The Best Sumo Deadlift Exercise Alternatives: Muscle-Building Aspects and How to Perform

The Best Sumo Deadlift Exercise Alternatives

The sumo deadlift is a great exercise to target the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. However, there are many other exercises that can achieve a similar muscle-building effect. In this article, we will describe the best sumo deadlift alternatives. These exercises will prioritize the muscle-building aspects of the sumo deadlift and how to perform them safely and effectively.

What muscles does the sumo deadlift work?

The sumo deadlift is a great exercise for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. These are the three main muscle groups worked during this exercise. The glutes are responsible for hip extension, which is the main movement of the sumo deadlift. The hamstrings are responsible for knee flexion, which helps to control the descent of the weight. The quadriceps are responsible for knee extension, which helps to extend the hips and knees during the lift.

How to perform the sumo deadlift?

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out.

  • Bend at the hips and knees to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Place your hands on the barbell just outside of your legs.

  • Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift the barbell off the floor.

  • Once the barbell is at knee level, explosively extend your hips and knees to stand up tall.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when performing the sumo deadlift is not keeping their back straight. This can lead to lower back injuries. Make sure to keep your back flat and your head up when lowering the barbell. Another common mistake is letting the barbell touch the floor before exploding up to the standing position. This will decrease the amount of weight you can lift and make the exercise less effective. Finally, people often turn their feet out too much when performing the sumo deadlift. This can lead to balancing issues and decreased lifting power.

Variations of the Sumo Deadlift

Exercise #1: Good mornings

Good mornings are a great exercise for targeting the glutes and hamstrings.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out.

  • Bend at the hips to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Place your hands on your hips or behind your head.

  • Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift your torso back to the starting position.

  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise #2: Dead Row

The dead row is a great exercise for targeting the back muscles.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out.

  • Bend at the hips to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Place your hands on the barbell just outside of your legs.

  • Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift the barbell off the floor.

  • Once the barbell is at knee level, explosively extend your hips and knees to stand up tall.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Exercise #3: Hip Thrust

The hip thrust is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the glutes.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and your back against a bench.

  • Place a barbell or dumbbells across your hips.

  • Bend at the knees and drive through your heels to raise your hips off the ground.

  • Once your hips are in line with your shoulders, explosively extend your hips to thrust the weight up.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower your hips back to the starting position.

Exercise #4: Sumo Leg Press

The sumo leg press is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the quads and glutes in a similar way but takes away the use of the back and de-emphasizes the hamstrings.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by sitting in a leg press machine with your feet slightly outside shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out.

  • Unlock the safety bars and lower the weight until your knees are at 90 degrees.

  • Drive through your heels to press the weight up, extending your hips and knees until your legs are straight.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower the weight back to the starting position.

Exercise #5: Single-Leg Leg Press

The single-leg leg press is a variation of the sumo leg press that emphasizes each quadriceps and glutes individually.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by sitting in a leg press machine with your right foot in the center of the footplate and your left toes resting on your right ankle.

  • Unlock the safety bars and lower the weight until your right knee is at 90 degrees.

  • Drive through your right heel to press the weight up, extending your right hip and knee until your leg is straight.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower the weight back to the starting position.

  • Switch legs and repeat with the left leg.

Exercise #6: Rack Pull

The rack pull is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the upper back muscles. It is an ideal variation if you struggle with the concentric (lifting) portion of the deadlift.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by setting up a barbell or dumbbells at knee level.

  • Bend at the hips and knees to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Place your hands on the barbell or dumbbells just outside of your legs.

  • Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift the barbell or dumbbells off the floor.

  • Once the weight is at knee level, explosively extend your hips and knees to stand up tall.

  • Pause for a moment at the top of the lift, then lower the weight back to the starting position.

Exercise #7: Box Squats

The box squat is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the quads. It is an ideal variation if you struggle with the eccentric (lowering) portion of the deadlift.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by setting up a box or bench behind a barbell or dumbbells.

  • Bend at the hips and knees to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Place your hands on the barbell or dumbbells just outside of your legs.

  • Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift the barbell or dumbbells off the floor.

  • Once the barbell or dumbbells are at knee level, explosively extend your hips and knees to stand up tall.

  • Pause for a moment, then lower your hips back to the box or bench.

  • Sit down on the box or bench, then stand back up and repeat.

Exercise #8: Cable Pull Through

The cable pull-through is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the hamstrings.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by setting up the cable machine in front of a box or bench.

  • Attach a rope or handle to the low pulley and stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the rope or handle with both hands in front of your thighs.

  • Keeping your back straight, bend at the hips to lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.

  • Drive through your heels to extend your hips and stand up tall, then squeeze your glutes at the top of the lift.

  • Pause for a moment, then lower the rope or handle back to the starting position.

Exercise #9: Bulgarian Split Squats

The Bulgarian split squat is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the quads and glutes.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing in front of a box or bench with your feet hip-width apart.

  • Place your left foot on the box or bench behind you and extend your right leg out in front of you.

  • Bend your right knee and lower your torso until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.

  • Drive through your left heel to stand back up, then repeat with the other leg.

Summary

In this article, we have described the best sumo deadlift exercise alternatives. These exercises emphasize the muscle-building aspects of the deadlift and how to perform the exercises. Make sure to avoid common mistakes with hamstring exercises, such as overloading the hamstrings or not using proper form. With these tips in mind, you will be able to perform these exercises correctly and effectively build muscle.

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