Which Deadlift is Right for Your Body Type

Sumo Deadlifts: Best For Glutes?

The most common question which I get asked is whether sumo deadlifts are better for glute development. Most experts say no. Some say yes while some say it depends on the individual. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each style of deadlift.

Pros Of Sumo Deadlifts:

Good for developing overall strength.

It develops the quads and hamstrings. Also good for developing your core strength.

Pros of Conventional Deadlifts:

It trains the lower back and traps more than sumo deadlifting. It also trains your legs less than conventional deadlifting because it doesn’t involve as much leg drive compared to sumo deadlifting.

Cons Of Sumo Deadlifts:

Lack of hamstring and glute development. If you have weak hamstrings or glutes then conventional deadlifts might not be the best choice for you. You need to train them heavily if they are going to develop properly.

Cons Of Conventional Deadlifts:

Not many people can handle heavy conventional deadlifting. It’s not as technical as sumo deadlifting and it involves a lot of lifting with your legs, which can be hard on the knees. If you have bad knees then this might not be the best option for you. If your main goal is mass then conventional deadlifting might not be the best option for you.

Which Deadlift is Right for Your Body Type - | Gym Fit Workout

Best Deadlift Variation For Mass

The best deadlift variation for mass is the stiff leg deadlift. You don’t hear many people talk about it as much as the conventional and sumo deadlifts. The stiff leg deadlift is a great exercise because you’re using more of your hamstring and you’re not bending over at the waist as much. This means your lower back takes less of a beating and therefore you can do more overall repetitions.

If your legs are taking a beating from the conventional and sumo deadlifts, then you might want to switch to stiff leg deadlifts. You’ll notice your lower back isn’t “killing” the same way that it does after doing traditional deadlifts. If your legs are feeling fine then stick with either the sumo or conventional deadlift because they still train more muscles than stiff leg deadlifts. The stiff leg deadlift is more of a supplementary exercise.

The Stiff Leg Deadlift Muscles Worked

The Stiff Leg Deadlift mainly works your hamstrings and to a lesser degree your lower back. If you have weak hamstrings then this is the perfect exercise for you. It also trains your grip and core strength to a lesser degree. These are the same reasons why the conventional deadlift works your legs more than your glutes and lower back to a greater degree.

How To Do The Stiff Leg Deadlift:

Set your feet roughly the same width as your hips.

Keep a slight bend in your knees when lifting the weight off the ground. This takes the pressure off your lower back.

Bend over and grab the barbell keeping your arms straight and yor upper body parallel to the ground. Don’t let your lower back round out. You should be looking between your legs while holding the weight

Now that you’re set up, drive with your legs while at the same time tightening your core. You should end up standing straight up with the bar close to your body.

The Stiff Leg Deadlift sets, reps and weight.

For mass, stick with 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions. This is just a guideline; you should adjust the number of sets and repetitions according to how you feel.

Sources & references used in this article:

Which Deadlift is Right for Your Body Type? by M Gedge – breakingmuscle.com

A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads by PA Swinton, A Stewart, I Agouris… – The Journal of …, 2011 – cdn.journals.lww.com

The Deadlift by P Ronai – ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 2020 – journals.lww.com

Which patients with low back pain benefit from deadlift training? by L Berglund, B Aasa, J Hellqvist… – The Journal of …, 2015 – cdn.journals.lww.com


UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND ITS VARIATIONS by CJ Holmes – ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 2020 – journals.lww.com

Region‐dependent hamstrings activity in Nordic hamstring exercise and stiff‐leg deadlift defined with high‐density electromyography by A Hegyi, A Peter, T Finni… – Scandinavian journal of …, 2018 – Wiley Online Library

Acute Neuromuscular and Endocrine Responses to Two Different Compound Exercises: Squat vs. Deadlift by MJ Barnes, A Miller, D Reeve… – The Journal of Strength & …, 2019 – journals.lww.com

Elitefts Deadlift Manual by D Tate – elitefts.com