What Are Sumo Squats? - NANBF (2023)

If you’re looking to try out a new exercise then you should give sumo squats a go. Perfect for targeting your inner thighs, this exercise can improve your balance and build up your lower body strength.

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As squats are some of the easiest exercises for a person to do at home, this exercise can easily fit into your daily routine at home or the gym.

What Are Sumo Squats? - NANBF (1)

Here is everything you need to know about sumo squats, including their benefits, how to do them correctly, and how effective they are compared to regular squats.

What Are Sumo Squats?

The sumo squat is a sophisticated exercise that uses your bodyweight to activate muscle groups throughout your body, with it especially targeting your lower muscles. For the sumo squat, you need to take a wider stance than the hip-width stance associated with the traditional squat.

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Maintain a straight back as you lower yourself from a standing to a squatting position. Squeeze your glutes and straighten your legs to stand up. Repeat this action as many times as you need to reach the appropriate number of reps.

The Benefits Of The Sumo Squat

If you’re working on isolating different areas of the body, you might wonder what sumo squats work. Like traditional squats, sumo squats have several benefits and target many lower body muscle groups. These are the main benefits associated with sumo squats:

  1. Targets inner thigh muscles – sumo squats can target and work these muscles far better than traditional squats. As long as you are doing them correctly, you will be able to build strength in your adductor muscles (muscles found along your inner thigh) far faster than you could with traditional squats
  2. Improves your balance – This exercise also gives your core muscles a workout which in turn makes you feel more balanced in everyday activities
  3. Works well as a lower body exercise – It is not just your inner thighs that are targeted with this exercise. Sumo squats are also an excellent workout for your hamstrings, calves, glutes, lower back muscles, and quadriceps.

How To Do Sumo Squats Correctly

Like all exercises, they only work if you do them correctly. Here is the best way to do this exercise.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet just a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so they are at a 45-degree angle
  2. Position your hips so that it is in line with your knees and ankles. Keep your shoulders in a position that is directly above your hips
  3. Keeping your arms by your sides and holding the position, slowly begin the downward movement by your knees and hips. As you move more into the squat position, bring your arms up in front of you to keep balance
  4. Keep going down until your legs are parallel to the floor. Keep the weight distributed on your feet to maintain balance. Pause in this position for a few seconds to keep your muscles tense
  5. When you begin to stand up again, squeeze your glutes to give them a bit of an extra workout
  6. Once stood up completely, you should have returned to the starting position with your shoulders being directly above your hips
  7. Repeat this process for as many reps as you feel comfortable with.

Variations Of Sumo Squats

If you are already used to this type of squatting you can try some variations to either give you a harder workout or to target more muscle groups

What Are Sumo Squats? - NANBF (2)

Sumo Squat Swing

This targets your upper body muscles as well as the lower body. To do this, make use of a kettlebell swing while you are doing the squats.

Weighted Squat

This will make the sumo squat a bit more challenging. When doing the squat try using a weighted barbell to do sumo back squats, or a pair of dumbbells to do a dumbbell sumo squat. You can also check this guide on how to do kettlebell squats properly to prevent injuries.

Jump Squat

This targets the lower body muscles even more. To do this, do a jumping movement between each sumo squat.

Sumo Squats Versus Squats

You may be wondering whether you should swap out the traditional squats from your workout routine and replace them with sumo squats instead. But the best option might be to incorporate both into your routine as each offers different benefits.

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Sumo squats have a slight advantage over traditional squats as they target your inner thigh, but working out a lot of different muscle groups is very good for the body. If you are looking to train your hips more then sumo squats are also an excellent exercise to do.

However, if you have any issue with hip or joint mobility, then you should avoid sumo squats as you may cause injury to this area if your body cannot handle the strain.

How To Avoid Injury

If you have a history of injuries or a pre-existing health condition, see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is crucial for maintaining the safety and success of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each activity to get the best results depending on your unique needs.

When doing this exercise, select a weight that allows you to maintain complete body control during the workout. When completing any activity, pay close attention to your body and stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort.

To see ongoing progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your training plan. Your ability to fully recover from your workouts will influence your outcomes.

It is also very important that you give yourself plenty of time to rest between workouts, as this is when your body heals and repairs any damage caused by exercise. Between each intense workout, you give yourself a 24- to 48-hour rest time.

Alternative to the Sumo Squat

A good alternative to the Sumo squat is the sumo deadlift. This will work the same muscle groups but give you some variation to keep you growing.


Like all exercises, sumo squats are good for you and your body in moderation. You always have to be careful not to push yourself too far during workouts or you could injure yourself.

Still, if done correctly, sumo squats are an excellent exercise for someone who wants to do a quick workout in their busy day, or for a person who wants to add more steps to their workout routine. If you do not have an exercise that targets your inner thighs yet, this is a great one to try out.

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What is a sumo squat? ›

A sumo squat is a variation of a traditional squat that focuses on a wider stance and different toe positioning. You can do a sumo squat with just your body weight or add resistance with a dumbbell or kettlebell.

What are sumo squats best for? ›

Sumo squats are an effective lower-body strength exercise.

The sumo squat activates muscle groups throughout your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, calves, and lower-back muscles.

What is sumo squat vs regular squat? ›

While in a regular squat, your feet are positioned about shoulder length apart with your toes and knees facing forward, just slightly turned out. In a sumo squat, “your feet are positioned in a much wider stance with your toes and knees pointing outward in opposite directions,” Samuela says.

Why is it called a sumo squat? ›

The sumo squat is an effective but often overlooked variation that strengthens the lower body and works our inner thigh muscles. The exercise gets its name because you have to assume a wider stance, similar to a sumo wrestler.

