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  • Writer's pictureCoach AP

Mastering Your Stance in the Sumo Deadlift: Finding Your Ideal Position

The sumo deadlift is a powerful exercise that strengthens various muscle groups while enhancing overall strength and stability. Unlike the conventional deadlift, the sumo variation involves a wider stance and places emphasis on the hips and quadriceps. Mastering this lift requires more than just picking up a barbell—it's about finding your ideal stance and positioning for maximum leverage and safety.

Understanding the Sumo Deadlift

Before delving into stance specifics, it's crucial to understand the basics of the sumo deadlift. This variation involves a wide stance with toes pointed outward and hands gripping the barbell inside the legs. This wider stance decreases the distance the bar must travel while emphasizing the engagement of the hips and quads.

Finding Your Stance Width

One of the primary considerations in the sumo deadlift is determining the ideal stance width. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach, here's a guideline to get you started:

Experimentation:

  • Initial Positioning: Start with a wider-than-shoulder-width stance. Your shins should be nearly perpendicular to the ground when gripping the bar.

  • Trial and Error: Experiment by adjusting your stance width incrementally—try narrower or wider stances to find what feels most comfortable and powerful.

  • Comfort and Balance: Your stance should provide a sense of balance and stability. If it feels too wide or narrow, adjust accordingly.

Assessing Hip Mobility

Hip mobility plays a pivotal role in the sumo deadlift. Limited mobility can affect your ability to get into the optimal starting position and reduce the effectiveness of the lift. Consider these tips to assess and improve your hip mobility:

  • Dynamic Warm-Ups: Include dynamic stretches and mobility drills in your warm-up routine to prepare your hips for the sumo deadlift.

  • Flexibility Training: Focus on exercises that specifically target hip flexibility and mobility, such as hip flexor and adductor stretches and sumo squat variations.

Hand and Foot Placement

Apart from stance width, proper hand and foot placement are essential for a successful sumo deadlift:

  • Grip Position: Ensure a firm grip on the bar with hands positioned inside the legs and under the shoulders.

  • Foot Angle: Toes should point outward at an angle comfortable for your anatomy, typically around 30 to 45 degrees. Adjust as needed for stability and comfort.

Listening to Your Body

Ultimately, finding your ideal stance in the sumo deadlift is a highly individual process. Listen to your body's cues and feedback:

  • Comfort and Pain: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during the lift. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure proper form and prevent injury.

  • Gradual Progression: Start with lighter weights when experimenting with stance variations. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the load while maintaining proper technique.


Mastering your stance in the sumo deadlift is a journey that involves experimentation, attention to technique, and a keen understanding of your body's mechanics. By fine-tuning your stance width, assessing hip mobility, and focusing on hand and foot placement, you can optimize your performance and reap the benefits of this dynamic exercise.

Remember, there's no one "perfect" stance—your ideal position is the one that allows you to lift safely, efficiently, and comfortably while maximizing your strength and power.

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