The best lifters make specific modifications to their lifting technique. Ed Coan’s modified sumo deadlift stance is famous for this very reason — it looked like no one else’s.

But before you can specialize technique, you have to reach a mastery level. To get there, your fundamentals need to be perfect. For this Friday Technique Video, JL Holdsworth covers the sumo deadlift. This stance recruits more hips than a conventional deadlift. It can be used as a training tool to build a conventional deadlift (JL shares that he has hit conventional-stance PRs after training exclusively in a sumo stance, primarily due to its lockout-building capability) or can be trained as a competition stance.

If you decide to use the sumo deadlift, there are several simple guidelines to remember:


  • Feet wide (more height = wider stance)
  • Flat shoe
  • Hands directly below shoulders
  • Under hand set half an inch wider than over hand