Do sumo deadlifts work glutes? Is it better to do sumo or Romanian deadlifts for glutes?

We’ve all heard about the value of strength training in achieving fitness objectives.

Do sumo deadlifts work glutes
Do sumo deadlifts work glutes

Do sumo deadlifts work glutes alternative if you’re searching for an effective and efficient exercise—not only do you work your complete body, but you also target your posterior chain, such as glutes, and you do it with less pressure on your low back than a regular deadlift.

What Is a Sumo Deadlift

What Is a Sumo Deadlift

A sumo deadlift is a version of the classic deadlift, a weight-lifting exercise in which you hinge at the hips and lift a barbell or bar to hip level. You assume a significantly broader stance in a sumo deadlift than you would in a regular deadlift. According to Van Paris, this body stance brings the upper half of the body closer to the ground, reducing the amount of forwards hinge and reducing low back strain.

When grasping the bar, your hands are inside your legs, says Kollath. In a sumo deadlift, you engage your entire body, but the posterior chain, notably the glutes and hamstrings, gets the most attention.

Sumo Deadlift Muscles Activated

Sumo Deadlift Muscles Activated

The key muscle groups targeted by the sumo deadlift are listed below. The sumo deadlift, like other deadlift variations, works the glutes, hamstrings, and back (posterior chain). However, there are some minor distinctions in the muscles used by the sumo deadlift, conventional deadlift, and trap bar deadlift.


The sumo deadlift targets the glutes to a large extent since the feet are set broader and turned outwards. The hip is rotated externally, which causes the glutes to engage to a greater extent.


The hamstrings are remain the principal movers in the sumo deadlift, even though they are recruited more intensively in the conventional and Romanian deadlifts. If a lifter wants to focus solely on the hamstrings, Romanian deadlifts are a better option.


The athlete must attain larger knee flexion angles (bend) to complete the sumo deadlift because of the foot location. As a result, the quadriceps (which are responsible for knee extension) are targeted more than in the Romanian and conventional deadlifts, but not as much as in the trap bar deadlift. Simply simply, with this deadlift version, you’re squatting a little deeper and thus using more of your thighs.

Spinae Erector (Lower Back)

During the pulling phase of the lift, the lower back muscles, also known as the erectors, work to keep your spine stable. The spinal erectors can be developed as a result, which is beneficial because they’re often one of the primary limiting factors in a high deadlift (lower back strength).

The sumo deadlift, unlike the traditional and Romanian deadlifts, places less stress on the lower back since the torso is more vertical, allowing other back muscles to take up the slack.

Muscles of the Trapezius and Back

The upper back and trapezius muscles are used to keep the torso in appropriate alignment and to help draw the barbell upwards. The sumo deadlift is a wonderful way to strengthen thick, strong traps and upper back muscles since it is a more vertical pulling activity than the traditional deadlift.

Sumo Deadlifts’ Advantages

Sumo Deadlifts’ Advantages

Sumo deadlifts (and other deadlifts) activate complete body musculature, which is one of their key advantages.

Sumo deadlifts engage your core, back, traps, and arms in addition to glutes, hips, adductors, and quads, according to Van Paris. Sumo deadlifts allow for more leg drive, lessening the pressure on the lower back and making it a “safer” position, especially for novices, due to the wider stance. You might be able to lift bigger weights with a broader stance.

Another advantage, according to Kollath, is novelty. Adding sumo deadlifts to your exercise regimen instead of standard deadlifts or other variations can help you increase hypertrophy and strength.

Finally, according to Van Paris, deadlifts are one of the most functional movements because we bend over to pick up something almost every day of our life. It’s crucial to acquire good form so you don’t get hurt collecting things off the floor at home or the next time you move.

How do a Sumo Deadlift?

How do a Sumo Deadlift?

This exercise, like the normal deadlift, works all of the major muscular groups. It works the quadriceps and glutes in especially, but it also works the adductors, hamstrings, traps, erector spinae, and core muscles.

Sumo deadlifts, when done correctly, can help you improve your hips and posterior chain. It needs less ankle and thoracic spine mobility than traditional deadlifts, making it appropriate for people with limited range of motion.

Let’s go right to the point and show how to do a sumo deadlift:

  • Place your midfoot beneath the bar. Your toes should point towards the weight plates, and your feet should be wide.
  • Bending at the hips, grab the barbell. Keep your arms stretched below your shoulders and below your shoulders throughout the action. Keep your chest up and your eyes straight ahead.
  • Raise the bar by driving with your feet. As you bring the bar up, extend your knees and force your hips into it.
  • To complete the movement, bend your hips backwards. Maintain a straight back the entire time. Repeat.

Alternatives to the Sumo Deadlift

Alternatives to the Sumo Deadlift

Here are three sumo deadlift alternatives that we like if you’ve been performing the sumo deadlift for a long or want to switch it up with a comparable deadlift variant.

Deadlift with a Trap Bar

Because of the higher knee bend and vertical torso placement, the trap bar deadlift is extremely similar to the deadlift. The trap bar deadlift can be used to build upper body strength, hip engagement, and even quadriceps development if a lifter cannot or does not want to sumo.

Sumo Deadlift with Kettlebells

The kettlebell sumo deadlift is a deadlift progression that can help you improve movement integrity, basic movement patterning, and ability in the sumo deadlift. This exercise can be done with higher loads to improve muscular endurance and basic strength.

Deadlift (Clean)

The clean deadlift is a deadlift variant used primarily in Olympic weightlifting to assist lifters with the bottom section of their clean. In a clean deadlift, the athlete’s hips begin somewhat lower than in a traditional deadlift.

The clean deadlift can build glute, hamstring, and quadriceps strength in a sport-specific manner. As a result, for Olympic weightlifters, the trap-bar deadlift and the clean deadlift are highly similar pulling exercises.

Is it better to do sumo or Romanian deadlifts for glutes?

Is it better to do sumo or Romanian deadlifts for glutes?

Romanian deadlifts should be performed on a regular basis to protect the hamstrings and lower back, but sumo deadlifts can be used to isolate weaker muscles (glutes and middle back/traps) or to increase the variety of pulling exercise to produce a more well-rounded strength athlete.

Do sumo deadlifts work glutes: Review

Do sumo deadlifts work glutes: Review

The hamstrings and glutes dominate the posterior chain in deadlifts. The degree of quad participation is mostly determined by the mobility and dorsiflexion of your ankles at the start of the lift. Some people press their shins forwards by pulling their knees forwards over the bar.

Many people prefer a straighter shin angle that activates the hamstrings and glutes more directly at the start of the lift, which will use your quads a little more to break the floor.

In either case, this is a lift that relies on the posterior chain. Depending on your body proportions, your quads may do more or less effort, but the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors are the primary movers in this movement.

F.A.Q do sumo deadlifts work glutes:

Is it true that sumo deadlifts are superior to squats?

It has a stronger impact on your quads. The sumo deadlift is the way to go if you need a “squattier” deadlift variation to target your quads more for any reason.

Which squat should you do if you have a bigger bum?

A sumo squat is a great way to work your glutes. A broader stance maintains your hips externally rotated, allowing you to activate more glutes. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, toes pointing outward, and hands out in front of you.

Do sumo squats increase thigh size?

Strength-training exercises such as lunges and squats keep the muscles in your thighs from atrophying and can even make them bigger. As a result, they’re not a good technique to slim down your thighs.

Is it true that sumo squats target the glutes?

According to ACE, the sumo squat, on the other hand, emphasises the inner thigh adductors, which bring your legs in closer your body.


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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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