Sumo Deads

I’ve always done conventional deads, but did sumos for the first time on friday and liked them a lot. I think I’ll be using these as my main form of deadlift from now on. Any suggestions for perfecting my form on these?

One will benefit the most from using ALL forms of the deadlift. The sumo is a good one but the the following should be used for maximum strength and muscularity.

Sumo deadlift
Rack pulls
Deadlift off blocks
Stiff leg deadlift
Single leg deadlift

I’m sure I missed one or two other variations but you get the message. As far as form goes, I would refer to previous articles from Dave Tate, Ian King, and Christian T. for solid advice with pictures as well.

Happy lifting!

i think the sumo deadlift is by far the most technical of all the powerlifts…it has taken me a long time to get my sumo dl form half way good …make sure your pushing out on the side of your shoes…your squezzing your ass checks as tight as you can throught lock out…KEEP YOUR HEAD UP…lock out the hips first and drive the arch in your back through the finish by squezzing your ass cheeks…watch louis simmons sumo deadlift sometime it is a thing of beauty… perfect form…big m

I went sumo a while ago so that I wouln’t have to pull the bar as far, but it took me a while to get the form down as well. One thing I noticed was that I was actually pulling on the bar with my arms, almost like I was getting tight to start a set of bent rows. What I did to correct it was this:

First of all, as bm said, keep your head up.

I imagined that I wasn’t holding on to the bar with my hands, rather I had a large strap hanging across my traps/neck, and went down and hooked on to the bar where my hands were.

This really helped me keep my shoulders behind the bar, and I’m currently working on getting my strength up.

Hope this helps,

other than keeping your head up, i would suggest that you try to keep your shoulders back and down as much as possible. along with squeezing your butt, maintaining a flat or slightly arched back, keep your shoulders low by drawing in your shoulder blades (but not squeezing depending on the stability of your shoulder joint). with your arms begin fully supported by your shoulders and upper back, i found it was easier to focus on moving the weight with my hams/glutes/lower back.
good luck and enjoy the lift.

keep your lower back arched, don’t drop lower than you have to with your hips. like the others said, head up and push your knees out! i’m pretty sure techniques are outlined in dave tates 8keys article.

Let us take a moment of silence to reflect on how truly lucky we are to belong to an on-line community where the dead-lift is known, respected and practised, much less the sumo dead-lift. (I am the only one who dead-lifts at my gym, and it’s fun to watch everyone try to jump on the hamcurl machine all at once)

That said, I’m a big fan of all manner of dead-lifts, but just make sure you don’t twist your knees inwards during the lift, and you strech afterwards, especially if you do the sumo once in a while, the loss of flexibility from the sumo can be crippling for your high kicks and what-not.

The best advice I ever got on sumo was “the lift start’s at the top.” Meaning how you set up, and descend to the bar makes or breaks the pull. Bottom line, get consistent in your set-up. The only thing I will add is force your knees out hard. Watching video of myself pull, if I let my knees drift in off the floor, in addition to making the pull feel much harder than it should be, I have about a 95% chance of missing at the top because it sets off a whole chain of events resulting in the lift being completely out of sequence.

Thanks for all the replies, folks.

I am planning to incorporate conventional deads, deads from blocks, and rack pulls to supplement my sumo deads. And, by the way, I am using a hook grip for the first time, which is going well so far.

I read that Dave Tate recommends “rocking into the bar” before the lift. Can someone please explain this?

Also, should the toes be pointed out or feet parallel, like the squat?


hookgrip? really? im not talking crap–im interested.

what are your stats and how much are you currently deadlifting?

Yo Patman.

Strength Training Anatomy by Delavier shows the feet facing outward. If you try to keep your feet parallel in a nice wide sumo stance you WILL force your knees inwards, and you may get a nice knee/hip sprain.

The sumo deadlift is just about the gayest “powerlifting” exercise imaginable. The theory of adopting a position that allows you to “cheat” on an exercise baffles me. If you did a complete split, like a gymnast, you wouldn’t have to move the weight at all to do a successful rep. I’m certainly not as strong as most guys on this board, (515 conventional dl, at 6’1 185lbs), but I do know two things. The sumo deadlift is queer as hell and I’m one eloquent motherfucker!

Thank you.

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Well, my goal is to pull 405 by summer. Nothing impressive for most, but it’s a lot for me, and it’ll make me the strongest deadlifter in my gym! (I probably already am, which is very sad.)

I haven’t hook gripped with over 300 yet (haven’t deadlifted for a while, just getting back into it). On Thursday I used it and felt much stronger than with a regular pronated grip, but we’ll see how it holds up under heavier weights.


Since you think sumo deads are so gay, do you think other powerlifts are “gay” too? Powerlifters squat with a wide stance, decreasing the range of motion. They also arch their backs and use a wide grip on bench press, also decreasing the range of motion. Pretty gay, huh? Or not.

It’s not a personal attack, just my observation on an exercise. If you’re a competitive powerlifter I guess it makes sense because you need every advantage that you can possibly get. If it’s in the rules to take whatever stance you want, and you feel you move more weight like that, then have at it. Personally, I think that conventional deads are much more sport specific and the strength gained by doing conventional deads has a much better cross over to the real world. I also think that moving big weights irrespective of style is badass. That being said, when I go to the gym and see guys doing sumo deadlifts with 225lbs. I think it looks gay.

Thank you.

Thanks for the responses, everyone. Fixed, no offense taken, I’m not a powerlifter (obviously, with my numbers). Conventionals do probably have more athletic carryover, but I think they both have a lot of real-world carryover.

Any advice on “rocking into the bar”? I’d like to know what this is all about.


I roll the bar away from me and then pull it back. Once it gets to my shins I pull up. I think it allows me to get my shoulders back and chest out more consistently. It also gives me some confidence in "if it rolls that easy its gotta come off the floor easy! HAHA

Mitch Green

Fixed, do you understand the different muscle recruitment in sumo vs. dead and the different leverages required? The ROM issue is not the major issue when it comes to DLs, sumo requires more glute and hip strength, conventional more back, and theres an advantage for one or the other depending on your body type. If conventional is easier for you does that make it cheating to do it that way?

Sackocrack- way to put it, I totally agree

my sumo dead is probably around 540, my conventional slightly less. i guess that makes me both really gay and strong. fuck… now im starting to understand this whole training thing; its not about getting stronger at all–its about talking shit cause you think you have a good lift , while at the same time trying not to be gay.
i should submit an article to t-mag.

dont do gay lifts,
ryan b.