Sumo Deadlift With Dumbbells: How To Do It Properly & Benefits

Sumo Deadlift With Dumbbells: How To Do It Properly & Benefits


January 22, 2022

You’re missing out on some incredible benefits if you aren’t already doing deadlifts. It’s the go-to movement for building mass.

And when it comes to developing strength?

No exercise comes close!

Taking things a bit further, the sumo deadlift variation goes beyond getting a stronger back or building bigger legs.

When done correctly with proper form, this variation of the lower-body exercise can improve your posture and help you lift more weight.

But what makes the sumo deadlift with dumbbells such an incredible movement?

Read on to learn more!

What is a Sumo Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift With Dumbbells: How To Do It Properly & Benefits

The sumo deadlift is a modification of the standard deadlift typically performed with a barbell.

But there are a few differences with this variation.

The starting position involves getting into a wide stance – a lot wider than the traditional deadlift.

Imagine a sumo wrestler getting ready to fight and you’ll have a good idea of the starting stance. By the way, the movement gets its name from the Japanese heavyweight “sumo” form.

In addition to the stance, the grip of a sumo deadlift is wider than traditional deadlifts.

Plus, you are not restricted to holding the dumbbells inside or between your legs. You can do the exercise with the weight outside your legs if you use two dumbbells.

The variation is a great exercise for anyone looking to improve their performance with the standard deadlift. It is particularly helpful for increasing strength in the lockout phase of traditional deadlift.

The movement is also an ideal workout for athletes who want to build their lower bodies.

While just about anyone can do a sumo deadlift, people with shorter arms will find this variation a lot more advantageous compared to the standard deadlift.

That’s because the sumo deadlift involves a lesser range of motion since the lifter’s arms are already closer to weight.

Benefits of Sumo Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift With Dumbbells: How To Do It Properly & Benefits

The sumo deadlift can offer some remarkable benefits when done properly. Here are some of the advantages that should make you want to give it a try

It improves overall posture

Conventional deadlifts are not quite suitable for people with bone skeletal structures problems.

So, if you have flexibility or mobility issues, you might want to give sumo deadlifts a try.

This exercise allows you to maintain a wider stance and remain upward with your chest up.

In other words, it gives you plenty of freedom and efficiency. At the same time, it increases lower back strength while also improving your overall posture. 

Also, if you have back issues, you will find the sumo-style deadlift a lot easier to perform.

They are easy on the spine

Compared to standard deadlifts, the sumo deadlift with dumbbells will remove a lot of pressure and strain that can affect the lumbar spine. 

The sumo-style deadlift is performed with the back straight. To help take the strain off, the core and legs support the back.

No wonder people prefer this deadlift variation. There is little to no chance of experiencing back pains with this exercise.

Sumo deadlift hits the glutes and quads better

This is because the sumo deadlift is performed with a wider stance than the traditional version.

Here’s what happens when you do the movement.

The wider stance and positioning of your legs isolate the quads and glutes. This allows the exercise to work the quads and glutes a bit better.

Of course, the sumo deadlift is a lot easier on your spine. But that doesn’t mean it won’t hit the glutes and quads even harder.

It allows you to lift super heavy and get good gains

While it doesn’t seem like it, the sumo deadlift provides the same results as the conventional deadlift.

It does this by stimulating multiple muscle groups at the same time during the movement. Nearly all the lower body muscles are activated during the exercise.

It can also improve your core strength!

Plus, sumo-style deadlifts are a safer option for a whole lot of people since it reduces the risk of lower back injury.

Can You Do Sumo Deadlift with Dumbbells?

Sumo Deadlift with Dumbbells

The answer to this question is a big yes!

You can absolutely do sumo deadlifts with dumbbells. To even make the exercise more interesting, you can perform them in a few different ways to spice things up.

Two of the common dumbbell sumo deadlift variations are the Deficit Deadlift and Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL).

Deficit Deadlift

This sumo deadlift variation is performed by standing on a higher surface (such as a stack of weight plates or a small box).

