Kettlebells have a long history in the world of physical training, but as of late they’ve experienced a revival. Now they’re a staple weighted implement in most gyms; exercisers of all levels are incorporating them into their workouts. The kettlebell sumo squat is a compound, multi-joint exercise that develops strength in an array of lower body muscles. It improves coordination and physical ability that transfers to movements required during daily life activities.
Sumo squats are done with a wider stance than typical squats. Set your feet out beyond the width of your hips with your toes pointed slightly outwards. Hold a single kettlebell with both hands down in front of your hips. Your palms should face in towards your body. Start the squat by pushing your hips backward and then bend your knees. Continue to lower to the floor until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and then extend your knees and hips to return to a standing position. Your back should be straight and eyes pointed forward throughout the entire exercise.
Builds Muscle Strength
The kettlebell sumo squat develops strength in all of the major muscles in the lower body. Your gluteus maximus, which is the strongest and most powerful muscle, controls your hips as you lower to the floor and then extends them as you come up out of the squat. Your quadriceps at the front of your thighs, handle movement at the knees. Your calves are recruited to control the movement at your ankle joints. The erector spinae muscles that run along your spine contract to keep your back straight. In addition, because of the wide stance that sumo squats require, your collection of hip adductor muscles, which are at the inside of your thighs, are recruited.
Incorporating the kettlebell sumo squat exercise into your training regimen is more beneficial than training each of your lower muscles independently. During the sumo squat, your glutes, quadriceps, calves and other muscles have to work together to coordinate the movement. Squatting down is something we do during our daily life, such as when we lower to pick up a child or a bag of groceries from the floor. The exercise closely mimics what we do everyday, and as a result, you’ll see more changes in the ease of your ability to do those daily activities than you would if performing strength training exercises that isolate each of your muscles.
Start out with a lighter kettlebell and take the time to master the technique of the kettlebell sumo squat to reduce your risk of injury. Kettlebells range significantly in their weights. Give your muscles time to adapt to the stress of the exercise by beginning with a lighter kettlebell, such as one that weights 5 pounds, before bumping up the intensity. To ensure that your knee joints remain in a safe position during the exercise, don’t allow them to travel too far forward so that they move beyond the vertical line of your toes as you squat. If you find that your knees to travel too far forward, push your hips back even more.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.