Tired of Regular Squats? Mix Up Your Routine With These Sumo Squat Variations

Add new moves to leg day with these options.

Squats always play a key role in strength training routines for runners. But if you’re tired of the traditional move for your leg day workout, then adding sumo squats and sumo squat variations can revamp your routine.

“As runners, it’s important to have lower body strength, mobility, and flexibility and the sumo squat is a great exercise to build that strength and prevent injury,” Lindsey Clayton, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and co-founder of the Brave Body Project tells Runners World. This variation—performed with feet wider than your traditional squat and with toes turned outward—targets the glutes, hips, hamstrings, quads, thighs, and calves, she says.

How to use this list: Choose any one of these sumo squat variations, from Clayton, to add to your lower-body or total-body workout. Or you can choose two to five of them to do as a circuit on their own. Do each exercise for 50 seconds, resting for 10 seconds between each move. Do 2 to 3 sets and rest 60 seconds between sets. You will need an exercise mat and one dumbbell to perform these moves, which Clayton demonstrates so you can master proper form.


Bodyweight Sumo Squat

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. With pelvis in a neutral position, send hips back and down, and bend at knees until thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to keep knees and toes in line and chest lifted as you squat. Press through feet to stand back up. Repeat.


Weighted Sumo Squat

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. Hold a dumbbell vertically at chest, holding the head of it with both hands. With pelvis in a neutral position, send hips back and down, and bend at knees until thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to keep knees and toes in line and chest lifted as you squat. Press through feet to stand back up. Repeat.


Weighted Clean to Sumo Squat

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. Place a dumbbell vertically between legs, resting on its head. With pelvis in a neutral position, send hips back and down, and bend at knees until thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to keep knees and toes in line and chest lifted as you squat. At the bottom, grab the top of the dumbbell with both hands, and as you press through feet to stand back up, clean the dumbbell to chest by bringing hands around the sides of the dumbbell head, so you’re now holding it vertically at your chest. Perform the sumo squat holding the dumbbell at chest. Then, next time you lower into the sumo squat, place the dumbbell back on the floor. Repeat from the top.


Sumo Squat with Heel Raise

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. (Option to hold a dumbbell vertically at chest, holding the head of it with both hands.) With pelvis in a neutral position, send hips back and down, and bend at knees until thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to keep knees and toes in line and chest lifted as you squat. Once at the bottom of the sumo squat, straighten knees slightly and raise heels off the floor. Then drop low back into the sumo squat position. Straighten knees slightly to lower the heels back down. Then lower all the way down one more time, before pressing through feet to stand all the way back up. Repeat.


Sumo Squat Hop

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out 45 degrees. With pelvis in a neutral position, send hips back and down, and bend at knees until thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to keep knees and toes in line and chest lifted as you squat. Explosively drive through feet to hop off the floor. Land softly back in a sumo squat with bent knees. Repeat.

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