This increases the distance of the dumbbell so that it goes further down you go down while lowering the weight. 

The deficit deadlift offers the advantage of increasing your strength and your range of motion.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

As the name implies, the single-leg RDL is performed on a single leg.

It involves extending one leg behind you and lowering the dumbbells in a deadlift form. The leg behind you will lift and then extend back up. 

This dumbbells sumo deadlift variation is an excellent exercise to include in your workout routine if you wish to improve your stability and balance.

Advantages of Dumbbells Sumo Deadlift

Advantages of Dumbbells Sumo Deadlift

Okay, why should you bother with doing the sumo deadlift with dumbbells? Why not just stick with the regular sumo deadlift or the traditional deadlift?

It is easy to assume that deadlifting dumbbells using the sumo-style won’t yield great results as the conventional deadlift. This is a rather common notion, especially among close-minded powerlifters.

Here’s the thing, though.

There are alternative ways to achieve the same results when it comes to exercises. You only need to find what works best for you.

Without a doubt, the conventional deadlift has its benefits – impressive ones at that!

But it simply isn’t suitable for everyone.

This brings us to the specific advantages of using a dumbbell when performing the sumo-style deadlift.

As already mentioned, not everyone is suited to the standard deadlift or even the sumo variation. This is particularly true for people with flexibility and mobility issues.

You shouldn’t have to give up on performing deadlift if you have these problems, right?

Performing the dumbbells sumo variation of the deadlift can improve your posture even if you’re lower back and knees aren’t under a lot of strain.

Also, unlike traditional deadlifts, you are not restricted by this variation. You have a wider stance and your torso is closer to your support base.

This means you can use a deeper squat position. Typically, this results in more range of motion and potentially better muscle-building.

Plus, you will be able to focus more on using your hamstrings and glutes instead of using your lower back muscles and quads to perform the lift.

No doubt, using dumbbells for a sumo deadlift is easier. But that doesn’t make it any less effective.

If anything, it works your deltoids and pecs nicely without unnecessary stress on these muscles and your lower back.

With that out of the way, let’s see how to properly perform the sumo deadlift with dumbbells.

How to Perform Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift Properly

How to Perform Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift Properly

Maintaining a good form is important if you must get all the benefits of lifting dumbbells in a sumo-style deadlift.

Here are some good tips on how to perfectly do a sumo deadlift with dumbbells.

  • Begin the movement with a wide stance (typically, your stance should be wider than shoulder-width apart). But it is important to stay as comfortable as you can without losing your balance. Keep your toes pointed out at about an angle of 45 degrees.
  • With your back straight and head up, gently bend your knees slightly and push your hips back.
  • Grab one dumbbell in both hands or one in each hand, depending on how heavy you want to go and what’s comfortable for you.
  • Whether you use one or two dumbbells, hold them between your legs with arms hanging in front of you.
  • Tighten your core and lift the dumbbell, slowly pushing your body upward using your legs while keeping your back flat. Contract your glutes as you reach the top of the movement.
  • Make sure your head and chest stay lifted throughout the movement.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the start position and repeat.
  • Do the recommended reps.


No doubt, the conventional deadlift exercise can help you build mass and bigger legs.

But you should consider doing the sumo deadlift with dumbbells if you prefer something that will put less strain on your knees and lower back.

This deadlift variation is easier to learn compared to the traditional deadlift, making it an ideal alternative for people looking to start doing deadlifts.

The good thing about the dumbbell sumo deadlift is that you can use any stance that lets you maintain stability while performing the lift.

Plus, you get the same benefits as the regular deadlift without risking injury.



Justin Rodriguez has spent most of his adult life inspiring people to take their fitness more seriously. He is not new to the business of providing practical solutions for those looking to set and smash their fitness goals. From sharing professional tips and tricks to recommending awesome products, Justin Rodriguez helps just about anyone who wants to get the best out of their workout routines.Having gathered a lot of experience both in and outside the gym, Justin Rodriguez uses DSW Fitness as a medium to show you exactly how to get that great-looking body with toned muscles you’ve always wanted.