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March 24, 2021

Best Sumo Deadlift Cues for Beginner to Intermediate Lifters

sumo deadlift cues from coach Annie Miller

Use the cues from this post the next time you sumo deadlift. We covered the conventional deadlift previously, so check that out here if you missed it. Some of the cues are the same, as there is some general crossover between the two variations.

Before diving into cues, know that the sumo deadlift is a wide stance lower body pulling exercise. Though it does require more quad drive than her conventional sister. The chest is often or upright as well. You can use a double overhand grip or alternating grip. Up to you.

Who is ready to grip it and rip it? Jk – I hate that cue

As with any movement, angles will depend on your limb lengths (Femur : tibia : torso : arms). We all make slightly different shapes. How lovely.

Not noted in the cues but worth addressing:

  • Stance width ideally allows shins to look vertical from the front, in your set up. This can vary to outside shoulders to REAL WIDE.
  • Feet will turn out 45-60 degrees (again, depends on lots of things – including comfort).
  • Shoulders will be directly over bar. This differs from conventional deads, where they tend to be just in front of the bar.

We break this down further in Movement 101 and the Big Lift Audit, where limiting factors are also discussed.

Limitations in adductors and end range strength can be common with sumos, so it’s a good thing you can use sumos to work on that.

This movement puts less demand/stress on the low back than conventional (more upright chest, hips closer to bar = shorter lever). Some people favor sumos over conventional and vice versa for a multitude of reasons.

Get your sumo on.

Have you ever tried sumos from a DEFICIT?! (Standing on two plates or a short box)? That extra range of motion hits different.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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