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Good Form on Sumo Deadlift


can anyone here recommend a good article on Sumo deadlifts, or videos showing good sumo form?




Wow no responses? Sumo seems to be the dominant lifting style for lifters below 200lbs, which is most of the people on this site. If there really is so little info out there on the lift it seems like someone on the staff should write an article on it and educate the masses.

From what I know now it is safer AND more powerful then conventional deadlifting. It is also a lot more comfortable, with minimal shin scrapping. Some complain that the range of motion is too short but this can be corrected easilly with platforms or using 35s or 25s. The day of the sumo is coming.




I don't think pullin sumo is the "strongest" way.

The 2 heaviest ever DL's were both pulled conventional. And i acknowledge that both Bolton and Magnusson probably have bodies suited to pulling this way.

I'm debating or not whether to make the switch myself cos i've short arms.

As for sumo form.. I think I read an article by metal milita on it so maybe try googling it.


A good article for sumo deadlift is by Brian Scwhab from EliteFTS, I believe he competes in the 148 and 165 weight classes and has a best pull of 600 lbs. I like to pull sumo because its more comfortable and I can flat out do more weight. Hope this helps.


If the link doesn't go through just go to the elitefts site and look under powerlifting articles for "Top 10 Tips for Sumo Deadlift" or something close to that.


I will look that up thanks.

As for most powerful technique I think that a better way to determine that would be best ratio of bodyweight to weight pulled and I think that is probably done by a sumo lifter.

if you have short arms and are flexible definitley try sumo. it feels way better to me at least.



Oh man you have no idea the shit-storm you're stirring up with the "realitive strength" refernce.

I think I'll give sumo a go because I squat wide(ish) anyway...

I had a quick look for that article I mentioned in my previous post but I can't find it. i'll let ya know if I do.


great article thanks


1.) Feet close to plates
2.) Toes out. about 45 degrees.
3.) Bar flush on shins
4.) Knees out
5.) Push with heels

Conventional vs. Sumo.

In the offseason alternate every other workout between the two. You will figure out in about 8 weeks which one is for you.



Shoot an email to RDC at his website (I'll PM it to you). He's probably the best deadlift technician to ever live.



For me, my feet are slightly more than shoulder width apart(on a standard olympic bar my legs are inside the rings). I feel I get more drive and it fits my leverages perfectly. My arms are just inside the legs and it allows me to keep the low back from rounding out. The thing I make a effort to do before lift off is to get the shoulders back behind the bar and get the glutes, hams and a belly full of air(which I then contract against) and Im golden.

On my "off" week next week I plan on doing some box squats to see how they go also in adding the DL.


thanks so much for the info guys. RDC was extremely helpful, responding to email in 10 minutes!!! I found his technique primer useful. I'll cut and paste it below. Now I'm left wondering whether the hook grip will work better for me. I have been using alternating but I think I'll give the hook a shot.

FROM RDC's Site :

The sumo set-up:

Approach the bar. Take one foot or the other; your choice as to which is most comfortable and depending on whether you are a wide sumo or a narrow sumo. The shin goes up to the bar, and toes tilted out 45 degrees or even more in some cases. Shins vertical, and knees slightly bent. Hands should be down inside the legs with the forearms touching the inside of the thigh if possible. As you push your knees out (like the squat), you bend over slightly, with arms straight, and grasp the bar half on and half off the knurling. Your arms should be straight vertically from the shoulders to the bar. This rule will determine exactly where the hands are to be placed. For a very big lifter with wider shoulders this may be all the way on the knurling. For most, however, half off and half on will insure the best and shortest pull.

The arms are straight, and the bar lies in the fingers, like it is holding a hook. Thumb should be overlapping one or two of the first two fingers.

The bar should "not" be squeezed. Rather, it should just lay in the fingers/hand. Only the thumb should be flexed, or squeezed, not the hands, not the forearm. If this is done incorrectly, most likely, the bar on a very hard pull will slip out of the hands. Also if the hands are rotated as you grip the bar, it will most likely slip out as the weight pulls down, and pulls the rotated hands back to a straight up and down position. One does not have to have a strong grip to hold onto large amounts of weight. I have a very poor grip and grip strength and have never lost a deadlift, i.e. 716 at 165lbs.

The sumo attempt/pull:

As you are leaning over the bar knees pushed out, you dip the hips slightly to start your pull, short and sweet. The hips will pull in towards the bar. The head will follow from down to out as you start the pull. You will pull the slack first out from the plate/bar. Then, the bend in the bar slack will come next. The bar will pull into the fingers even more as this slack is pulled out and as all the different areas of slack are pulled out you will explode up, with a very short in line stroke.

The back will not be arched but have a slight curve in it/or perhaps even straight. You should take a short half breath right as you go down to the bar. Too much breath expands the chest and rib cage more than it need be. It raises the shoulders and lengthens the distance the bar travels, as well as forces the shoulders back while at the bottom right before the pull.

A variation of the slow sumo pull is the drop and grab and explode method. Everything is still the same as far as the hands, but it is done very quickly. Many times, when done too quickly or out of control, one grabs the bar wrong and/or the hips rise to fast, giving way to a stiff legged deadlift.