5 Tips To Master The Sumo Deadlift

5 Tips To Master The Sumo Deadlift

Master the Sumo Deadlifts with these Five Tips

Deadlifts are no doubt one of the most brutal exercises, as they recruit muscles throughout your entire body. A lot of fitness “gurus” will say that deadlifts are pointless or will only put you at risk for injury, or that they’re too much on the joints. Well, if you are performing an exercise incorrectly, it will almost certainly increase your risk for injury, which is why when it comes to movements like the deadlift, you need to take the time to master it.

sumo deadlift

There are many variations of the deadlifts which will keep you from getting bored of the exercise, such as conventional and sumo. Sumo deadlifts have a less of a direct impact on your back, but utilize your hips, glutes and posterior chain more than the conventional stance.

Due to the limited range of motion with the sumo deadlift, this variation of the exercise can actually enable you to lift heavier weights as compared to pulling with the conventional deadlift stance. The sumo deadlifts are great for people who have a stronger lower body.

Since you get into a squatter stance while lifting the weights, your lower body does more work in this variation as compared to the traditional deadlifts. Sumo deadlifts are an advanced exercise and you need to perform them correctly to get the most out of them.

1. Find a Stance Which Works For You

There are no hard or fast rules when it comes to mastering the sumo deadlift stance, take your time to figure out what works for you. The stance will vary for people based on their height and mobility. Some people have a false notion that the wider your sumo deadlift stance, the better it is. Others say that the wider the stance, the less the lift actually counts. In reality, most people need a moderate sumo stance to lift heavy weights while maintaining the correct form, which reduces the risk of injury.

The sumo deadlifts are harder at the bottom part of the movement. It is harder to move the weights off the floor than it is to lock our your hips and back at the top of the movement. Take a stance which makes it easy for you to lift the weights off the ground.

2. Get Your Body Behind the Bar

Some people make the mistake of ducking out their toes, doing this automatically puts the barbell an inch in front of them, and this is not the spot to be. On the other hand, some people stand on top of the bar which is not the best position to start either because the bar can bump into your knees on the concentric movement. The proper knee sleeves can greatly enhance compression and support big lifts.

Standing right behind the bar with your shins touching the barbell is the best position to start the lift. Keeping your head and chest behind the bar at the start of the movement will help you in locking out your hips and knees at the top of the movement.

3. Point the Toes Out

Feet placement is crucial to master the sumo deadlift, and it is where most people go wrong with the sumo deadlifts, and this can hinder the whole lift. You neither want your feet to be pointing all the way out nor should they be pointing straight ahead. You want the barbell to be as close to you as possible while performing the sumo deadlifts, think of it as a razor that you are shaving your legs with.

If you stand with your feet completely “ducked” out, the bar will be an inch in front of you which can make it harder to lift it off the ground, and put more pressure on your lower back. Turn your feet slightly out as doing this will make the lift shorter and easy.

4. Generate Torque and Push Your Hips Through

As mentioned above, the sumo deadlifts are the hardest at the bottom of the movement. You need to generate a lot of torque to crack the bar off the floor. Make sure you push your knees out so they don’t come in the way of locking out your knees.

If you’re a competitive powerlifter, you will need to stand with your knees and back locked out at the top of the movement. Drive your hips into the bar to finish with a smooth lockout. Some people make the mistake of overextending their lower back which can unlock their knees.

5. Hand Placement

The hand placement while performing the sumo deadlifts can be tricky. Some people like to have a wider than shoulder width grip while the others like to keep their hands close to each other. A shoulder-width hand placement can prove to be the most optimal.

Holding the bar too wide can put extra tension on your lower back while a close grip can make it hard for you to balance the bar.

Is Sumo Cheating?

Alright, let’s address this eternal debate, is the sumo deadlift…cheating? Many will argue that due to the smaller range of motion in a sumo stance vs. a conventional stance, that the movement itself does not count. People will say that the sumo deadlift allows for you to lift more weight. While the mechanics of the sumo deadlift may allow you to life a little more weight than the conventional stance, we really cannot say that sumo is cheating, as it is allowed in competition, and you are still pulling the weight when completing the movement.

Wrap Up on Mastering the Sumo Deadlift

Overall, the sumo deadlift certainly has its benefits. People say it is cheating, but in reality it still counts. The main reason people have issue when performing the sumo deadlift is they are not doing it right. A lot of times people will rush into the stance, thinking they have it all set up correctly, and in reality they do not. Not setting up properly for a lift can actually increase your risk of injury, so always be sure to take the time to set up!

Do you agree with our tips on how to master your sumo deadlift?


What is your sumo deadlifts PR? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

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I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.