Squats are an excellent way to strengthen the lower body, recover knee stability, as well as prevent commonly faced workout injuries. And while they may seem tough to master, perfecting your squat routine adds more power and stability to your leg.  This has a host of benefits including a direct and positive impact on your running performance, particularly on irregular terrain and soft surfaces like sand.

Squats chiefly use the gluteal muscles in the body, but depending upon the variation you choose, it can also be an effective workout for your quadriceps, hip muscles, and calves, as well as your cores including the abs and lower back. A powerhouse leg routine, the very aptly named Sumo Squats, engages your hamstrings, quads, and glutes in one heavy-duty move.

Additionally, these wide-legged sumo squats place more emphasis on the inner thigh adductors, the muscles that move your legs in toward your body. Depending on your core strength, you may also find them testing your balance since it puts your body into a new alignment. This movement demands stability from your cores to keep from rocking forward or back on your heels.

Steps:

  • Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Push your hips back and bend your knees, squatting until your thighs are in line with your knees. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise.
  • Complete about 12-15 reps. Alternatively, do as many squats as you can for 30 seconds.

Pro-tip:
Do not let your heels lose contact with the floor as you squat and ensure that the knees are no caving inward. Keep the back straight as you squat so as to not out excessive pressure on it. The weight should be concentrated in the glutes and inner thighs. Inhale as you go down in a squat. Then, exhale as you go up.

Add in a weight or kettleball to increase the intensity. Make sure you are squatting well below the knee line in a Sumo Squat (claudinefoong.wordpress.com)
Add in a weight or kettleball to increase the intensity. Make sure you are squatting well below the knee line in a Sumo Squat (claudinefoong.wordpress.com)

It’s best to perform this movement as slowly as possible. It will be painful at first, but the slower you go the more effective the workout is.

Variation

To increase the workout for your calves and core, perform the sumo squat with your heels raised. Try not to put your feet down through the entire movement. You can also use weights to increase the resistance.

Main image: Bodybuilding.com

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