The Sumo Deadlift: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Common Mistakes

How to Perform the Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is a great exercise for building muscle and strength. Unlike the traditional deadlift, the sumo stance allows you to use more weight and build more muscle. In this article, we will describe how to perform the sumo deadlift correctly, as well as some of the variations and common mistakes people make.

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.

Compared to the conventional deadlift, the sumo deadlift emphasizes the quads and glutes more. The sumo deadlift is easier on the lower back than the conventional deadlift because of the wider stance. The sumo deadlift is also a great exercise for people with limited mobility because it requires less hip flexion.

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.

Cues to Remember

When performing the sumo deadlift, make sure to keep your back straight and your hips and knees fully extended. Do not round your back, as this can lead to injuries. When lowering the barbell, make sure to keep your back flat and your head up. Do not let the barbell touch the floor before you explode up to the standing 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: 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 #2: Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the hamstrings.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

  • Bend at the hips and lower the barbell down your shins until you reach your mid-calf.

  • From here, extend your hips and knees to return 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: Front Squat

The front squat is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the quads.

To perform this exercise:

  • Set up your squat rack or cage so that the barbell is at about shoulder level.

  • Grip the bar with either a clean or cross grip.

  • After you have a firm grip on the barbell, lift it off of the rack or cage and take a step back.

  • Adjust your feet so that they are shoulder-width apart and turned out slightly.

  • Once you are in position, bend at the knees and hips to lower your body down into a squatting position.

  • Keep your chest up and spine straight as you lower yourself down.

  • Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or until your hips are lower than your knees (if comfortable).

  • From this position, drive through your heels to raise your body back up to the starting position.

  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise #5: Conventional Deadlift

The conventional deadlift is a variation of the sumo deadlift that emphasizes the lower back and glutes.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.

  • 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 weight back to the starting position.

Summary

In conclusion, the sumo deadlift is a great exercise for building muscle. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when performing this exercise. First, focus on using good form. Second, make sure to choose the right variation of the exercise for your goals. Lastly, avoid common mistakes such as not using a full range of motion or not keeping your back straight. By following these tips, you will be able to maximize your results from the sumo deadlift and build the muscle you desire.

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