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Sumo Deadlift execution



Aug 11, 2010
Proper execution of the sumo style deadlift involves some changes in deadlift form and mechanics that differ from conventional pulling. Here are 10 tips to help you get the bar moving in the right direction with sumo deadlift form.

1. Footwear: Instead of pulling in Converse or other gym shoes, invest an extra $15–20 for some deadlift slippers. Some lifters may consider this insignificant, but it adds a pronounced mechanical advantage to your pull by lowering you a ½ in.

2. Set up as wide as you can to minimize distance: Many lifters may lack the hip mobility and flexibility to place their feet as wide as possible. Lifters who lack this mobility should consider implementing some mobility and dynamic movements before their workouts and engage in extended static stretching of the hip flexors on off days. The lower the core of the body is to the floor, the easier it is to maintain a flat back when grabbing the bar. The back position of a stiff leg deadlift is completely different from the back angle of a sumo deadlift if your deadlift form is correct.

3. Foot and Knee position: Similar to the set up for a wide stance squat, push the knees out while initiating the movement and applying tension to the bar. Be sure to turn the toes outward as this will open the hips up to the correct position. This will provide the same amount of stability while allowing the knees to flex in their natural path.

4. Keep the chest out and stay erect. If you start the sumo deadlift in a hunched over position, the result will be a very ugly and mechanically inefficient lift. At about the midpoint of the lift, the body's core collapses into a precarious position. If you start in a hunchbacked position, it will be very difficult to straighten yourself out (during lockout) with a weight that’s 95 percent or above your 1RM. However, by keeping your chest out and your back arched from the very beginning, you’ll be able to maintain a greater degree of integrity in your body during the lift. When pulling with a suit, don’t make the straps overly tight because this can also tend to cause your back to round un necessarily at the start of the lift which can compromise optimal deadlift form.

The position of your head is also important. You don’t want your head in a downwaor shirt can also aid in correcting this problem. rd position at any point because this causes the upper portion of the spine to misalign with the lower portion. It will also affect the tightness of the traps and erectors. Always keep your eyes straight ahead or to the sky as you pull. An erect

5. Setting your grip. This is essential for those lifters who have trouble keeping the weight in their hands during the lockout. After grabbing the bar and setting your four fingers/upper palm on the bar, lock the tip of the thumb over the first joint of the middle finger. There are those that have found success using the hook grip so it’s really a matter of personal preference. However, a “grab and go” grip will never be as secure as a pre-set grip, which is why the latter is a ritual used by many elite sumo pullers.

In terms of grip position relative to distance from the floor,a good hand position would on e where the edge of your hands should be grazing the smooth portion of the inner bar. They can even be brought in some so that the index and/or middle finger envelopes the smooth portion of the bar.

6. Stretch reflex for the wide sumo puller: The stretch reflex is more advantageous to the conventional puller because the sumo deadlift requires a more deliberate set up due to the wide stance. The stretch reflex shouldn’t be used for the sumo technique if it sacrifices the integrity of the lifter’s chest/back position or grip.

7. Patience One of the worst things that can happen during a sumo deadlift is for the hips to come up “early” and initiate the movement. This will turn the movement more into more of a wide stance stiff leg deadlift, which is not recommended. In this position the sumo puller negates both the leg drive and mechanical advantage of the pull. Keeping the integrity of the initial form with lighter weights will pay off when performing attempts around your 1RM.

8. The Pull itself: Because you’ve minimized the distance lifted drastically, the actual bar path should be short, efficient, and powerful. Don’t over emphasize the lockout. Doing this will change the bar path. The lockout should be the exact point where the shoulders and back are erect and 90 degrees to the floor.

9. Lowering the bar, When you drop the bar, watch your toes! Many sumo pullers practice the toe swivel while bringing the bar down. If your feet are out to the plates, take this precaution while dropping the weight. Most importantly, keep your hands on the bar after dropping the weight so that you don’t get red lighted during a meet

10. Don’t hate on Conventional. The biggest numbers in the deadlift are still being performed in the conventional position. Conventional pulling is still a great way to build the strength and size in the back musculature necessary for sumo pulling as well as a good squat, so don’t shy away from using it in training.