How to Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift

By Darrick Truong

Deadlifting is an important skill for almost everyone, not just powerlifters and bodybuilders. The need to pick things up from the ground safely makes this statement true for most people. Deadlifts can also fulfill the “hinge” foundational movement requirement in your training program. But more importantly, deadlifting can make you feel like a bad ass and help you build a strong backside (read: booty)!

Before deadlifting with a barbell, we think that it is important to learn how to minimize unnecessary stress on your joints. That involves learning how to create proper tension in the shoulders, core, and hips and keeping the weight close to your body. Not creating tension in the aforementioned body parts can cause injury or pain, negating the benefit of the deadlift pattern. Also, allowing the weight to get away from your center of mass, common for beginners using a barbell, can cause low back injury by exposing your body to excess forces. Therefore, for beginners or new clients, the first type of deadlift that we introduce is the kettlebell sumo deadlift.

The ability to use one or two kettlebells allows you to use the perfect amount of weight for your current abilities. You can learn to create proper tension without having to go heavier than you can handle. This is key for beginners as going too heavy, even for what looks like the proper form, can cause compensation patterns which can eventually cause injuries. Also, the wide stance nature of the kettlebell sumo deadlift allows the user to keep the weight directly under their center of mass, minimizing any excess stress on the low back area.

How to do it

Stand over the weights with your feet straddling the kettlebell(s). Grab the kettlebells, making sure your hips are hinged back, feet are gripping the floor, and make sure people can see the Superman “S” on your chest. Make sure the knees are pointing in the same direction as your toes. Right before you stand up, create pretension in your shoulders, core, and hips by flexing those areas. Creating pretension is very important as it provides strength and stability to your body before lifting. Throughout the lift, maintain the Superman posture in your chest and shoulders, strong grip on the floor, and hinging your hips. Watch the video of Coach James above a couple of times before trying the lift!

After you have tried the lift, watch the video below of Coach Darrick and make sure you don’t look like him, or you’ll be on the fast track to a foot, knee, hip, or low back injury!

If you’re in the San Diego Area, come try a free class with us! 

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