Sumo Deadlift Form: Everything You Need to Know About the Sumo Deadlift

by Jordan Syatt September 24, 2012

sumo deadlift formIn this Exercise Video of the Week I discuss the ins & outs of proper sumo deadlift form.

In today’s world where everyone and their mother is a self proclaimed “expert” online, it’s important for you to know that I don’t just talk the talk.

As a world record deadlifter and one of the only people in the world to deadlift 4x their body weight, I also walk the walk and like to think I know a little something about sumo deadlift form. 

sumo deadlift form
My 535lb Sumo Deadlift at a Bodyweight of 132lbs (4x my bodyweight).

I’ve written about the deadlift several times before (here and here) but I’ve found video tutorials to be far more helpful in modeling sumo deadlift form and execution.

Beneath today’s video I’ve provided extra notes and technique points so be sure to read those as well.

Sumo Deadlift Form: Everything You Need to Know

Sumo Deadlift Benefits

  1. It has a shorter range of motion (ROM) compared to the Conventional Deadlift, theoretically allowing the lifter to handle more weight.
  2. It’s far less demanding on the low-back and is a much safer option compared to the Conventional Deadlift for individuals prone to back injuries.
  3. The carryover from Sumo Deadlifting to wide-stance Squatting is truly incredible. In my experience, if your Sumo DL improves your Wide-Stance Squat probably has as well.
  4. Compared to the Conventional Deadlift, the Sumo Deadlift places far more stress on the hips, glutes, and hamstrings which may have a greater carryover to sport performance.
  5. It’s bad ass. Yea, I’m serious. It’s a legitimately documented benefit of Sumo Deadlifting – look it up.


Sumo Deadlift Form and Technique Points

  1. Take a wide stance, place your shins roughly .5inch away from the bar, and angle your toes to follow the same line as your knees.
  2. Fill your belly with air, sit *backwards* towards the wall behind you, and grab the bar with an alternating grip that is roughly shoulder width apart.
  3. Spread the floor apart through your heels, actively try to force your shoulders behind the bar, flex your lats as hard as possible, and begin to pull with a slightly backwards emphasis
  4. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire lift and continue to spread the floor and flex your lats.
  5. Once the bar passes your knees squeeze your glutes as tight as possible and finish with your butt/hips – NOT the lower back.
  6. Descend the exact same way you came up, pause on the floor for 1 second, and continue into your subsequent repetitions.

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