10/2/13

WWW: To Sumo Or Not To Sumo


Deadlifts are one of the best overall strength exercises for women. It can cause overall strength and improve our physical appearance.

 There’s also something magical about a woman busting her butt in the gym and finally pulling heavy objects off the ground with teeth gritting strength. It’s empowering and in my mind impressive. 

Heavy deadlifting for women can help increase their strength while losing body fat. This is because it stimulates a lot of muscle. This in turn increases your fat burning metabolism and builds muscle. Sorry girls (and some guys), leg extensions, curls, and the inner/outer thigh machines can’t ever compare to heavy sets of deadlifts. Deadlifts create a buildup of muscle in your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

                Have I convinced you of why you should deadlift? Okay, good. Now let’s start with the sumo deadlift. Most think that the learning curve is smaller if women start with the sumo. However, this doesn’t work for everyone and it should be noted that you need to use the form that works best for you and your body. But if this article inspires you to deadlift and you never have, I suggest the sumo.

How is this exactly done? Great question again. Begin with your feet wide and stand very close to the bar (almost touching or touching). This honestly will help you pull more weight. 

Your feet should be pointed out and your chest needs to be up and out to keep the lower back arched. Place one hand grasping on top and the other on bottom. 

Keep in mind that as you’re pulling up, the bar should be close to your body the entire time. This will be the weirdest part as it runs up and down your shins and thighs.

 As you lift up, push your hips forward and lock them out. 

Some things to remember are to keep your back unrounded and that as you go down, you use your butt and hamstrings. Bend those legs and don’t use all of your back. And make sure that your knees are out. A huge help to maintain your mixed grip is chalk, chalk, and more chalk. Be proud of the sweat on your brow, the chalk on your clothes, and the throbbing calluses on your palms.

The good thing about sumo is it is for the intermediate to the advanced lifter. Plus, for girls who are taller, it is more beneficial because it is cutting down the range of motion compared to the conventional deadlift due to the wider stance. This lift is great for girls because in the sumo stance, it places your hips lower and uses them more. Plus, it uses a woman’s flexibility better than conventional. Also, conventional seems to place more strain on the lower back, which is where most of women’s back pain and weakness is.

Just for kicks and grins, though, if you decide you want to try out conventional deadlift, here’s how to perform it: stand by the barbell just like with sumo but with feet not as pointed. Your hands and feet are about shoulder width apart. 

You then use your legs, hips, and back for leverage while keeping your chest up and back unrounded. With this lift, your butt will be lower as you go to pull up and you have a larger range of motion. Your hands can also be facing the same way: palms down.


Try it out. I did just for fun and was amazed at the result sumo gave me and how easy it was to grasp and how awesome it felt moving that kind of weight off the floor. So women of endu, go out and empower yourself with the deadlifts, sumo or not.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.