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Deadlifting variations: sumo vs conventional

Deadlifting variations: sumo vs conventional
3rd January 2019 James Burroughs

Deadlifting variations: sumo vs conventional 🤷🏻‍♂

What is the difference? 

Conventional: narrow stance with arms outside of knees 

Sumo: wide stance with arms inside of knees

Let’s start by looking at which muscles are activated. In the conventional deadlift, medial gastrocnemius activity is significantly greater. Where as the sumo variation has significantly greater medial vastus, lateral vastus and anterior tibialis activity⬆

However, when performing the conventional deadlift, vertical bar distance, mechanical work and predicted energy expenditure are around 25-40% greater compared to performing the sumo variation⤴️

Conventional also shows a 10% activation increase in your lower back muscles↖️

So it seems both variations activate slightly different areas however the conventional seems to be the most efficient in work rate and energy expenditure✅

It is always good to include both types of lifts in your program in order to add new stress to the body however, ensure technique is PERFECT before adding load!🔞

Poor spinal posture is common among novices and can cause muscle torque to decrease, ligament support force to increase, joint shear increase and lumbar disc damage‼️

Hope you found this article useful.  If you have any questions regarding this article feel free to drop me an email.


Toby Wood BSc, MSc