How to Sumo Deadlift: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Target: glutes, glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, core, calves

Necessary equipment: dumbbells, dumbbell plates

Level: Intermediary

The Sumo deadlift is a variation that uses a wider leg stance, similar to how a sumo wrestler sets up before a match. This deadlift version is generally less demanding on the lower back and spine while still providing challenges for the same muscle groups.

The sumo deadlift is especially beneficial for anyone who finds that conventional deadlifts add weight to their lower back. However, the sumo deadlift emphasizes certain muscles less than the traditional deadlift. Both types of deadlifts have value in your weightlifting routine.

While it’s important to perfect your form and seek care for any back strain, sumo deadlifts provide an alternative for those who want to deadlift without suffering. loads of load on the lower back.

How to Sumo Deadlift

Start by standing in front of a loaded barbell in a wide stance with your toes pointing slightly outward. Your posture should be wide enough so that your arms are inside the knees. Your elbows should just be on the inside of your knees and your hands on the side bars of your feet.

While everyone’s shape will vary depending on their anatomy, for most people your shins should be perpendicular to the floor while your shoulders should be on the bar and your back should be. flat.

Your knees should be extended and pushed out, with your outer hip muscles feeling strong and activated. Your torso should be a little straighter than you would for a traditional deadlift.

  1. Bend your body and bring your hips toward the bar. Work out your lower back, legs, and butt so you feel as if your whole body is turned on and your muscles are activated.
  2. Rotate the quadriceps so that the femur rotates open in the hip socket, aligning the knees with the feet and toes.
  3. Grasp the bar with a forehand or mixed grip and slide your shoulder blades back and down, locking them in place.
  4. Pull the bar up until it touches the top of the inner circle of the weight plate while pressing your feet into the floor. Haven’t lifted the barbell off the floor.
  5. Inhale and bring your feet to the ground while pulling the dumbbells up. Keep chest high and hips down.
  6. Pull the bar along your leg as close to your body as possible and press through your heels as you push through your legs to raise.
  7. Squeeze your glutes and completely lock your knees and hips in the top position.
  8. Reverse the movement slowly and mindfully, keeping the bar close to your body to avoid injury to your lower back.

Benefits of Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is a great compound lift, which means it works multiple muscle groups using multiple joints. Thus, this movement pattern helps build functional strength, which is the type used in everyday activities such as lifting objects off the ground.

Sumo deadlifts build strength in the back chain, including the back, glutes, and hamstrings, while activating the quadriceps and adductor muscles. There are several benefits to performing the sumo deadlift. Here’s an overview of how you can benefit from the sumo deadlift.

Relieves stress on the lower back

Because the stance is more upright and closer to the ground with the sumo deadlift than with the regular deadlift, there is less stress on the lower back. If you do weight training several times per week or you tend to have low back pain, substituting a sumo workout in place of a regular weightlifting workout for some of your workouts can be beneficial.

Increase traction

Sumo deadlifts can often be performed with heavier weights than you would use in a typical deadlift. Therefore, when you raise the bar to the top of the movement using heavier weights, you can increase the power needed to pull. This movement can translate into the ability to hold heavier weights during other exercises or daily activities.

Normal Deadlift Performance Improvement

As with any strength training exercise, adding a variation can help improve imbalances or muscle weakness that keep you from increasing your performance. Sumo deadlifts are an alternative to conventional deadlifts, allowing you to add more volume and variety while building the muscle strength needed for traditional deadlifting.

Build glutes and quadriceps strength

With the feet, hips, and knee angles used in a sumo deadlift, the quadriceps and glutes are more activated than in a regular deadlift. This fact makes the sumo deadlift a great exercise to help build these muscle groups while also increasing the strength needed to perform glutes and quadriceps exercises and daily activities.

Other variations of Sumo Deadlift

Sumo deadlifts are usually performed with a barbell but can also be performed with other weights and equipment. Here are some variations of the sumo deadlift that you might want to try.

Sumo Deadlift Resistance Band

Place a large ring resistance band around your foot and grip the middle. Alternatively, use an open resistance band and hold the handle in your hand while standing in the middle of the band in the sumo pose described in the dumbbell version above. Make sure that there is no slack in the strap.

  1. Hold the rope or handle by the handle as if you were holding a barbell.
  2. Keep your chest high and your hips down while you keep the straps along your body.
  3. Lock the hips at the top of the movement and squeeze the glutes.
  4. Lower back slowly and with control to the starting position.

Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift

Hold a dumbbell in your hand with an overhand grip and get into a sumo position with your feet wide and slightly outward.

  1. Begin to bend your knees and push your hips back, keeping your chest high while lowering the dumbbells toward the floor.
  2. Push your feet into the ground and keep your chest up while pulling the dumbbells back, squeezing your glutes and locking in your head.
  3. Lower back with control.

Alternatively, start with dumbbells on the ground and use the same form as you would with barbell sumo.

Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

Place your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned outward and place warm dumbbells under your hips.

  1. Inhale, contract your body and begin to bend your knees and hips, keeping your chest and spine in a neutral position.
  2. Grasp warm dumbbells with both hands and stretch your shoulder blades down and up to feel the stretch in your glutes and legs.
  3. Begin to push your feet into the floor while raising them, keeping your arms and warm dumbbells close together.
  4. Lift your hips to fully extend and squeeze your glutes, exhaling at the top with warm dumbbells between your legs.
  5. Slowly lower your back to the starting position, maintaining a neutral core and spine.

Common mistake

When performing the sumo deadlift, it’s important to use proper form and be careful to avoid strain or injury. Avoid these mistakes to get the most out of this exercise.

Cave in your chest

Make sure to keep your chest high during this exercise. Avoid having your chest tucked in and your shoulder blades rounded. Keep your shoulder blades retracted — back and inward. Look forward without bending your neck.

Turn back

Do not keep your back round as you lift the bar. To avoid this, put your shoulder blades back and lower and keep your hips down until you raise the bar close enough that they lift naturally. Do not start the exercise by raising your hips. Doing so can round your back to compensate for not using your legs to push forward.

Skip bending your knees correctly

With a deadlift sumo, you don’t just rotate from the hips like with a regular deadlift. Sumo deadlifts begin with knee and hip movements. Bend your knees toward your feet as you rotate your hips back. It is essential to push your knees outward and not let them point inward.

Safety and Precautions

As with any strength training exercise, it is important that you work with lighter weights until you are confident that you can perform properly with heavier weights. You also have to learn how to move properly and keep your spine neutral to avoid straining your lower back muscles.

If you have an injury or have lower back or knee pain, you should avoid deadlift sumo. Make sure you get some exercise before doing this exercise.

frequently asked Questions

Are deadlifts sumo harder than regular deadlifts?

Sumo deadlifts are not technically difficult or easier than regular deadlifts. However, they may be more suited to someone’s specific anatomy. For example, people with longer arms and legs can more easily lift sumo because they don’t have to raise the bar too far off the ground with this form.

Sumo deadlifts can often be completed with a higher weight than regular deadlifts. This fact can make them appear harder or easier, depending on your point of view.

Is the sumo deadlift a real deadlift?

Sumo deadlifts are just like any other deadlift variation. They are a variation of the deadlift that emphasizes different muscle groups than the regular deadlift. However, they are unique because they are more than just a hip hinge movement. They are also movements that start with the knee hinge.

Are sumo deadlifts better than regular deadlifts?

Deadlifts sumo are no better or worse than regular deadlifts and training with both variations is a great choice. Sumo deadlifts focus more on your glutes and quads than regular deadlifts, using more hamstrings and lower back muscles.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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