What defines a sumo squat?

Is it a bird, is it a plane, no, it’s a sumo squat! Or perhaps it’s not. But how do we know?

Squat stances

  • Narrow
  • Neutral
  • Wide
  • Sumo
  • Staggered
  • Etc.


What is Sumo?

Sumo in the context of exercise is a stance one takes to perform a squat or hip hinge movement. Forget what you’ve been told, question everything, even me, if you look at sumo wrestlers you can truly see what the original stance looks like and how far the knees and toes point out.


Sumo stance is used for:

  • decreasing the range of motion
  • decreasing shearing force on the lumbar spine
  • increasing the use of adductors and abductors
  • increasing the use of gluteus minimus and medius
  • increasing hip flexibility


Decreasing the range of motion by bringing the feet/knees out further which in turn brings the hips lower.

Decreasing shearing force by keeping the torso more upright, i.e. the lower the hips the higher the shoulders can remain to grab hold of a weight.

Increasing use of abductors on the down phase, and adductors on the up phase. Increasing use of the gluteus minimus and medius due to the excessive hip abduction desired in the sumo.

Increasing hip flexibility by putting ROM to the test upon each rep.


What defines a sumo squat?

  • Toes are pointed outwards at least forty-five degrees.
  • Feet are placed at least twice the distance outside of hip width.
  • Shins are vertical at the bottom position.
  • Hips low and shoulders high.
  • Excessive hip abduction.




What defines a sumo hip hinge?

All of the above but the opposite of hips low and shoulders high. With a hip hinge the hips remain high and the shoulders come low.


What defines a sumo deadlift?

If you adhere to any of the above and are lifting any dead weight off the ground. That weight can be a barbell, kettlebell, sandbag, grocery bag, your drunk buddy, etc.


What defines a sumo squat deadlift?

You know the answer by now.


Not sure?

  • Are your feet pointing out 45 degrees or past? Yes. Probably sumo stance.
  • Can your hips come lower than your knees? No. Probably sumo stance.
  • Are your knees coming past or in line with your toes? Yes. Probably not sumo stance.
  • Really feeling a serious pull on the side of your buttocks? Yes. Probably sumo stance.


Why did I write this?

I put a video out of a wide double kettlebell squat dead lift in many different groups and asked what it was. The response was extremely diverse. Assumptions were made about the movement, even though the movement wasn’t defined, i.e. a Deadlift is considered a hip hinge by most. The majority voted for a sumo deadlift, but then got confused because there was no hip hinge movement.


  • wide = stance
  • double kettlebell = equipment
  • squat = movement
  • dead lift = range (from dead) to lift (raise to a higher position or level)


The stance that was considered a sumo squat by majority follows:

The video in question:

We ask you answer: What is this? ??

Posted by Taco Fleur on Friday, 7 September 2018

What’s the point of writing this article?

To prove people wrong? No, other than Alejandro, I like people to take away some new knowledge, open minds. A deadlift can be hip hinge or squat, a sumo deadlift can be hip hinge or squat, a wide squat stance is not automatically a sumo stance, and a sumo stance has certain characteristics plus objectives. If you want someone to perform a specific movement, you should include that in the name, if you want to see a specific stance, you should include that in the name. Do you need to believe or do what I say? Of course not, if it doesn’t make sense to you, if you don’t think it will improve communication, if you see no point, ignore it. That’s how information, ideas, and thoughts work. Am I open to hearing what your point is? Absolutely, hence the reason I post in an open forum, I learn from your feedback, I’m open to being proven wrong, but just a “that’s the way it is and now shut up” is not going to cut it with me.


I dedicate this article to Alejandro Sevillano, he gave me the inspiration to write this after being extremely disrespectful, arrogant, and patronizing. Thank you Alejandro for lighting my fire. People like Alejandro have currently no business participating in an open forum, they have nothing to add of value, they’re not investing their time to communicate and debate.

Can you stop embarrassing yourself please? Don’t teach people who know what they are talking about because you identify as a vegan honda civic. What do you mean it feels like a comfortable position so it isnt sumo? It is sumo. Now be quiet. Alejandro Sevillano


Then again, maybe we’re all wrong, just maybe, there are all those squat stances, but what’s sumo to one, isn’t sumo to another due to flexibility?¿ Now, let’s have a normal debate, post below or on Facebook with reasons why any of the above is incorrect. I might disagree, but I won’t be talking down on you, neither will I push my opinion upon you. I will, however, listen to what you have to say, and if it makes sense, I will investigate, if you are correct, I will stand corrected.

Sumo Deadlift on Wikipedia

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