Conventional vs Sumo Deadlift | THE BOD Restart

Conventional vs Sumo Deadlift | THE BOD Restart

The deadlift is an incredibly effective exercise that seems simple in nature, but requires great technical effort to execute well.

Why the deadlift?

Because we are required to 'deadlift' everyday.

We pick things up off the ground, we reach down to grab things we've dropped, we move furniture, we scoop up toys, the list is endless. 

The better your technique is when performing the deadlift, the better you become at picking up real life objects.

The deadlift recruits major and minor muscles across the posterior chain. Performed correctly; the deadlift will recruit your core, hamstrings, glutes, calves, erectors, mid back, upper back, traps and rear delts. 

Any form of deadlift, whether it be a narrower stance, or sumo stance, or other variation (stiff legged deadlift, trap bar deadlift or Romanian deadlift) is considered a 'king-type exercise'. This is because there is so much opportunity for strength progression in the deadlift, and it works so many larger muscle groups.

The two main variations of deadlift, sumo and conventional, allow for the most amount of load to be shifted. They are repeat offenders in THE BOD program and a go-to exercise that we love!

Once you've nailed your own personal cues, it's technically quite simple.

But getting to that point where you maximise your strength and minimise injury requires practise, practise, practise.

Always prioritise your technique first before considering adding further weight to the bar. Remember that a well-executed deadlift (and any other exercise for that matter) at a lower weight is a bigger win than a heavier lift with poor form.


Why not do both?
But really, if you love both stances, there is no harm in incorporating both variations into your BOD program. If a deadlift is programmed into your week twice, you can alternate between a sumo stance and conventional stance using the alternative function in THE BOD App. 

There is also no harm in focusing on just one stance. Trialling both stances can be an eye-opening experience, as the differing positions can reveal differing weaknesses. You may find that you struggle to thrust your hips through in a conventional deadlift and shake on the way up, indicating your back may be working harder than your leg drive. Or you may find you experience hip pain after sumo deadlifts, which could say something about your hip range of motion. 

If you would like to make a sound decision between the two, we recommend trialling both stances for a few months. 


  • At the starting position, the hips are higher and the torso is more bent over compared to a sumo deadlift
  • Conventional deadlifts are a little easier on the quads
  • Uses front on hip flexion


  • At the starting position. the hips are lower and the torso is less bent over compared to a conventional deadlift
  • Sumo deadlifts are a little easier on the back 
  • Uses hip flexion with hip abduction (feet turned out) 

So, what stance can you stick to, makes you the strongest and most comfortable with loads that you can exert yourself to 110%?


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