Deadlifts are my favorite lower body exercise. They work every muscle in your body from your glutes to your lats, and are one of the best ways to test and improve your overall functional strength. They are a very simple exercise and one that you will see a lot of improvement in very quickly.
While deadlifts are a relatively uncomplicated exercise (basically you are just picking up a heavy weight and putting it back down), there are several different ways you can do them.
- Conventional deadlifts have your feet about hip width apart, with your hands slightly wider.
- Sumo deadlifts have your feet pretty wide with your hands closer together in the middle of the bar.
- Stiff-legged deadlifts have your feet about hip width apart and keep your legs straight through the whole lift.
- Squat stance deadlifts are a combination of conventional and sumo stances – your feet are a little wider than hip width but not quite as wide as a sumo stance, while your hands are placed inside your knees.
I’ve always used a pretty wide foot placement for conventional deadlifts, with a couple sets of sumo deadlifts thrown in sometimes for fun. I was excited when I stumbled on this article about squat stance deadlifts because my lower back and knees really prefer a wider foot placement, but sumo deadlifts always feel really awkward. I gave this new stance a try today, and I was very impressed. I felt much more solid, with less pulling on my lower back. It was a significantly more natural stance for me. I have a pretty short torso and collapsed foot arches (which make my knees cave in), which may have something to do with it. Whatever the case may be, I will be using the squat stance for the foreseeable future, and I recommend you give it a try as well!