How To Do Kettlebell Sumo Squats Properly

Leg day enthusiasts rejoice, because we will be covering one of the least complicated yet effective exercise for the lower body; the kettlebell sumo squats.

This exercise is one of the variations of the traditional squats that simply adds more weight to ensure more gains.

This is a great exercise for all fitness fanatics; from beginners all through to the advanced folks.

Kettlebell sumo squats primarily targets the glutes, quadriceps (quads), hamstrings as well as hip flexors, abductors and the lower back which makes this compound exercise an invaluable addition to any lower body workout. Sounds exciting? Here is how it is done;

Required Equipment:

  • Position your feet slightly more than the shoulder-width. Also, point your toes outward ever so slightly.
  • The kettlebell should be on the floor directly below your groin. Bend only at the knees and hips and outstretch your arms below your body. Bend until your hands meet the kettlebell. Face forward to avoid bending your back.
  • Grab hold of the kettlebell with both hands; preferably have your palms facing back.
  • Extend your knees and hips, with the kettlebell firmly gripped, to a standing position. This is the starting stance.
  • Bend once again at the knees and hips till the kettlebell touches the ground.
  • Return to standing and you will have successfully completed one rep.
  • As for repetitions, do about 5-10 of them. 2-3 sets of these should be sufficient to fire up your glutes and upper leg. This is however subject to the weight of the kettlebell. Do however many reps that pushes your legs to hit failure.

It is worth noting that when we talk about anything “sumo”, that means that your feet are placed wider or farther apart than normal.

Also note that your arms should remain straight throughout the entirety of the exercise.

Now that you know how to do kettlebell sumo squats, the right way, let us see where exactly you expect to see gains.


As we mentioned in the introduction, the primary muscles worked by kettlebell sumo squats are the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. Additionally, the secondary muscles worked by this exercise are the hip flexors, abductors and the lower back.


The glutes are in fact the strongest and longest muscle group in the body. All the more reason to not neglect them. They are more commonly referred to as the butt.

There are 3 muscles that make up the glutes; gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. Together they work to aid in movements such as rotating, lifting and leg extension.


The quadriceps or quadriceps femoris is actually a hip flexor and knee extensor. It comprises 4 individual muscles; 3 vastus muscles and the rectus femoris. Collectively they form the main bulk of your thigh and are pound for pound one of the strongest muscles in the human body. Quadriceps are essential for locomotion.


Hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles; semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris, that are responsible for knee flexion. They make up most of the back of your thigh.

They aid in mobility functions such as walking or jumping.


Hip flexor muscle, as the name suggests, is responsible for flexing the hip i.e., bringing the knee closer to the chest.

Yes, every step you take relies on these bad boys. Kettlebell sumo squats develop hip flexors ensuring you keep your balance thus helping in preventing injuries.


This is an interesting muscle group in that it is found in all our limbs.

Abductors are basically and muscle that causes movement of a limb away from an adjacent limb; such as raising the arm to the side or moving the thighs to the side.

In the case of the kettlebell sumo squats, they work your hip abductors which comprise three muscles; gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae (TFL).

They not only move the leg away from the body, but also aid in rotating the leg at the hip joint. They are crucial for stability when walking and even standing on a leg.


The lower back is technically not a muscle. The muscles found here are the extensor, flexor and oblique muscles.

These muscles aid hold your body upright and allow your torso to move, bend, rotate and twist. A stronger lower back means a more appealing and comfortable posture.



Kettlebell sumo squats hit the lower back as well as the hip abductors which are responsible for body posture. When these muscles are well developed it means a better and more confident looking posture.


All you need is a kettlebell of choice and you are good to go. It may not be a calisthenics exercise but this exercise is a cheap improvement traditional variation; the squats.


Kettlebell sumo squats are a compound leg exercise that targets a large chunk of your leg and lower back. Well-developed leg muscles improve the overall appeal of the legs and glutes leading to that great look you are looking for.


A healthy lower back and hip abductors means a more upright posture and in turn a more stable stance even when walking.



If you do not happen to fancy the kettlebell sumo squats, we have got you covered. Here are some excellent alternatives that will still give you the same great results;


The deadlift is not regarded as a true alternative to the squat, however, it works very similar muscles and some people find it an easier alternative to the squat. Here is how you can do kettlebell deadlifts;

  • Position yourself so that the kettlebell is centered below your feet. Have your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the hip and grab hold of the kettlebell with your arms straight and outstretched.
  • Push into the ground to stand up. Your arms should be straight throughout the exercise. Lift the kettlebell above the knees.
  • Repeat the cycle for reps. Keep in mind that breathing is essential in any deadlift variation.


For all our calisthenics enthusiasts, you are going to love this alternative since you need no equipment. This cross between the squat and lunge hits the key muscles but with significantly less stress on the hips and ankles. Here is how it is done;

  • Begin in a half-kneeling position, with the rear knee bent at 90 degrees towards the ground. Have your forward knee also bent at 90 degrees with the foot flat on the floor. This is your starting position.
  • Lift the rear knee from the floor and hold this position.
  • Extend the legs in place then return to the bottom position, stopping just before the rear knee touched the ground. Repeat the cycle for reps.



This is a common mistake especially for beginners since your core is not used to weight exercises. This results in hunching your back to compensate for the lack of strength in the core.

Focus on form over weight. Add weight only when you can comfortably do the sumo squats in perfect form.


This is one of the most common mistakes. It is squatting with your knees caved inwards. This is often a result of tight hips or weak glutes.

Be sure to stretch your hips before the exercise and do not use crushing weights when you are just starting the workout.


If you are looking for a more challenging yet less complicated variation of the squat, then the kettlebell sumo squats are just what you are looking for.

Great benefits for your lower body all wrapped in this simple exercise. So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on a kettlebell and ‘sumo squat’ your way to your dream physique.

Best of luck!