Squats are a bit like cauliflower in that they come in many different variations. You have your air squat, your kang squat, your squat in front of lesté… the list goes on. And while good shape is important for any exercise, it is especially important for squats because it can be easy to get through the movements and miss out on the strength-building benefits that the movement has to offer.
The squat-which consists of pulling the legs out a little further than a normal squat-works the insides of the thighs, gluteal muscles and thighs. Once you have the standard version down, you can amplify things with pulses or adding weights, but it is first important to get your perfect shape. In this episode of the video series Well+Good the Right Way, trainer Charlee Atkins, founder of Le Sweat TV, shows you the right form of sumo squat. Read on to see the biggest mistakes she sees people making with the move.
Common mistakes with proper SUMO squat shape
1. Toes pointing too far forward
“Many people tend to point their toes forward more than I would like, “” says Atkins.” While you want to have a wide position, your toes should be shown at an angle of about 45 degrees, she explains. “A good way to make sure your toes are pointing from a good angle: when you’re standing straight and your glutes are on fire, you should feel the outer edges of your hips become inflamed,” she says.
2. Lean forward
The next mistake that Atkins often sees is leaning forward. This turns the movement into more of a hinge than a squat, which prevents it from addressing your glutes properly. To avoid this, be sure to keep your chest raised. “If you tend to fall forward, it’s a little harder to push your knees wide, “” says Atkins.” That leads us to…
3. Knee cave in
You don’t want your knees to collapse, which is “a big no no,” Atkins says. “If your toes point, keep your chest straight, then of course you can think of dislocating your knees instead of letting your knees collapse.”
Watch the video to see Atkins ‘ tips in action.