Movement Technique: Conventional vs. Sumo Deadlift

This week I’m writing about the different techniques regarding the five major lifts: back squat, deadlift, bench press, clean & jerk, and snatch.

With the deadlift, you have two options in order to lift a maximal load: conventional (feet shoulder-width, hands outside) and sumo (feet outside shoulder-width, hands inside). There are advantages and disadvantages to the technique you decide to use, but those are totally dependent on the athlete.

As an example, look at the percentage of lifters using each stance at the 2016 International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Championships.

Women’s Division
Men’s Division


This data shows a correlation between lighter individuals favoring the sumo deadlift while heavier athletes favor the conventional deadlift. This doesn’t mean, however, that all light athletes should do a sumo technique and all heavy athletes do a conventional technique.

The conventional deadlift will tax more of your hamstrings and low back. While experienced lifters engage their quads in the lift, particularly to reach lock-out, they are minimized. The Sumo deadlift is more like a squat where your quads are doing a large portion of the work along with hamstrings and glutes. The sumo deadlift is much “easier” on the low-back.

Regardless of your size and preference, I believe you should train both. Variables not mentioned in this data will predict which stance will allow you to lift heavier loads; but that shouldn’t cause you to ignore the other technique while in training.

For a well-written explanation of all of these variables, click here.

Tyler

Daily WOD

I’m challenging you right now to workout 50 days in-a-row. Here is your workout today.

Day 31 (of 50)
AMRAP 14:00:
64 Double Unders
16 Double Dumbbell Deadlifts*
*Alternate between a conventional and sumo deadlift every round.

Other “Movement Technique” Articles In This Series:
1. Back Squat: High-Bar vs. Low-Bar
2. Deadlift: Conventional vs. Sumo
3. Bench Press: Close-Grip vs. Wide-Grip
4. Jerk: Split vs. Squat
5. Snatch (DB): Horizontal-Grip vs. Vertical-Grip

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