Obviously, there is sumo and conventional deadlifts and there are a million variations in between because everyone is built differently and so everyone’s technique will look slightly different.

Your Stance Is Too Wide

One huge mistake is when people try to deadlift too wide on the sumo. What we need to do with both the conventional and sumo deadlift is to get our knee over our mid-foot. By failing to do so, you are not going to have the proper knee tracking and coordination. Also, you won’t be able to flex your quads and move your hips properly through both movements.

[Example of a stance that might be too wide]

[Example of a more narrow stance with knees over mid-foot]

Being in the proper position and lifting what’s optimal for your build and mobility will out trump the shortened range of motion in the sumo deadlift. Don’t emulate or copy other people’s stance. Observe and learn from others, but how they lift is not going to be how you lift because you have a different body and different leverages than anyone else.

With the wider stance, the range of motion is shortened and under heavy loads you can't use leverage to get the bar moving because your knees aren’t very bent, so you won’t be able to use your quads. The more your knee bends, the more your quad is involved.

[Candito has a pretty wide stance for competitions, but this is where you enter the danger zone. Watch your toes!]

Typically with the sumo, you want to be right up against the bar because you don’t want any forward knee travel. If you get any forward knee travel, you will not be able to pull the bar in to you and the lift will be crooked and bad.

On the conventional lift, having a little forward knee travel is OK. It is possible depending on your levers, but you still need to push back into your hips. If you are pulling too much with your back because your knees are too forward and your hips aren’t back, you are not going to build your posterior chain which is the number one goal. And two, you won't be able to pull the most amount of weight because your weight will be on your erectors.

[Pete Rubish has a really narrow stand and his knees come forward, but that works for him and maybe he knows what he's doing]


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