Fitness Tips

How to Do Sumo Squats—AKA the Best Butt-Sculpting Move You’re Probably Not Using

Photo: Instagram/@basebodybabes
No lower-body workout is complete without at least one series of squats. Like your other toning essentials (read: planks, push-ups, and lunges), these butt-sculpting moves come in a multitude of challenging variations. One of the most-fun (and effective) iterations of this functional exercise is the sumo squat—so named for its similarity to the pre-match posturing of Japanese professional wrestlers.

Sumo squats are a wide-legged take on the traditional squat. Rather than positioning your feet at hip distance, as in a traditional squat, you'll want to shimmy those feet out a few steps, and point your toes out at a 45 degree angle.

The benefits of the sumo squat

A big benefit of the sumo squat is just adding some variety to your workout, since keeping your body continually challenged is what helps to build muscle. The move is powerful in its own right, too. The sumo squat will work your inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings, with no weights required. The biggest boon here is how it targets your inner thighs, or adductors. Regular squats miss these muscles, and working them often involves a trip to the inner thigh squeezer machine at the gym. With sumo squats, you can hone in on those small, hard to reach muscles, no machinery or weights necessary.

But if you're looking for even more of a challenge, you can step it up by adding on the pounds. And if you're wondering how exactly to execute one yourself, Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson, the Aussie personal trainers (and sisters) behind Base Body Babes, have got the, ahem, low down. The duo shared their pro tips on Instagram earlier this week.

How to do a sumo squat

Videos: Instagram/@basebodybabes

Bring your feet a step farther than hips-width apart and turn your toes slightly out so that your knees track over your second and third toes. Cross your arms, bringing them parallel to the ground at shoulder height. Squat down, bringing your butt below your knees, while retaining a neutral spine (sitz bones flared and small arch in lower back), core engaged, and energy extending out of your crown. Straighten your legs and come to stand. Complete five sets of 20 reps. If you have trouble keeping your spine and arms stable while squatting deeply, try the next variation.

There are some common sumo squat mistakes to avoid. Make sure your toes are pointed at around 45 degrees, rather than positioning them too straight ahead of you. You might be tempted to lessen your load by tilting your upper body forward—don't! Keep that torso upright. And lastly, don't let your knees cave in. Instead, they should be pointing in the same direction as your toes.

sumo squats butt workout

How to do a sumo squat with plates

Equipment needed: 2 plates.

If you want to turn up the volume on working your quad muscles, you can modify a sumo squat by placing your heels on plates. To start off, place two plates next to each other on the floor—this keeps you stable and able to keep better form. Step your heels onto the plates and assume the same position as a traditional sumo squat. Complete 5 sets of 20 reps.

How to do a weighted sumo squat with dumbbells

Equipment needed: 1 dumbbell.

Adding weight to a move will typically make it more challenging in a way that trains your body to gain muscle. A weighted sumo squat will work all the same muscles as a traditional sumo squat, but with the intensity taken to the next level. Grab a 10 to 12-pound dumbbell, holding one end in either hand at shoulder height instead of crossing your arms. Complete 5 sets of 20 reps of traditional sumo squats. Just be prepared to feel the extra burn.

For even more butt-sculpting goodness, check out these moves from buzzy trainer Charlee Atkins and the girls of Tone It Up.

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