Barbell sumo squat

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius)
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Pectineus, Adductor Magnus, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Gracilis, Soleus
  • Dynamic stabilizers: Hamstrings
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Place a barbell on the back of your shoulders and hold it at each side.
  2. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Point your toes and knees 30 to 45 degrees out to the sides (i.e. sumo or plié stance).


  1. Keeping your head up, back straight, and body upright, inhale as you squat by simultaneously flexing your hips and knees, and descend at least until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  2. Exhale as you return to a standing position.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your feet flat, and your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Don’t allow your knees to cave in; keep them out.
  • Use a power cage or a squat rack for safety (see video).
  • The wide stance of the barbell sumo squat is great for inner-thigh development. It also enhances the involvement of your gluteus maximus, but only if you lift heavy.
  • Your erector spinae work as important stabilizers if you lift heavy. Your hamstrings are not significantly activated. As with all types of squat, they mainly act to stabilize your knees.

Barbell sumo squat video


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