The sumo squat places additional emphasis on the glutes and quads. Some lifters prefer this stance, most use a combination of squat variations for more rounded results. We recommend you at least try all variations and see which ones suit you best.
How to perform a sumo squat
A sumo squat with a barbell is performed in the same way as a standard barbell back squat, except in this instance your foot position is much wider.
Your feet should be positioned outside of shoulder width apart, with your toes and knees pointing outwards.
See below general squatting guidance:
Firstly; if you’re not yet comfortable using the squat rack, start with a barbell that you are able to raise over your head and rest on the back of your shoulders. Do your squats like this until you reach 20 kg’s (45lbs).
You should however note that in order to progress this exercise, you absolutely must work your way up to the power rack. With that said; as soon as you are able to comfortably squat 20kg (45lb) barbell, you should move onto the rack.
It should be noted that it really pays to get this right from the start, therefore you should pay close attention to what you’re doing. Both form and bar position are crucial to your overall performance.
To begin the exercise; you should position yourself under the bar and stand with your feet just outside of shoulder width apart, your knees and toes pointed outwards. The bar position should be just below your shoulders, not on your neck. Further position yourself by sticking your bum out and keeping your chest high.
As a guide; when gripping the bar, you should keep your elbows tucked in and your hands in a position that’s comfortable, use the knurling in the bar to balance your hand placement.
Finally, you are ready to sit back into your squat. Keep a neutral back and look straight ahead of you keeping your chest high throughout. Finish by powering back up and squeezing your glutes at the top.
Another important factor is to ensure that you are squatting low enough, make sure that you can squat to parallel before you even start loading.
Sumo Squat: Common mistakes to avoid
Maintaining good posture throughout this exercise is imperative. You should also be mindful of what is happening with your knees and ankles, they should not be caving inwards.
A sumo squat should always be performed on a firm and solid surface, this includes what’s on your feet! Try to avoid squatting in trainers with gel bottoms, we see this often with beginners and you should know that it is not ideal. Either go barefoot, get yourself some flat soled shoes, or lifting shoes, it really does make a difference and it does matter.
Another mistake to avoid is getting stuck on your weight, use the rack and use it correctly, this is the only way you will be able to progress. For further reading, see; How to use a squat rack.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, the sumo squat needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Reps and sets performed depend entirely on where you are physically and of course your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will most definitely come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters will need to consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond the sumo squat...
More leg exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of leg exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.