What muscles are worked in sumo squat? ›

The Sumo Squat works:
  • Quadriceps.
  • Gluteus muscles.
  • Hips.
  • Hamstrings.
  • Calves (gastrocnemius)
  • Thighs (the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, rectus femoris, and biceps femoris)
Oct 22, 2021

Are sumo squats better for knees? ›

Sumo Squats

If squats cause your knees to hurt, consider the sumo squat. It's a squat variation that works the same muscle groups but also may hit your glutes a little harder than standard squats. So, they'll give you more booty action and go easier on your knees.

What squat is best for glutes? ›

A sumo squat is excellent for targeting your glutes. A wider stance keeps your hips externally rotated to promote greater glute activation. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, your toes pointed slightly outward, and your hands out in front of you.

Why are sumo squats so hard? ›

The muscles on the front of your thighs are used in the flexion of your knee as you descend and ascend during the squat. However, in the wider sumo stance, your knees don't bend as much. The quads still work hard, but with less flexion of the knee, they don't move as much.

How much should you be able to sumo squat? ›

The average Sumo Squat weight for a male lifter is 221 lb (1RM). This makes you Intermediate on Strength Level and is a very impressive lift. What is a good Sumo Squat? Male beginners should aim to lift 52 lb (1RM) which is still impressive compared to the general population.

What is the hardest type of squat? ›

Front squats are more difficult than back squats because of the mobility and technical demands in maintaining upper body stability. In addition, the front loaded position challenges muscle groups like the back and core and are often the limiting factor in front squatting as much as you back squat.

What type of exercise is a sumo squat? ›

Sumo Squat Muscles Worked

Along with your hip adductors and hip flexors, a sumo squat also targets your glutes, particularly the glute medius and glute minimus — muscles that are responsible for moving your leg away from the center of the body and rotating it inward, says Partida.

Why do girls do sumo squats? ›

Sumo squats offer unique benefits that a standard squat does not. The sumo is able to recruit smaller muscles that help shape and tighten the legs, while also engaging the heavy hitters of your lower body—glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

Which type of squat is best for knees? ›

According to the Arthritis Foundation, a good way to start and to take pressure off the knees is with a wall squat. Resting your back against the wall forces good form too. You can also make squats safer for bad knees by reducing the range of motion. Squat only as deep as you can go without pain.

Why do my knees hurt after sumo squats? ›

If a squat exercise is causing you knee pain, it could be due to improper posture and form. Making a few small changes while squatting can actually prevent knee pain and protect your joints from more serious injuries, like sprains or tendonitis. Squatting with incorrect posture can cause strains, Dr. Enad says.

What squat stance is best for knees? ›

A wider stance makes the squat more of a hip dominant movement, thus taking stress off of the knees. Additionally, turning the toes out sets the knee up for optimal alignment, limiting the amount of tibial internal/external rotation occurring at the knee.

Why don't I feel my glutes when I squat? ›

This is pretty normal, because most of us have slight muscular imbalances in our bodies, like overworked quads (aka thigh muscles) and under-worked abdominal muscles. Either of those things could lead you to feel a squat in your quads and your lower back, rather than your glutes.

What type of squat builds the most muscle? ›

Squatting parallel to the floor may build more muscle, deeper squats build mobility, and shorter ones develop power. Incorporating all types of squats in a workout can help you get the most out of the exercise.

Is sumo easier than normal? ›

The sumo deadlifts are a good choice if;

You're a beginner: we recommend starting with the sumo deadlift because it has a shorter range of motion and is easier to perform. You have long legs and a short torso, If you have any injuries, mobility issues, or joint problems, it puts less stress on the spine and knees.

Are sumo squats actually good for glutes? ›

Lower-body exercises like the sumo squat help build strength in your quads and glutes, which is important for a whole bunch of things, including power development. Strong quads and glutes help you run and jump more efficiently, as well as lift more weight in other lower-body exercises.

What part of the glutes do sumo squats work? ›

Both work the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. However, the sumo squat places more emphasis on the inner thigh adductors, which move your legs in toward your body, according to ACE.

What is the healthiest squat? ›

The most effective squat for maximum benefit is a deep squat, with your hip crease going all the way past your knees (or “ass to grass,” as some eloquently put it). Not only is deep squatting effective, it's also a one-way ticket to a nice strong booty and strong back.

What was Arnold Schwarzenegger's squat? ›

Arnold says his best gym powerlifts were: squat 545 lbs. (247 kg.), bench press 500 lbs. (227 kg.), and deadlift 710 (322 kg.).

What is the most functional squat? ›

Reigning Champ Back Squat

Not only is it the most commonly utilized form of squatting—except for the half-squat, maybe—the full barbell back squat is one of the most effective exercises in the history of civilization for strengthening the lower body.

Which squat is best for glutes? ›

A sumo squat is excellent for targeting your glutes. A wider stance keeps your hips externally rotated to promote greater glute activation. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, your toes pointed slightly outward, and your hands out in front of you.

Is sumo squat cheating? ›

In short, no, sumo is not cheating. While it will be easier it for some, it wont be for all. Not to mention the fact that both are legally allowed in powerlifting competitions… If you want to lift as much as possible, take the time to practice both techniques and find the one that is best for you.

Why do people not like sumo deadlifts? ›

Common Reasons Why People Dislike Sumo Deadlifts

First, and probably the biggest issue folks have is the different range of motion when compared to conventional styled deadlifts. The second issue stems from the sumo not being fair because it's a different movement compared to the conventional.


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