Barbell sumo deadlift exercise
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Barbell sumo deadlift

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae
  • Synergists: Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius), Adductor Magnus, Soleus
  • Dynamic stabilizers: Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
  • Important stabilizers (not highlighted): Wrist Flexors, Upper and Middle Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Rhomboids, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Stand with a wide stance next to the barbell, with your feet and knees pointing out to the sides in the same direction.
  2. Flex your hips and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width pronated (overhand) grip.
  3. Flex your knees to lower your hips, and bring your hips forward, close to the bar. Your torso should be upright, you back and arms should be straight, and your head should be facing forward.


  1. Exhale as you drive through your legs and pull the bar up the front of your body until you are fully standing. Keep the bar close to your body.
  2. Hold for a count of two and push your chest out.
  3. Inhale as you flex your knees and lower the bar to the floor in a controlled manner, keeping your back straight, torso upright, and head up.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your hips low, torso upright, back straight, and head up.
  • Don’t allow your knees to cave inward as you lift. Push them out to the sides.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, and your feet and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Keep the bar close to your body to improve mechanical leverage.
  • Start light, and increase the weight gradually as you learn proper form.
  • When lifting very heavy, take a deep breath and hold it just until you complete the lift. Exhale as soon as you’re standing. This will help to brace and support your core. (To learn proper breathing technique when lifting heavy, research the “Valsalva maneuver”.)
  • To improve your grip when lifting heavy, use a mixed grip (one hand over, one hand under).
  • The barbell sumo deadlift is a major compound exercise. It is essentially the barbell deadlift performed using a very wide (or sumo) stance. The wide stance lowers your center of gravity and allows you to keep your torso more upright.
  • Compared with the barbell deadlift, the barbell sumo deadlift puts less emphasis on your lower back and hamstrings, making it easier for those who have lower back problems.
  • See also the barbell Romanian deadlift and trap bar deadlift.

Barbell sumo deadlift video


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