One Perfect Move: Sumo Squat Side Kick

A little kickboxing can go a long way in improving your mood and mindset.

If you need confirmation that you got this, you can find it with @msjeanettejenkins on Instagram. Jeanette Jenkins, founder of the Hollywood Trainer and the celebrity trainer behind the handle, is a master of motivation, and she knows what makes a workout greater than its moving parts.

“I get feedback from my followers and clients about how empowered they feel when they do kickboxing moves,” says Jenkins, who created this sumo squat-to-side kick so you can hit that high note too. “Plus, any movements using your legs are really getting your blood flowing.” (Also consider: Do This 45-Minute HIIT Workout to Feel Empowered)

Starting in a wide stance, toes turned out slightly, you’ll sink into the sumo squat and then come up fluidly into a side kick. “Move with complete control rather than speed,” she says. “The more control you have, the more muscles you’re going to recruit since there is less momentum taking over.”

After 15 to 20 reps, repeat with the opposite leg — then walk away feeling pretty badass. Consider adding this killer move to a total-body circuit workout or a boxing workout — or this no-equipment abs workout Jenkins designed for her client, P!nk.

“If the move is challenging, then give yourself time to progress,” she says. But the mental recharge starts with your first set.

Some more form tips to keep in mind, from Jenkins:

  • Squat no lower than 90 degrees, resisting the downward motion with your glutes.
  • Try a straddle stretch beforehand to loosen up: Sitting on the floor with legs wide, fold forward and hold for eight to 10 deep breaths.
  • Mentally, this movement is about focus and control. This transfers into achieving goals in everyday life that require those skills.
  • As you kick, push just to the point before you lock out your knee. If you kick with force without a pad at the end, that force will go into the knee joint.
  • Accept your range of motion. If your hamstrings are tight, your kick can go only so high.

How to Sumo Squat Side Kick

First, do a quick chamber drill to stretch open the hips and prepare for the side kick: Stand with the right foot out to the side, opening hips to the front with core braced. Hinge torso to the right and lift the left leg, bending at the knee and grabbing the foot with the left hand, attempting to lift left thigh parallel to the floor. Do this near a wall and use it for balance with the right hand if needed. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

A. Stand with feet wide, toes turned out. Sink hips into a squat until thighs are parallel to the ground.

B. Straighten legs to stand, simultaneously sliding the left foot in to center under torso and lifting the right foot out to the side to perform a side kick; allow torso to lean to the left and keep hands guarding face.

C. Recoil the kick, place right foot on the floor, and step left foot to the side to return to the sumo squat. (Optional: Add a block during the sumo squat, extending the left arm over the left thigh.)

Do 15-25 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

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