Conventional or Sumo Deadlifts: Which One Works For Me?

Sumo vs Conventional deadlift Which one is best?

When it comes to compound exercises that can also build your strength, keep you fit and enhance your flexibility, deadlifts are right at the top of the charts. A lot of people who are really muscular and fit owe their physique to deadlifts.

What Is A Deadlift?

Deadlift Review by Garage Gym

A deadlift is a very popular and effective compound exercise that can work your upper body, lower back, traps, forearms, quads, hamstrings, gluteal muscles when you work out. You might wonder then why isn’t everyone doing it as it offers a lot of advantages? Because it deals with lifting up a lot of weight, there are several important points where it can go wrong. This means that you will have to be extremely careful about the weight you use and the your lifting technique.

Various Types of Deadlifts?

There are several variations of the deadlift, they are:

  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Hex or Trap Bar Deadlifts
  • Snatch Grip Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift, Straight Leg Deadlift
  • Deficit Deadlift / Rack Pulls
  • The Hack Lift
  • Conventional Deadlift

Of all these variations, there are the 2 which are most widely used. They are the conventional deadlift and sumo deadlift. most gyms have trainers that you can rely on to train you in one of these disciplines.

How to Sumo Deadlift – Right Technique

Sumo Deadlift Review by Garage Gym

The sumo deadlift is a much more technical variant of the conventional deadlift. It is similar to the conventional deadlift but with the legs at a wider stance which means that you don’t have to bend much. Also, it doesn’t require too much ankle or t-spine mobility so people with mobility issues can get this movement down a lot more easily.

  • Settle in your stance. Place your legs not too wide. Point toes out.
  • Get your hips as close to the bar as possible, this can improve leverage.
  • Get your body behind the bar to easily lock out.
  • Drive up with your feet like you would do for conventional deadlift.

There is a simple but highly effective variation on this movement which is called sumo deadlift high pull in crossfit boxes all over the world. This is quite similar to the traditional sumo lift and the only difference is when the traditional movement ends, you will perform a shrug and then a “pull” on the bar up to your chin. You need to note that your elbows need to be position high at the top of the pull. Release your arms when you want to return the barbell to the ground.

If you’re strapped for space in your home gym you can even deadlift inside your power rack. While loading plates might be a bit of a chore, it can still be done.

Is Sumo Deadlift Better For The Back?

Definitely. A sumo deadlift is a variation on the deadlift that puts a lot more pressure on your quads and hamstrings to perform rather than just the upper body like a traditional deadlift. This is especially useful for people who have lesser mobility and also have lower back problems.

In fact, there are experts out there who feel that if you are experiencing lumbar or are recovering from lumbar problems, then a sumo deadlift can work to rehabilitate you. It is an unorthodox cure for persistent injuries that show no signs of easing up. So you should definitely give this a shot and get better mobility for your lower back.

What Muscle Groups Do Deadlifts Work?

A lot of people throw around the fact that the deadlift is the “King” when it comes to getting a great physique and building muscle. But what they don’t tell you is, “what are the muscle groups that deadlifts target?”

Deadlift as a compound exercise works a lot of muscle groups, and here are some of them:

  • Rhomboids
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Trapezius, upper and lower
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Erector Spinae
  • Hamstrings
  • Soleus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus Maximus

Wow, that is a lot! This should be quite enough about deadlifts to get you inspired and lifting I believe. This is truly the one exercise that you can do which will give you the “biggest bang for your buck”. Get in, deadlift and get out. Simple as that.

Conventional Deadlift Vs Sumo Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift is a technique more advanced than the traditional deadlift and, unfortunately, it is often categorized as “easier” due to a shorter motion range.

Similar to the conventional deadlift, the sumo deadlift involves the glute muscles. Basically, the movement is a squat followed by lifting the bar. The difference between these two deadlifts is the necessary distance between the feet.

We’ll put in balance these two techniques in order to see which one is the best!

  • Muscle strain – By spreading your legs, the strain put on your back decreases because you are bending lower. Also, back pains are rarely encountered in lifters who follow the sumo style deadlift. A conventional one will put pressure on your back muscles, but also increase their strength, unlike a sumo deadlift which will put the most pressure on your legs muscles.
  • Positioning – The sumo position stand offers more stability and comfort. So, through a sumo lift, you will be able to lift heavier weights without putting more effort into it. Without a high hip mobility level, a sumo deadlift will cause further problems by affecting your knee stability. This won’t happen with a traditional one.
  • Knee extension – Both lifts put the accent on the knees, rather than the hips, but a conventional lift will change from the knee extension to a hip extension once the weight is lifted. Thus, it puts pressure on the hips as well.
  • Wasted energy – By positioning your hips higher, a sumo deadlift will waste less energy when lifting the bar, as opposed to a conventional deadlift. This is due to the distance between the floor and the hips.A traditional deadlift uses more muscle groups and is also a multi-joint lift.Opinions vary, but the say is that people with shorter torsos and longer legs will prefer the conventional deadlift and that those with longer torsos will follow the sumo style deadlift.

Sumo Deadlift Benefits

Basically, even though the choice is yours to make, one of the sumo deadlift benefits is that it will be better for exercising your leg muscle groups. The traditional deadlift will put pressure on your upper body part and accentuate the back muscles.

Since you are essentially lifting and moving a lot more weight, your muscles develop quicker and better when you are sumo lifting.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sumo Deadlift

Advantages of sumo deadlift are plenty. Let’s take a look at a few of them now.

  • You are in a stronger position to lift heavier with the sumo stance.
  • Provides great advantages for people having issues with their lower back.
  • Because of the wide stance, Less distance for weight to travel which turns into easier locking out weight.
  • It’s a lot easier to find your neutral spine position when it comes to lifting weights.

These are the disadvantages of the sumo method.

  • It requires you to be a lot more technically correct during execution.
  • Overstresses your adductors and medial hamstrings.

A Few Tips

The harder part of a sumo lift is actually lifting the bar off the floor, and not the lockout itself. So by speeding up your setup, you will fix the issue.

Also, be careful to get your knees out of the way when you are approaching lockout. Without proper training and technique, this can cause many fails.

For better deadlift results, incorporate the Sumo Romanian deadlift, into physical exercise routine. This exercise will help you gain upper back strength, muscular strength, muscular endurance and lockout speed and strength.