How to do a perfect sumo squat

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How to do a perfect sumo squat



(Picture: Getty)The sumo squat is a really useful exercise that can help you tone your inner thighs and build on the power in your lower body.
If you’re bored of regular squats, or if you struggle with maintaining the best form, sumo squats could be the perfect alternative.
The wider stance engages the thighs, glutes, hamstrings and quads, for a really well-rounded, functional movement. And turning your knees outwards instead of forwards can help you sink lower to really work those muscles.
You can do it using just your body weight as resistance, or you can add kettle-bells, dumbbells or barbells for an extra challenge.
But before you move on to weighted sumo squats, you really have to nail the basics. With squats – perfect form is everything.
What is a sumo squat?
A squat is a simple lower-body exercise. It’s called a compound exercise because it activates more than one joint and muscle.
A sumo squat is a variation on a standard squat. It differs in two main ways – muscle emphasis and foot positioning.
When doing a sumo squat, the feet are in a wide stance with the toes turned out at a greater angle than during a regular squat.
This positioning shifts the muscle emphasis to focus on the inner thigh adductors, which move your legs in toward your body, and glutes.
How do you do a sumo squat?
Personal trainer Dean Coulson explains how to do a perfect sumo squat.
Start in a standing position
1) Toes are pointed outwards at around forty five degrees.
2) Feet are placed at around twice the distance outside of hip width.
3) With a slight bend at the knees, push your hips back whilst keeping your chest up and knees pointing out.
4) Keep lowering your hips until your thighs are parallel or even slightly below parallel to the ground.
At the bottom position
5) Shins are vertical at the bottom position.
6) Keep your hips low and shoulders high.
7) Drive through the heels as you stand up.
8) Keep your back straight and shoulders high.
‘The squat is a great lower body compound exercise and is one of the primal human movements,’ Dean tells Metro.co.uk.
‘The sumo squat variation places more emphasis on the the inner and outer thighs and glutes. While most of us don’t think about our inner and outer thighs all that much, no-one’s going to turn down a more impressive butt.
‘If you’ve never done a sumo squat before, it’s important to master the proper form for a standard squat before moving on to any variations, always get the foundations right first.
‘Once confident, start with body weight before progressing onto a more advanced version with weights.
‘It’s easy to get carried away, but if your body has muscle imbalances or poor movement patterns, adding weight too soon will compound as issues that can lead to injury. Get assessed before trying any new movement.
‘Using something like the the functional movement screen (FMS) is a great indicator to where you are to start with.’

(Picture: Getty)What are the benefits of sumo squats?
As well as targeting different leg muscles than a regular squat, a sumo squat can also improve balance, stability and push your range of flexibility.
Sumo squats are also useful as a dynamic stretch. While you lower yourself and rise back up, your muscles contract and lengthen. This warms them up and reduces any tension, meaning you’ll have a lower risk of injury.
These squats are also really versatile. Adding weight to your sumo is really simple and can help in building more muscle and strength.
‘Our more sedentary lifestyle leaves us open to movement dysfunction and muscle imbalances,’ explains Dean.
‘Find somebody qualified to work with you to either give you the all clear or corrective exercises to improve the quality of your movement.
‘Mobility is key, especially at the hip and ankles. For example, poor ankle mobility will not allow a deep enough squat, raising the heels will help remove the problem until it is resolved.
‘When the body feels safe it will allow you to move in a better, more efficient, powerful range of motion.’
Sumo squat variations
‘While the body-weight sumo squat is a good place to start, once the basic movement is mastered you can increase the difficulty by holding dumbbells in either hand or a kettle-bell in both at a shoulder position or a barbell on your back,’ Dean tells us.
‘Remember, adding this extra difficulty should never compromise your movement pattern.
‘A few things to be aware of when using weights; always start by taking a breath. Hold it and brace, this creates stability in your lower back. More stability equals more strength.
More: Health

‘Create tension in your body before you lower, squeeze the bar, feel every muscle, nothing should feel loose.
‘Always control the movement, lower slowly under control and then explode back to the start position as you exhale.’
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