10 Must Know Deadlift Tips For Sumo & Conventional Deadlift

Elevating Your Deadlift: Technique Refinements for Sumo and Conventional Deadlift Styles

In the pursuit of deadlifting excellence, understanding the nuanced techniques that differentiate sumo and conventional styles is crucial. Both demand a unique approach to leverage your body’s strengths and optimize your lift. Here, we delve into advanced tips tailored for each style, helping you refine your technique and elevate your performance on the platform.

Universal Deadlifting Wisdom: Ground Force

Regardless of your style, one fundamental principle remains: envision pushing the ground away, not just lifting the bar. This mental shift encourages you to drive your feet into the floor with conviction, activating your entire kinetic chain more effectively and enhancing power transfer during the lift.

Sumo Deadlift: Precision and Patience

Sumo deadlifting places a greater emphasis on your quadriceps and requires a meticulous setup to execute effectively.

  • Pulling Slack with Precision: If you find your torso too far forward, shift your weight slightly back towards your heels. This adjustment ensures you’re driving through the entire foot, not just the toes. Looking upwards can aid in maintaining a balanced and powerful posture.
  • Optimal Bar Distance: To avoid displacing the bar with your shins during setup, position yourself a few centimeters away from the bar. This ensures a clean, unobstructed path as you initiate the lift.
  • The Importance of Grippy Shoes: For sumo deadlifters, the foundation of your lift starts with your footing. Grippy shoes are paramount; they ensure your feet stay planted, providing the stability and traction needed for a powerful lift-off. The wider stance of the sumo deadlift demands shoes that can withstand the outward pressure, allowing you to focus on your form and execution without worrying about slipping or shifting.
  • Addressing a Hollow Back: If maintaining a strong, braced torso is challenging, try “crunching” your gut slightly while keeping the weight over your heels. This not only enhances stability but also ensures a safer, more efficient lift.
  • The Art of Setup: Lengthen your arms, open up your hips, and engage your posterior chain as you find the tension point before the lift. This moment of tension is your cue to begin the deadlift, driving up with power and control.
Lengthen your arms during setup

Conventional Deadlift: Power and Instinct

The conventional deadlift demands a strong posterior chain, with an emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. It’s a style where less can be more, especially in terms of overthinking the lift.

  • Overcoming Hitching: Focus on grounding yourself, with a slight shift of weight towards your heels. The aim is to feel the tension build in your hamstrings and glutes, setting the stage for a powerful lift. Visualize stretching your knees and using your glutes to achieve full hip extension.
  • Minimizing Range of Motion with Thin-Soled Footwear: In conventional deadlifting, every inch matters. One effective strategy to reduce the range of motion is to opt for footwear such as deadlift slippers with very thin soles. This subtle yet impactful choice brings you closer to the ground, decreasing the distance you need to lift the bar to lockout.
  • The Mental Game: Conventional deadlifting benefits from a more intuitive approach. Once the technique is ingrained through practice with lighter weights, allow your body to take over. The lift may start swiftly from the ground but expect it to slow as you approach lockout.
Minimize range of motion with thin-soled footwear

Style-Specific Mindsets

  • Conventional Lifters: Embrace a more instinctive approach. Learn the technique thoroughly with manageable weights, then let muscle memory guide you. The initial lift off is rapid, but prepare for a deliberate journey to lockout.
  • Sumo Lifters: Allocate time for a deliberate setup. The initial lift may be more gradual, but a well-executed sumo deadlift typically results in a smoother, quicker lockout.


Mastering the deadlift, whether sumo or conventional, is a journey of constant learning and adaptation. By understanding the unique demands of each style and incorporating these advanced techniques, you’re not just lifting weights—you’re elevating your performance to new heights. At, we’re here to support you at every step, providing the equipment and knowledge you need to push beyond your limits. Together, let’s redefine the boundaries of strength and perseverance in the powerlifting community.

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