What Are Barbell Sumo Squats Good For?

Barbell sumo squats is a compound lower-body exercise that requires you to squat with a wider stance. While squatting, you need to keep your legs shoulder-width apart but for sumo squats, you need to widen your legs by a few inches on each side. 

There is no standard rule on how far apart the legs should be. So, if you are new to barbell sumo squats, go slow and start increasing the gap by just 2 inches on each. Once your body gets accustomed to that, you can widen your stance and increase the weight on the barbell. 

Although barbell sumo squats sound pretty simple; they are far more challenging than squats

Due to a wider stance, the chances of losing your balance and risking an injury, especially hip injury are high. Plus, barbell sumo squats require much more strength and stamina than normal squats. If you are not prepared for that, you may end up with severe hip and inner thigh pain. 

Wondering if it makes sense to do this risky and demanding low-body exercise? Or should you rather stick to squats? 

In this article, I will help you understand why and how you can do barbell sumo squats safely at home. I will answer some of the common FAQs as well, so you can start safe and stay safe during your training. 

barbell sumo squats

Benefits of barbell sumo squats

They help engage the inner thigh muscles 

When you squat with a normal stance, your inner thighs do not get a chance to do a lot of work. The glutes and quads do most of the work. If you want to improve your athletic performance or if you simply want to build stronger, well-toned legs, you need to work on them too. 

Stronger inner thigh muscles help provide better stability to perform your daily activities and exercises safely. Whether you are into running, weight training, cardio, or just walking, inner thigh muscles help stabilize your hips, knees, core, and back, so you don’t lose your balance so easily. 

💡 Quick Tip: If you are an athlete or a budding athlete who wants to build stronger legs, you should think about investing in a dedicated leg press machine. With the help of a machine, you will be able to train with heavy weights safely at home. I recommend Titan Fitness Leg Press Hack Squat Machine because it is affordable and versatile.

Titan Fitness Leg Press Hack Squat Machine

They help improve your balance and stability 

I have already discussed it above. 

Squatting with a wider stance requires a lot of balance and stability. If you don’t have that, you should start practicing sumo squats. Try doing it without any weights and start with just a few reps. Soon, you will see an improvement in your balance. Then, you can start using a single dumbbell or dumbbells in both hands as per your comfort, and then you can move on to a barbell. 

Every time you make a change, you will experience some balance problems but the more you practice, the stronger your muscles will become and the more stability they will provide.

💡 Quick Tip: Looking for dumbbells? I recommend Inspire Fitness 210 LB Rubber Dumbbell Set as it comes with its own storage rack.

Inspire Fitness 210 LB Rubber Dumbbell Set

They help you build stronger legs 

Squat is the king of all lower body exercises. Pick up any of its forms and you will be surprised to learn how it can fire up all major muscles of your lower body, the back, and the core. 

Sumo squats are no different. Squats can fire up your quads whereas barbell sumo squats can shift the effort to hamstrings and all the butt muscles. Together, these squat variations can help you build stronger legs and improve your athletic performance. 

📖 Related Article: Love doing sumo squats? Find them rather easy? Looking for even more challenging squat variations that can help you build stronger, visible quads? I strongly recommend you to try sissy squats. Here isIf you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: everything that you would want to know about sissy squats

Safety tips for doing barbell sumo squats 

  • If you have never tried this exercise earlier, start doing bodyweight sumo squats first and prepare your body for the weighted ones. 
  • Try using a dumbbell when you are ready for weighted sumo squats. Place it on the back of your neck and practice for a few weeks. You can keep increasing the weight as and when needed. 
  • Once you are ready for barbell sumo squats, start with a very low weight. I recommend this even for people who are already training with a decent amount of weight. That’s because barbell sumo squats require more balance and stamina than normal stance squats. 
  • Do not curve your back or bend forward while doing sumo squats. If you are doing that, you are probably lifting more weight than you should. Reduce the weight and maintain your form. 
  • Do not rush through while doing barbell sumo squats. The slower you go, the harder the exercise will feel and that’s exactly what you need to get better results. 
  • While there is no fixed rule on how wide your stance should be, you must not keep too much gap between your legs, or else you might find it hard to return to the starting position. Keep experimenting with various stances but without weights. This will help you figure out what works best for you. 

📖 Related Article: If you are planning to include sumo squats in your exercise routine, you may be interested in our article onIf you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Why is My Squat So Weak and How Can I Improve it?

Barbell sumo squats alternatives 

Not everyone has enough space, budget, and motivation to build a full-fledged home gym with barbells, squat racks, and weight plates. If you are one of them, here are some of the alternatives that I suggest: 

  • Sumo squats with kettlebells or dumbbells
  • Sumo deadlift- if you can’t squat with a wide stance, you can try deadlifts until your leg muscles are strong and stable enough for squats
  • Sumo squats with a smith machine- I am not a big fan of smith machines because they do not let your body’s balancing system do its work. But, if you are not strong or confident enough to do wide stance squats, using a smith machine can make it much safer. Here are some of the best smith machines that I recommend. 

Wrap up 

I hope this article helps you understand what barbell sumo squats are and why you should incorporate them into your exercise routine. If you have queries or suggestions, you can leave a comment or email me. I will be happy to provide you with the necessary information.