Shoulder And Sumo Squats – A Step-By-Step Guide With Pictures

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Squats with a barbell on your shoulders is the best and most effective exercise for gaining leg weight. With barbell squats, you not only pump your buttocks, quadriceps and biceps femoris, but also add strength and mass to your back, abs, shoulders and the whole body! Having mastered the correct technique, you can not only set records in the gym, but also become really strong!

squats with a barbell on the shoulders - technique

Very often in the gym at rush hour you can watch a live queue near the bench. At the same time, experienced bodybuilding trainers unanimously say that the best exercise you can do on the bench is bench press.

After the bench press, some athletes also decide to work out the biceps , and finish the workout by pumping the calf muscles – you need to take care of your legs!

So let us rejoice that the squat frame is almost always free and we can easily become stronger and bigger while everyone else is pumping the bicep and doing abs curls, preparing for the beach season.

Squats with a barbell on your shoulders is a basic exercise that is always included in the program to build muscle and increase strength. Only those who perform squats with a barbell on their shoulders can boast a strong back and good buttocks shape. According to men, girls pay attention primarily to a wide back and huge biceps, but, as it turns out, bicep lose their attractiveness in the absence of a good rear view.

An important note for beginners: barbell squats instead of making you stronger, without correct technique can lead to injury. You can easily injure your back, knees, and anything else — even break your neck! If it is not possible to take at least a couple of lessons from an experienced trainer, make friends with the guys in the gym and ask the most experienced ones to adjust your technique. As a rule, help can always be found.

At the beginning of the workout, be sure to do a warm-up and dynamic stretching , this will warm up the muscles and increase the amplitude of movements during the exercise.

Shoulder Squat Anatomy

muscle anatomy - squats with a barbell on the shoulders

The photo shows the leg muscles working during squats with a barbell on the shoulders:

  • quadriceps – front of the thigh
  • hip biceps – back
  • gluteus maximus muscle.

As stabilizers of the upper body during exercise muscles act press and rectifiers back . The bar of the bar rests on the trapezoid and shoulders. Thus, squats require not only strong legs, but also a strong back and abs.


# Types of Squats
1 Shoulder Squats
2 Sumo Squats
3 Bench / Chair Squats
4 Front squats (chest squats)
5 Overhead Squats
6 Scissor squats (on one leg)

During the exercise, abs and back act as stabilizers of the upper body. Thus, squats require not only strong legs, but also a strong back and abs.

The number of sets and reps will depend on your goals at the moment. If you need to gain muscle mass, it is recommended to perform 3-5 sets (excluding warm-up) for 5-8 reps. During cutting phase, the majority switch to repeated training – 8-12 reps, 3-5 working sets.

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Contraindications for squats with a barbell on the shoulders: problems with the spine, knee and hip joints, a predisposition to varicose veins and other diseases that a doctor may indicate. If during the squats you feel discomfort (in the knees, lower back, etc.), then pay special attention to the correct technique (ask the trainer to see how you do the exercises). If pain or discomfort persists, be sure to consult a doctor. Inattention to oneself ends in trauma.

What is the benefit of sumo squat bodybuilding?

Sumo squats differ from classic squats in a wide setting of legs, in which the load on the buttocks and biceps of the hips increases, and on the quadriceps it decreases. Many girls love sumo precisely for “turning off” the quadriceps, which allows them to work out the buttocks in isolation. Sumo also well tightens the inner thighs, making the legs embossed and athletic.

The benefits of sumo squat bodybuilding:

  • Buttocks are effectively pumped, increasing them and forming a beautiful, rounded shape, which is especially important for girls.
    Make the hips embossed, pulling the inner surface of the thigh.
    Strengthen the muscles of the cortex: abs, pelvic floor muscles, deep back muscles.
    They improve metabolism in the body due to blood flow to the muscles and their intensive work.
    They help get rid of cellulite.
    Positive influence on coordination of movements and ability to keep balance.
    Stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area.
    Promote flexibility and mobility of the pelvic joints.

In addition, sumo squats are perfect for girls. This is a universal exercise for the home and the hall to study problem areas, which can be done with any equipment and without it at all.


