Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Forearms, Glutes, Lats, Lower Back, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Barbell Sumo Romanian Deadlift Overview

The barbell Sumo Romanian deadlift is a variation of the Romanian deadlift and an exercise used to target the muscles of the hamstring complex, as well as the rest of the posterior chain.

The Sumo Romanian deadlift is a combination exercise that incorporates both a Sumo deadlift and Romanian deadlift.

The Sumo portion of the barbell Sumo Romanian deadlift is seen in the feet and hand placement of the set up. The Romanian deadlift portion is seen in the hip hinge movement pattern of the exercise.

Barbell Sumo Romanian Deadlift Instructions

  1. Position the bar over the top of your shoelaces and assume a wide stance (determined by your hip structure and limb length).
  2. Assume a double overhand grip directly underneath your shoulders and deadlift the weight into position at the top with the hips and knees locked out.
  3. Begin the RDL by pushing your hips back and hinging forward until the bar is just below knee height.
  4. Drive through the whole foot and focus on pushing the floor away.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Barbell Sumo Romanian Deadlift Tips

  1. Typically the RDL begins with the bar set in a rack but for the sumo variation, it will likely be easier to start with the bar on the floor to get your feet in a comfortable position during the setup.
  2. Range of motion in the lift will largely be determined by an individual’s mobility as well as their ability to maintain a neutral spine. Standing on a box or bench is likely counterproductive as most won’t have the mobility to control that much range of motion effectively.
  3. It is typically recommended that you utilize straps or hook grip when going excessively heavy if grip is the limiting factor as you could run into issues with the bar drifting if using mixed grip.
  4. Neck position is highly individual - Some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking slightly up. Here’s some factors to consider:
    • If you’re someone who is more globally extended (i.e. athletic background), then you will likely be able to keep a neutral position more effectively by packing the chin.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you tend to be more flexion dominant (especially in your thoracic spine - upper back) then it would behoove you to look up slightly as this will drive more extension.
    • Experiment with each and see which one works best for your individual anatomy and biomechanics.
  5. Do not allow the bar to drift away from the body, it should graze your legs during the eccentric portion of the lift.
  6. Make sure you wrap your thumbs around the bar and don’t utilize a false grip. Squeeze the bar as tight as possible like you’re trying to leave an imprint of your fingerprints on the bar.
  7. Your weight will naturally shift to your heels as you hinge; however, it’s important that you keep the weight distributed over your whole foot and don’t allow the toes to rise. To combat this, you should focus on maintaining 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  8. Ensure the elbows stay locked out. Don’t actively flex the triceps but make sure that your elbow doesn’t break neutral as this can potentially put you at risk for a bicep tear under maximal weights.
  9. Ideally the knees should be tracking out over the foot. If you find that you have trouble keeping this neutral knee position, focus on spreading the floor by trying to push your feet apart as you push into the floor. In other words, imagine there is a crack in the floor and you’re trying to spread it open by pushing your heels away from each other. This will help to activate your glutes more during the movement and stabilize the knee joint.