighs as well.

Lots of people are scared when they hear the word squat. Remember, this is just a sit to stand! You do not have to load it up with weights, but it is incredibly important to get the movement right. You do it 100 times a day, remember!

There are also multiple variations of the sumo squat you can perform to regularly changes things up, these include:

  • Weighted sumo squat
  • Sumo jump squat
  • Sumo squat to kettlebell swing

How To Do Sumo Squats

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width/shoulder-width apart and turn your feet out to a 45° angle, externally rotating your hips.
  • Push your hips back and drop into a squat, keeping your back straight and your upper body lifted.
  • Make sure you’re pushing through your heels and engaging your inner thighs as you come back to your starting position.
  • Repeat 8-15 times. 4 sets.

Sumo Squat Form – Exercise Tips

  • Spread your sit bones!
    When you sink down into the squat, you need to widen your sit bones and relax your glutes a bit. This is particularly important if you suffer from lower back pain. This way you allow your pelvic floor to fully stretch and not grip around your coccyx. It will also help your hip range!
  • Keep it wide
    The wider you go, the harder this is on your legs and also your mobility! Challenge yourself to see how far you can go whilst keeping your form.
  • Turn out the feet
    Have you ever had the phrase ‘pull your knees out’ shouted at you in the gym? When you do this exercise, keep your feet pointed outwards. This will encourage your knees to track outwards as well. If you notice you can feel the majority of the weight in your big toe side of the foot, see if you can even it out between there and the outside. ‘Pulling your knees out’ should come from the feet and hips!
  • How low can you go?
    This depends on your hip range of movement. Try going down until the back of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ideally you should not go so far that your tail tucks underneath you. If in doubt, use a mirror!
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Sumo Squat Benefits

A sumo squat is a compound movement and an efficient way to strengthen your body and targets many muscle groups.

Adding moves, like the sumo squat, to strengthen your inner thighs will not only help improve your overall balance it will help protect the hips from injury when performing other intense or heavy exercises.

Benefits of sumo squats

  • build lower body muscle
  • increase stability and balance
  • strengthens adductors, which are the muscles that run down your inner thighs.
  • works the core muscles, which are activated more so than a conventional squat due to the alignment of your upper body.

Who Is The Sumo Squat Suitable For?

Essentially, sumo squats are suitable for anyone who is looking to build lower body strength, improve their balance and stability. It’s perfect for runners, those who work out in the gym, anyone who is due to give birth or just had a baby (as they work the pelvic floor muscles), or anyone who finds it difficult to get up after sitting down for a long time.

Who Is The Sumo Squat Not Suitable For?

If you have knee or back pain we would recommend speaking to a medical expert or your Clinical Pilates Instructor to see if this exercise is right for you or if you need to make adjustments to improve your sumo squat form. You will feel your muscles and core working during this exercise, but if it’s painful then do stop.

 Why Do The Sumo Squat Exercise?

If you are looking for a great lower body exercise that helps improve balance and stability as well as your core muscles then the sumo squat is the one for you. It’s especially great to help give power to your legs if you walk, run and even climb the stairs.

If you are new to fitness or worried about starting a new exercise such as the sumo squat, we would advise you to always speak to your doctor or physio, or clinical Pilates instructor here at Complete Pilates who are all trained to safely treat and create manageable plans to keep you healthy,

Get in touch link to our email pop up online or contact us on 0203 764 5668 for further information and / or advice!

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Education is key:

These blogs are designed to give information to everyone, however, it is important to remember that everyone is different! If you have not seen one of our therapists and have any questions about injuries, what you have read or whether this may be useful to you, please just ask. We are more than happy to help anyone and point you in the right direction. Our biggest belief is that education is key. The more you understand about your injury, illness and movement, the more you are likely to improve.

If you are not sure whether this is for you, simply get in touch. We are here to help!