In powerlifting, the Sumo Deadlift is akin to a gateway for other heavy lifts.
This exercise has been popularized by professional weightlifters, and it is a modification of the Conventional Deadlift, which is more difficult to learn. The Sumo Deadlift also applies less strain on the back.
Understanding The Sumo Deadlift
The Sumo Deadlift is a strength training move specific to powerlifting. Also called the Wide Stance Deadlift, it requires the use of a barbell and weight plates and it works the hamstrings.
History Of This Exercise
The Conventional Deadlift is a compound exercise that has existed since the 1700s. The Sumo Deadlift has a much shorter history, arising in the 1970s as an alternative to the Conventional Deadlift.
More About This Exercise
Much like its close cousin the Conventional Deadlift, the Sumo Deadlift is typically performed by professional powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters. One key difference, though, is that it is a knee-hinge lift, meaning you drive through your knees, whereas you lead by pushing your hips back in the Conventional Deadlift.
How To Prepare For This Challenging Lift
Prepping for the Sumo Deadlift is all about your stance:
- Approach the barbell and set your stance wide. Your toes should point in the direction of the weight plates, and your kneecaps should line up with your toes.
- Apply pressure on the outsides of each foot, working to create an arch in your feet that will help support you. This is usually called “spreading the floor” or “rooting your feet.”
Performing A Proper Sumo Deadlift
The Sumo Deadlift is often done incorrectly. Follow these steps for a proper lift:
- Focus on your knee hinge movement, meaning don’t push your hips back. It helps some lifters to imagine they are positioned in a narrow hallway where they can’t let their chest, kneecaps or glutes touch the walls.
- Grip the bar with a mixed grip. That is, one hand should be overhand and one underhand. Ensure your torso and shoulders are positioned behind the bar – you should not be leaning over it.
- Lower your hips and look straight out in front of you.
- Drive through the floor as you stand, keeping arms straight as the barbell comes off the floor.
- When the bar passes your kneecaps, lean back and push your hips forward to meet the bar.
- Bend at the hips to lower the barbell back down again in a controlled manner.
The Benefits: Why Learn Sumo Deadlift?
If you’re performing the Sumo Deadlift, chances are you’re looking for an alternative to the Conventional Deadlift to build lower body strength and explosiveness. It provides the following benefits:
- Shorter range of motion required than Conventional Deadlift
- Improves your form for Conventional Deadlift
- Your lumbar spine absorbs less shear force than in Conventional Deadlift
One Variation: The Conventional Deadlift
The one difference in a Conventional Deadlift is stance – the feet are much closer together than in Sumo Deadlift, and this makes it a hip-hinge exercise rather than knee-hinge like the Sumo version.
If you want to explore the world of powerlifting, the Sumo Deadlift is a smart place to start.