1. Squats with a barbell on your shoulders

Technique of execution:

  • heels at a distance slightly wider than the shoulders, turn the toes outward by about 35 degrees (a narrower setting of the feet increases the load on the quadriceps, but in any case, the toes should be slightly deployed so as not to injure the knees);
  • the vulture is placed on the shoulders and trapeziums, with your hands held back at a distance wider than the shoulders; take your elbows back (this position of the neck is used in weightlifting and bodybuilding, in powerlifting, the bar is placed slightly lower, which allows you to take more weight and use more muscles);
  • shoulder blades to reduce and strain the back, chest forward;
  • when lowering, the body bends in the pelvic and knee joints, the back is forward, and the back is retracted;
  • you need to lower so that the hips are parallel to the floor or slightly lower (if you can);
  • body weight is transferred to the heels (they should not be torn off the ground);
  • keep your back straight, avoiding rounding of the top of the back;
  • strain the abs (to support the back);
  • the lower back is not rounded, a natural deflection in the lumbar region is supported (the load is transferred to the buttocks and quadriceps);
  • knees and hips do not go forward beyond the feet, but move apart;
  • the head should not be lifted up, as this can lead to stretching, you need to look forward, keeping the neck in line with the spine;
  • to reach up when lifting, you need to breast, not forehead;
  • when lifting, knees should not be brought in;
  • before lowering, inhale, hold your breath and tighten your muscles;
  • exhale after lifting.
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2. Squats on the bench / chair

To practice the technique of squats with a barbell on your shoulders, you can train to squat on a chair / bench. It is necessary to choose a chair so high that in the sitting position the hips are parallel to the floor and the foot is completely on the floor. Exercise is useful for those who are unable to perform classic squats in full amplitude (so that the hips are parallel to the floor or below). In powerlifting, the exercise is used to practice an explosive climb from the bottom of the squat.

3. Sumo Squats – Wide Leg Setting

Sumo squats work well on the adductors of the thigh (inner part) and are especially useful for those who, in classic squats, knees are brought together instead of turning outwards – this is precisely because of the weakness of the adductors.

Technique of execution:

  • stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart;
  • turn your toes out on 120 degrees;
  • squat so that the hips are parallel to the floor, and the lower leg is perpendicular;
  • buttocks are laid back, and the back is slightly forward;
  • keep your back on one straight line, do not round your shoulders;
  • strain the abs to support the back;
  • when lifting up, strain the gluteal muscles.

4. Front squats (squats with a barbell on the chest)

This type of squats increases the load on the front surface of the thigh – quadriceps.

Technique of execution:

  • take the bar with the grip wider than the shoulder-width and raise it above the head;
  • hands during squats always remain perpendicular to the floor;
  • squats technique is similar to the previous ones (the back is held in the maximum possible vertical position, with a minimum forward bend).

Do not confuse this type of squats with the “pistol” exercise, which is also called squatting on one leg.

When performing frontal squats with a barbell on the chest, the most common grip is crosswise. Weightlifting is more difficult to perform, as it requires good mobility of the shoulder joints and flexibility of the muscles of the shoulders and triceps. But, having mastered this grip, you can better control the technique of performing frontal squats – the top of the back will not round and the chest will not fall down.

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5. Squats with a barbell over your head

This type of squats adds load to the upper body, including the shoulders, trapezium and muscle-stabilizing body. When doing squats with a barbell over your head, you should start with small weights, as this exercise is very traumatic. First, warm up the shoulder joints with a stick or elastic tape (as shown in the video).

Technique of execution:

  • the bar is taken in the grip wider than the shoulders and rises above the head;
  • hands during squats always remain in a plane perpendicular to the floor;
  • squats similar to the front ones are performed (the back is held in the maximum possible vertical position, with a minimum forward bend).

A beginner needs to first learn the technique of classic squats and work out it well before trying squats with a barbell over his head.

6. Split squat (squat “in scissors”, on one leg)

The split squat is suitable for those who have problems with the spine, as it allows less strain on the back (due to less weight weights). You can also use squats “in scissors” for extra load on the legs, performing them after regular squats with a barbell on the back. “Scissors” can serve as an excellent alternative to leg press – if you do not want to overload the spine, you can use dumbbells instead of a barbell.

Do not confuse this type of squats with the “pistol” exercise, which is also called squatting on one leg.

Technique of execution.

  • put the barbell on your shoulders (or take dumbbells);
  • lunge forward with one foot, while the toe of the front leg is slightly turned inward, and the heel of the back foot is turned outward (this will help to further stabilize the body);
  • the hind leg is bent at the knee without touching the floor;
  • the knee of the front leg does not extend beyond the toe, while the closer the knee is to the toe, the greater the emphasis on the quadriceps, the farther away from it – the more the buttocks are involved;
  • straighten your legs, feet remain in place;
  • then bend both legs again, while the body does not lean forward, but remains perpendicular to the floor – bending and unbending legs you move it up and down, and not back and forth;
  • repeat exercise for the other leg.

In conclusion, everyone is encouraged to follow the “10 Commandments of Squat”.

Shoulder Squatting TechniqueThe 10 Commandments of