The Sumo deadlift is a variation of the conventional deadlift often adopted by powerlifters.
The difference between the two lies in the setup of the lifter's feet and hands. When the bar is gripped with the lifter's hands inside their legs, the form is considered "Sumo". Traditionally, hip stance is far wider in Sumo deadlifts, and toes are pointed slightly outwards.
The Sumo deadlift is advantageous to people with shorter arms as it allows the lifter to start with his/her arms closer to the bar, decreasing the range of motion. Another advantage of the Sumo deadlift is decreased shearing force on the lumbar spine when compared to the conventional deadlift. Other benefits of the Sumo deadlift include: Strengthening the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and other muscles of the posterior chain. In addition to building strength and muscle mass, the Sumo deadlift can be used as a rehabilitation exercise to overcome back injury.
Foot placement is about twice shoulder width, lining up the shins with the rings on the barbell. Toes are pointed outwards forty-five degrees, keeping the shin vertical and knees behind the bar. The hips are raised to position the thighs slightly above parallel to the floor. The lumbar spine maintains a neutral position with slight extension and the torso kept as upright as possible. Both hands grip the bar shoulder width apart with the shoulders positioned just in front of the bar. Using alternate grip or hook grip is recommended for heavier loads.
Before executing the movement, the muscles of the quadriceps, glutes, and latissimus dorsi should be contracted and the scapula depressed to create tension and stability. To begin the movement, the knees, hips, and back should extend simultaneously. As the bar passes the knees, the glutes contract further, driving the hips forward and keeping the bar in contact with the thighs. Lock out is achieved when the knees, hips, and back are extended fully. Hyperextension of the spine should be avoided.
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- Belcher, Daniel, BA (August 2017). "The Sumo Deadlift". Strength and Conditioning Journal. 39: 97–104 – via Science Citation Index.