One of the most effective exercises I use in my Team Over The Top and private training sessions to ‘lock in’ the core, strengthen the feet and improve the overall bracing capacity of the body is the Sumo Squat.
It is done barefoot on virtually any surface at any time in any place. One of its beauties is its flexibility with no requirement for special equipment or props.
Is it difficult? In a word..YES. It’s one of the MOST difficult exercises to do well and repeatedly BUT the MOST effective that I have incorporated at generating positive ‘bracing versus gravity’ progress. Doing so directly improves one’s ability to run barefoot lighter, safer and longer with more speed and power.
The Sumo Squat is done as follows:
- squat low to the ground with feet facing FORWARD
- position elbows against the inside of the knees
- press hands together in praying position
- whilst activating the WHOLE Core, push out with the elbows against the knees and in with the knees against the elbows
- keep the hips low and the upper body on a 45 degree angle with knees bent to 115 degrees
- keep the head and neck RELAXED
You are now in the ‘start’ position. I start my people off by holding the position for 30 seconds. When they can do that without quitting, I build them up to 3 x 60 seconds. After that, I incorporate a circuit, a sample of which follows:
- side-stepping to the right then back to the left
- circling to the right then back to the left
- stepping forward then backward
- hopping on the spot
I start with 30 seconds per exercise done without recovery. Nobody ever completes the circuit the first time through. With consistent, perfect practice, the team get to 60 seconds of each exercise x 1 circuit twice per week before progressing to the next, more challenging circuit (see future blogs).
By working diligently at doing the circuit perfectly, my runners, over time, become stronger, lighter on their feet, more balanced and faster with less fatigue whilst running barefoot. The best aspect of all is…NO AVOIDABLE RUNNING INJURIES. They transition much better and faster…even if they go with some sort of running footwear.
Try to build this into your weekly training. It will save you hours of gym time IF you do it as outlined above.