Here at Deadlift Potential, we are passionate about helping you improve your deadlift. Having said this, you may be asking yourself why you should even deadlift to begin with. Well look no further, because we have an answer for you. In this article we are going to focus on the sumo deadlift benefits, because there are slightly different benefits between sumo and conventional deadlifts.

Sumo Deadlift Benefits

Full body strength. This seems like the obvious benefit. The deadlift, specifically the sumo deadlift, is one of the best movements for building full body strength. The sumo deadlift utilizes muscles from the quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back, core, and even arms and shoulders to an extent. The activation of more muscles will allow you to move more weight, and as a result build strength in your entire body.

Body Composition. In addition to building strength, if you seek to build a nice physique, don’t be too quick to dismiss the sumo deadlift. As stated before, the sumo deadlift works almost all the muscles in your entire body. Switching up your set and rep scheme to focus more on hypertrophy can allow you to use the king of all lifts to build a healthy physique by increasing overall muscle mass, which will improve body composition. For hypertrophy, it is recommended to complete 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps.

Sumo Deadlift Start Position - Front

Sumo deadlift starting position – front view

Grip strength. Assuming you don’t use lifting straps, the deadlift is one of the best lifts to build grip strength. Picking up heavy ass weight off the ground requires you to have a solid grip on the bar. For people who have trouble with grip, using chalk on your hands will enable you to still work your grip strength without having to reduce the weight on the bar. If you want to crush all of your friends’ hands giving a handshake, then incorporating deadlifts into your training is a must.

Core strength. I already touched on this slightly, but core strength is one of the most overlooked benefits of sumo deadlifting. The major muscles of the core are the rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, multifidus, and quadratus bumdorum. These muscles stabilize the torso when deadlifting and allow you to obtain a neutral spine. When bracing and stabilizing the core, the muscles are contracted and adding a heavy load will increase stress on the muscles causing them to increase in strength over time. Scratch sit ups and crunches from your routine. If you want a strong core then sumo deadlifting is the answer for you. A strong core will help you with almost every other exercise in the gym, as well as improve your quality of life.

Sumo deadlift lockout position - front view

Sumo deadlift lockout position – front view

Competitive advantage. If you are a competitive powerlifter, chances are you have probably experimented with a sumo deadlift in the past. One advantage that sumo deadlifts can offer is a shorter range of motion compared to a conventional deadlift. In competition, the priority is moving as much weight as you possibly can. Having said that, the range of motion of the lift has a big influence in how much you can max out at. The sumo deadlift may also be advantageous for lifters who are more quad and hip dominant, as the lift utilizes these muscles to a higher degree.

Flexibility/mobility. Another difference between the sumo and conventional deadlift is the flexibility that is needed. The sumo deadlift requires you to have very mobile hips in order to be able to have a wide enough stance. This forces you to include an adequate amount of foam rolling and stretching into your training, as well as mobility work. Being flexible is not only helpful in lifting weights in the gym, but also will increase your quality of life.

Sumo Deadlift starting position - side view

Sumo deadlift starting position – side view

Testosterone enhancement. This benefit mainly applies to males, but it has been proven that compound movements increase testosterone levels in the body. The deadlift is the king of compound movements, so adding it into your training with correct programming will send your testosterone levels skyrocketing. Higher testosterone levels will increase lean muscle mass, increase strength, increase sex drive, improve mood, and improve sleep.

Less lower back stress. One of the other sumo deadlift benefits is less stress on the lower back. The wide stance of the sumo deadlift allows you to perform the lift with your back at a more vertical angle than the conventional deadlift. This takes some of the stress out of your lower back, which is a common injury site for many people, both active and sedentary. If you are prone to or have had past lower back injuries, the sumo deadlift is a good option for you. Always be sure to stabilize and brace the core when performing deadlifts.

Sumo deadlift lockout position - side view

Sumo deadlift lockout position – side view

Posture. Many people have weak backs, lower back injuries, hamstring injuries, and poor posture. For many of these people, this is due to weak muscles in the posterior chain and core. The best way to fight and prevent these is by strengthening all of these muscles. A strong core and posterior chain will help improve your posture which is important in preventing neck pain, low back pain, lordosis, kyphosis and scoliosis. The sumo deadlift works all these muscles and will increase posterior chain and core strength.

