Tip: The Best Overall Deadlift Style

If you're deadlifting for overall physique development, which style is best for your goal? Answer here.

The deadlift is increasing in mainstream popularity. Today people outside of powerlifting and sports training are learning to love a big pull. But which type of deadlift is best for your goals: conventional, sumo, or trap bar?

First, decide what you want to train. What's your priority? Are you wanting to build or strengthen your quads or your hamstrings? Answer that question and then choose the one that makes the most sense for you.

Anterior Chain   Posterior Chain
Trap Bar Sumo Conventional
Trap Bar Deadlift

When most people trap-bar deadlift, it's like a reverse (high-bar) squat. There's a lot of dorsiflexion at the ankles, the spine is upright, and as a result they get considerable quad and anterior chain (front of the body) development.

Conventional Deadlift

The conventional deadlift is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Most lifters shove their hips way back, incline their torso to a much greater degree, and start with their hips much farther back from the bar. The result is an exercise for building the entire backside of the body – glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors.

Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is a hybrid between the two. Your hips start closer to the bar (especially if you think about pushing your knees out to get to the bar, versus pushing your hips back), and you're also much more upright. You may find that the sumo gives you the best blend of quad, glutes, hamstring, some lower back, and even some adductors.