How To Do A Sumo Deadlift High Pull With Kettlebell

The important part of putting together a great workout routine is knowing exactly which part of your body you're looking to help and doing exercises targeting those areas. One exercise you may be doing that can benefit multiple areas of the body is the sumo deadlift with kettlebell.

Deadlifting may sound a bit intimidating for weightlifting newcomers, but don't let the name fool you, the proper deadlifts can help you:

  • Get stronger
  • Gain muscles, particularly in the adductors, forearms, glutes, and lower back.
  • Burn tons of calories
  • Improve your athletic performance
  • Reduce your risk of injury

Not bad, huh? We're going to discuss one particular type of deadlift, the sumo deadlift. The sumo deadlift requires a different stance than the traditional deadlift. The bar is gripped with the lifter's hands between their legs, with a wider hip stance and toes pointed slightly outwards

In general, people with shorter arms or a history of back injury may favor the sumo deadlift due to parts of the body that puts the most work on, but any person looking to improve their fitness regimen can stand to benefit. For those of us who are not powerlifters, the sumo deadlift with kettlebell is most likely going to be the ideal starting point.

Preparing for Your Workout

Before beginning your workout, let's get into what you need.


  • Kettlebell. Part of the struggle with weightlifting is not just the weight you lift up, but how you lift it. Using the wrong parts of the body while you lift can lead to pain at best and injury at worst. It's all in how you grip. Kettlebells are easier than traditional barbells for many people to lift due to the simple handle that you can grab with two hands. This makes them especially well suited for a sumo deadlift.

Let's take a moment to address what kind of kettlebell you should use, if you don't already have one. Kettlebells USA notes that sometimes, your perceptions of what you can lift result in you not making the right choice. Many men will pick one that is too heavy while many women pick one that is too light! They recommend that athletic men choose a 16 kg- 35 lb or a 20 kg - 44 lb kettlebell, while active women use an 8 kg - 18 lb and 12 kg - 26 lb one. If you are newer, you may want to choose something smaller, though.

  • Comfortable workout clothing: You will want to invest in some proper workout clothes while you lift. This isn't just for your own comfort, as you will want the maximum range of mobility when you're lifting to improve your routine. More form-fitting gear will make it easier to see that your lifting form and stances are correct while you'll find that loose-fitting gear is easier to move around in. Either one can work, pick what fits you best.

One thing you may want to invest in, though, is a good pair of shoes, especially if you plan on doing a lot of deadlifting. There are specific shoes designed for this purpose, but if you're not ready for this investment, a pair of sneakers that fit snug around the heel will do.

Doing The Sumo Deadlift With Kettlebell — Step by Step

1. Getting Your Stance Right

Make sure you are in the proper stance before you begin lifting. For the sumo deadlift with kettlebell, you should to begin with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width (we are thinking sumo wrestler, after all.) You are also going to want to make sure your toes are pointed directly forward. If you find this is causing too much pressure on your knees, you can adjust your toes to point to the side slightly.

2. Move Downwards

With the kettlebell placed on the ground between your legs, bring your arms to the inside of your thighs, with your hands straight down. To tighten up your lats, squeeze your arms against your sides. Push your hips backward as you descend until you can reach the top of the weight. Remember, your hips are going to be the primary source of motion when you lift.

3. Grasp the Weight

Grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip with both hands, making sure they are touching each other. Position your shoulders over the kettlebell while make sure to keep a taut lower back and your body facing forward.

Fit Tip: If you're having trouble getting your stance right before you lift, just keep in mind these important things

  • Your back should be slightly arched.
  • You should have your shoulders back
  • Your chest should be out.
  • The kettlebell should be directly under you between your legs. If you look down, you shouldn't be able to see it until you push your hips back to grab it.

With these things in mind, put your hands on your thighs and slide them down towards the kettlebell, maintaining your stance.

4. Lift the Weight

Begin this step by taking a deep diaphragmatic breath (belly breath). Doing so is proven to help improve performance if done properly. With both hands on the kettlebell, push your hips forward to lift up the kettlebell to waist level, keeping your chest forward. You should feel a good squeeze in your glutei after you successfully lift the weight.

Make sure that you lift slow and steadily from the floor rather than jerking it upwards. Not only will jerking the weight risk injury, but you also won't get a chance for the maximum amount of muscles to benefit from the lift.

You may see some sumo deadlifts where the lifters raise their kettlebells up to their shoulders—this is a separate technique called the kettlebell sumo high pull, generally designed for more advanced lifters.

Fit Tip: The whole point of the motion is that it begins with your hips. You do not want your knees to push forward while you are lifting, so be sure to keep them locked and pointing in the same direction as your feet while you are lifting.

5. Lower the Weight

With your stance maintained, lower back down until the kettlebell taps the ground. Do not let it rest on the ground, as you still want to be lifting it the whole time. The idea of having it tap the ground is to ensure that you get the full repetition for a maximum workout.

Fit Tip: As you down for the next lift, keep mindful of your stance. Make sure you do not round your back as you go down and also make sure that your arms are straight. While you're in the down position, try to avoid lifting your head excessively.

6. Repeat the Process

Continue this process as many repetitions as you have allotted for your workout.

Fit Tip: If you're new to deadlifting, you may be asking, "How many reps should I put into my workout?" This isn't a question with one definite answer, as everyone's body is different, and you want to be able to get a proper workout without risk of injury. However, as you steadily use this workout more and more, in time, you will be able to get more and more repetitions in each time. In general, assuming you are new to lifting but otherwise healthy and fit, ten to twenty reps is a good starting point.

The Sumo Deadlift in Review

Sound good? Remember to follow all these steps to the letter to help you master the sumo deadlight with kettlebell. Here are a couple of the major things to keep in mind.

  • Make sure your stance is proper before you begin lifting.
  • Push back with your hips as you go down to grab the kettlebell, then push forward and upwards when you lift. Do not lift with your back.
  • Look for that squeeze in your glutei after you lift to know that you've lifted it properly.
  • Tap the kettlebell on the ground as you go back down, but do not let the weight rest there.

Adhering to these main points and the other advice is the key for a productive and safe sumo deadlift with kettlebell workout.

In time, as you gain strength and confidence in your ability, you can move onto two kettlebells in each hand, or even barbells if you wish. In addition, the basic hip hinge movements and conditioning in the legs, hips, and glutei that you get from this workout serves as a great gateway into other, more complex kettlebell techniques, like lifts and swings. This routine could open up a whole new path to fitness for you!

If you found this tutorial helpful, please let us know in the comments, and share it with your friends and family who are interested in incorporating this into their routine.

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