It will make you a badass. Nothing makes you look like more of an animal then sumo pulling a bar loaded up with 45’s on each side. To emphasize how much of a badass you are, be sure to drop/throw the weight down upon completion of your lift. This will scream to everyone in the gym that you’re a savage and that they don’t want to cross paths with you. In addition to this, don’t be afraid to leave your chalk everywhere after you have finished all of your sets. This is a marking of your territory, and it will scare away all of the leeches in the gym that want to steal your gains.

Well what are you still sitting around for? Get to the gym and start pulling some weight… Sumo style!

 

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14 comments on “Sumo Deadlift Benefits
  1. Cj says:

    Hi guys,

    I found this article to be very helpful to me. I want to start gyming again, but it has been a while…

    Would you suggest that a person who is starting out first build a bit of muscle before dead lifting or should you incorporate dead lifting from the beginning of muscle building?

    • Eric Radcliffe says:

      Hey Cj,

      Deadlifting is one of the best exercises for building muscle, so yes, I would suggest implementing them from the beginning. Don’t be afraid to go heavy, but always keep good form and use a weight that is challenging but also something you can manage. Take care!

  2. Peter says:

    An interesting article! What surprised me was that you recommend the sumo deadlift for people with lower back injuries. I have always avoided weight lifting for this reason, but in fact, the sumo deadlift might strengthen my back and neck muscles. Definitely something I will think about, it seems to utilize many of our muscles.
    In my opinion, anything that strengthens our muscles and posture should be considered. Thanks for the info.

  3. Viljoen says:

    I can thing that sumo deadlifts can work a lot on your inner thighs. It also looks easier because the distance is much shorter.

    I think I am going to try this next week because I am a very long guy. I agree with the testosterone part because one of my friends is a sports scientist and he told me that you should practice your large muscle groups on Mondays so that you can activate more testosterone.

  4. Daniella says:

    Hi Peter,

    What a nice article, I found it really interesting!
    I did a lot of bodybuilding few years ago, but I never tried to do deadlifting. I always thought that it is a very difficult exercise to practice. Do you think that deadlifting can be benefit for women as well? Maybe we are more fragile? What do you think?
    Thank you very much

    • Eric Radcliffe says:

      Deadlifting is very beneficial for women. It is a great exercise for strength and hypertrophy which is ideal for bodybuilding and improving overall body composition.

  5. Jason says:

    It’s been awhile since my being involved in any ‘heavy lifting’.

    I was reflecting back to my high school football days and thought of the routines we use to have to do, the dreaded dead lift being one of them!

    I’ve been searching on techniques and found this site as I would like to get back into some serious workouts.

    I really enjoyed your tips here and will be bookmarking the site for future reference, thanks.

  6. Jamie says:

    Interesting to see that Sumo Dead Lifting is a good exercise for those with lower back injuries.
    What about those with bone fusions and plates in there back?
    When I had my back fused I was told to give up tradie work and take care what I lift.
    Needless to say I ignored that, have built my own house, I run, surf, but generally ache around the lower back.
    My point being at what point do you over do it and actually cause damage?
    Cheers Jamie

    • Lucas Maki says:

      Hi Jamie,

      The only way you could cause damage is by improper form or overtraining. Often times, improper form is caused by lifting heavier than you are capable of.

  7. Jovo says:

    Hi, I ended up here by mistake. I was attracted by your title and the word sumo. I am very enthusiastic about sumo sport and have been following it for 18 years or so. Being not familiar with this kind of activity I do not see much similarity with sumo. You would be surprised to see how flexible those big sumo guys are, like those underage gymnast that can do anything with their bodies. But here it seems it is only about weight lifting.

    • Eric Radcliffe says:

      Its called sumo because of the wide foot stance. It doesn’t really have anything to do with sumo wrestling and yes this site is all about weight lifting, powerlifting and deadlifting in particular

  8. emmanuel says:

    I found this article very helpful since I weight train and do deadlifts in my training program. I agree that the deadlift is one of the best exercises out there because it requires your body to use all your muscles.
    The deadlift is a great exercise and I personally really like doing it.
    What type of deadlift is the best to do a sumo or conventional deadlift?

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