One of my favorite exercises is Sumo Squats. It targets the same muscles as a regular squat except it puts a little extra emphasis on your inner thighs. It also requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere. What’s not to love?
- None necessary
- Start standing straight and tall with your feet wider than hip-width and your toes pointing slightly out. If you’ve ever been involved in ballet, think extra-wide demi-plié.
- Putting your weight and your balance back on your heels, slowly lower yourself down with your eyes straight ahead. Keeping your weight on your heels will not only help engage the correct muscles, but also prevent your knees from going in front of your toes which can cause knee strain. You want to keep your chest up and back straight. So just like regular squats, imagine you are wearing a sports jersey with your number on the front of the jersey. If there is a mirror in front of you, you want to see your number throughout the exercise.
- You are lowering yourself straight down so your knees form right angles. You should feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thighs. If it is too sharp, you may be dropping too low and require a more shallow squat.
- Stand back up to your starting position.
Main Muscles Targeted:
- Gluteus Maximus
- Adductor Magnus
- Erector Spinae
- Gluteus Medius
- Gluteus Minimus
- Lightly gripping someone’s hands or some other type of stable hand support will take some of the pressure off your leg muscles and decrease the difficulty of the movement. This is especially useful for those who are older or have balance problems. The more you use your arms and rely on their support, the less work is required by your legs.
- If you want to increase the difficultly level you can wear a weight vest or hold a weight or medicine ball in one or both hands to increase the total amount of weight you are lowering and lifting.
- Do this exercise in front of a mirror so you can keep an eye on your form. You want to look for two things:
- Keep your “numbers” on your chest up and visible.
- Keep your knees in line with your toes. Weak glutes may cause your knees to collapse toward each other during this movement. Overactive glutes may compensate by pulling your knees too far apart. Both can cause extra strain and wear on your knee joints, so be aware of your knee placement throughout the exercise.
- If you feel yourself tiring, try a modification (see above) to allow yourself to finish the desired number of repetitions.
- Breathing cues:
- INHALE as you lower yourself toward the chair or seat
- EXHALE as you lift yourself back up
*Remember, it’s always advised to consult with your doctor or health care expert before adding a new exercise to your routine to make sure you don’t have any contraindications.