The sumo deadlift and conventional deadlift are two variations of the fundamental deadlift exercise. The primary distinction between the two is the position of the feet; in the sumo deadlift, the stance is wider, and the toes point outwards more than in the conventional deadlift. The grip on the barbell is another difference. For a conventional deadlift, the grip is shoulder-width apart, while in the sumo deadlift, the grip is generally inside the knees.
The differences in the body position and grip result in the sumo deadlift engaging different muscle groups than the conventional deadlift. The sumo deadlift places a higher emphasis on the quads, glutes, and adductors, while the conventional deadlift typically puts more emphasis on hamstrings and lower back. The sumo deadlift is beneficial for individuals who have difficulty maintaining good form during the conventional deadlift, such as those with long femurs or limited ankle mobility. The conventional deadlift is one of the best exercises for building overall strength in the posterior chain, including hamstrings and lower back.