Last updated on October 29th, 2022 at 12:19 pm
Who else wants to know the “ideal” conventional to sumo deadlift ratio.
I’m sure you’ll agree that these are two fantastic deadlift variations.
Then again, I know that not everyone feels that sumos are a “legitimate” lift, but trust me they are.
Plus, these two deadlift variations will typically see most of us lifting more weight than any other lift which involves a barbell.
However, should you be able to sumo a particular weight in comparison to your conventional deadlift?
Or, is there no real direct correlation between the two movements?
Allow me to reveal all.
Table of Contents
Conventional to Sumo Deadlift Ratio
The ideal conventional to sumo deadlift ratio will vary based on the individual. However, the amount of weight you can lift with both deadlift variations will mainly depend on your hip structure. Furthermore, your weight, limb and torso length, and your muscular strengths and weaknesses also play a role. That being said, as an overall average most people will typically sumo deadlift 7-8% more than they conventional deadlift.
1. How Much More Can You Conventional Deadlift Than Sumo?
So, as I’ve mentioned, most people will generally find that they lift more weight with the sumo deadlift than the conventional.
To give you an idea, as an average most people should be able to perform sumo deadlift with approximately 7-8% more weight than their conventional deadlift.
That being said, there are undoubtedly people who sumo deadlift way more than this when compared to their conventional deadlift.
Then again, I can guarantee that there are those who will pull much more weight with their conventional deadlift.
Firstly, I would say that this comes down to which deadlift variation you practice more often.
I guess it makes sense that the more you do something, the more effective and efficient you will become at it.
Therefore, if you have spent the last 3 months solely focused on the conventional deadlift, and then you try the sumo, it’s likely you won’t be pulling as much weight.
However, there are other factors that can make one lift “easier” than the other for YOU.
2. Factors That Affect Your Deadlifts
Okay, one of the main reasons that most people should be able to sumo deadlift more than they can conventional deadlift is due to the reduced range of motion.
In fact, it is estimated that sumo deadlifts have a 20-25% shorter range of motion than the conventional counterpart.
So, immediately you may think that you should be lifting 20-25% more weight with sumos.
Now, I’m sure there are many people capable of doing this.
However, I’m willing to bet that they focus much more on sumo to start with.
That being said, a shorter range of motion won’t always mean that you should be lifting significantly more weight.
You must remember, regardless of range of motion and variation, that you won’t be linearly strong through the entire deadlift movement.
What I mean by this is that your deadlift is limited to your weakest part of the movement.
So, some people may really struggle with getting the load off the ground.
Other people may really struggle with getting the bar past their knees.
And there are those who simply can’t seem to lock out at the top of the movement.
Not Everyone Can Lift More With Sumo
Therefore, simply because the sumo has a reduced range of motion, this won’t always mean that you can lift more weight.
Granted, on the face of it, you should, but this definitely isn’t always the case.
And, in truth, this mainly comes down to your hip structure.
Realistically, the conventional deadlift is all about hip flexion.
And the sumo deadlift requires both hip flexion and hip abduction.
However, the efficiency of both these hip movements will largely depend on how your hips are structured.
Just as an example, some of us have hip sockets further in front or behind than others.
Some of us will have hip sockets further up or further down the body.
Then again, not everyone has their thigh-bone meet their pelvis at exactly the same point in the body.
All these factors will play a part in the ideal conventional to sumo deadlift ratio for YOU.
3. Which Deadlift Variation Should You Use?
As for which deadlift variation you should use, you’ll obviously need to consider everything I’ve just mentioned.
For me, it all comes down to performing both lifts and finding which one is more comfortable for you.
There’s no single correct answer, as you can hopefully see now that our bodies aren’t all structured the same.
Therefore, what’s great for one person won’t suit another.
However, there’s a couple of things that are certain for sure.
Due to the more upright torso position, sumo deadlifts will involve your quads much more than conventional deadlifts.
Conversely, as you have much more of a torso forward lean with the conventional deadlift, it is harder on your erector spinae muscles.
So, if you’re typically someone who suffers with back soreness, then conventional deadlift may not be for you.
As I’ve mentioned, the best way to find out which one is best for you is to practice both for an extended period.
Your aim is to find out which one you find more comfortable.
This doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be pulling more weight with your “favoured” exercise.
However, the more you perform the lift that feels more comfortable to you, the quicker you’ll progress with that deadlift variation.
Sumo vs. Conventional Deadlifts – How to Choose
So, I hope you understand that there is specifically an “ideal” conventional to sumo deadlift ratio that you should be aiming for.
This generally comes down to your hip structure, as to which one is preferential for you.
That being said, as an average, most people will sumo 7-8% more weight than their conventional deadlift.
Now this percentage can dramatically vary, and you may even find that you can conventional deadlift much more than sumo.
This once again comes down to your individual anatomy, and obviously, the lift that you perform more often.
They are still both great deadlift variations, although this doesn’t mean they will both be suited to you.
So, you should perform both exercises for an extended period in order to determine which one feels more comfortable for you.
Then again, if both exercises feel great, then there’s nothing wrong with performing them both on a regular basis.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.