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    Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    by Sam Franklin

    How to Master the Sumo Deadlift: A Quad-Boosting Powerhouse

    If you’re looking for a quad-boosting kettlebell exercise that also works the core and conditions the lower body, consider your search over because the kettlebell sumo deadlift is just that you need.

    Boasting big gains for those willing to commit, the kettlebell sumo deadlift is one of the most popular—and powerful lower body movements around.

    Intrigued? Here’s everything you need to know to get started with the sumo deadlift.

    How to do a kettlebell sumo deadlift: video tutorial

    Before we dive into the benefits of kettlebell sumo deadlift, watch our quick tutorial video by Luke Baden, Kettlebell Master Trainer. 

    Luke will take you step by step through the entire movement, ensuring your form is correct and you get the absolute maximum out of the exercise.

    Step by Step Guide to the Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    Step 1: The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    This move assumes that you have already learnt the Sumo Deadlift, so make sure you do before attempting the Sumo Deadlift High Pull.  To start, approach the bell and line up the malleolus, the ankle bones, with the horns of the bell.

    Step 3: The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    Chop and drop the hips to find your hip hinge.  Sink into this position.

    Step 3: The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    Put both hands on the kettlebell and pack the shoulders - squeeze the shoulder blades back and down.

    Step 4: The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    Explode up, push the floor away and finish in a high row.  Guide the kettlebell back down to the finish position.

    Step 5: The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    At the top position, your glutes should be squeezed, abs on and finish in this position.  No T-Rex hands and do not cover your face.  At the bottom, ensure you pack the shoulders each time.  Most importantly, do not segment this movement - It should be one flowing movement.  

    The body-boosting benefits of the kettlebell sumo deadlift

    As one of the world’s most effective leg and lower back exercises, the sumo deadlift gives the quads and lower body muscle groups a deep workout. Here are the most body-boosting benefits of this most popular of movements:

    • Pure leg power: The position of the kettlebell sumo deadlift places emphasis on the quads and other major leg muscles. As a result, performing regular sumo deadlifts will build leg muscle effectively, giving your legs extra power while making them less susceptible to injury.
    • Back health & posture: Although the sumo deadlift doesn’t work the back quite as much as the conventional deadlift, it does activate the core as well as the posterior chain, conditioning parts of the lower back, improving health, flexibility, and posture in the process.
    • Fat-burning: If you want to work up a sweat and burn fat, the kettlebell sumo deadlift should definitely be a bonafide part of your workout regime. By shifting the kettlebell from a low, wide, static position, you will exert optimum muscle energy every each lift, stripping away fat in the process.

    What muscle groups does the kettlebell sumo deadlift work?

    The kettlebell sumo deadlift engages a compact yet essential set of lower body muscle groups in one powerful movement. Primarily, the sumo deadlift drills down deep into the quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, and lower back for increased power and resilience. 

    Here’s a rundown of the major muscle groups worked by the kettlebell sumo deadlift:

    • Quadriceps
    • Hamstrings
    • Adductors
    • Trapezius muscles
    • Groin muscles
    • Erector spinae
    • Glutes

    Kettlebell sumo deadlift form tips

    What to do

    We’ve explored the body and strength-building perks of the kettlebell sumo deadlift—now we’re going to help you maximise your workouts with these essential step-by-step form tips:

    • Leg positioning: Stand with your kettlebell on the floor in front of you with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Point your toes to roughly 45-degree angles so they are facing away from each other.
    • The bend: Push your chest outwards, keep your back straight, and ensure that your shoulders are square. With some of your weight distributed to your heels, bend your knees with straight arms, remaining in position until you’re able to clasp your kettlebell.
    • The lifting: Once you’ve gripped the kettlebell, remain in position, checking your chest, back, and shoulder posture, before squeezing your glute muscles, and lifting yourself back into starting position, using power from your leg area. Once you’ve reached the starting position, pause for a moment, then repeat at your leisure.
    • Weight choice: It’s very important to choose your kettlebell weight based on your size, strength, and level of experience. If you’re starting out, a 12kg kettlebell might be the best option, but if you have a little more kettlebell training experience, 16kg or 20kg weights may suit better.

    What to avoid

    Yes, the kettlebell sumo deadlift does boast a list of fitness benefits, but one false move and you could injure yourself. To prevent ripping a muscle or suffering from a sore back, here is what you should avoid at all costs:

    • Don’t hunch your back or round your shoulders when you’re lifting the kettlebell from the floor. Doing so will cause unwanted wear and tear in your joints and muscles.
    • Don’t point your toes out more than 45 degrees as you will lose lifting power—you could also hurt your knees.
    • Don’t lean too far back when sumo deadlifting. You should place your weight on your heels but it’s vital that you don’t overstrain or overcompensate when lifting the kettlebell or you will force your back to perform the movement, rather than your quads and lower body.

    Related kettlebell sumo deadlift exercises

    To really work up a kettlebell sweat and supercharge your kettlebell sumo deadlift efforts, here are three related exercises you should try:

    Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull video transcript

    This is a tutorial video for Sumo Deadlift High Pull. 

    This assumes that you’ve already learnt the sumo deadlift so go back and learn that if you haven’t.

    Set up is the same and we do start with a kettlebell deadlift. 

    So I’m approaching the bell, lining up my malleolus, my ankle bones, with the horns of the bell.

     I chop and drop the hips, finding that hip hinge position. 

    So I sink into this position.  From there, I’m going to pack the shoulders, squeezing shoulder blades back and down. 

    So here I’m still in a deadlift. 

    From there it’s going to be an explosive deadlift so I explode up. 

    I get the hips, the glutes squeezed, the abs on, and then I finish in a high row. 

    I’m not going to segment this.  I’m going to use the power from the lower body to generate that movement in the upper body. 

    The top position:  I want you to finish like this.  No T-Rex position and don’t cover your face, okay? 

    So, whole movement. 

    Chop and drop, hands on bell, squeeze shoulder blades back and down. 

    Push floor away, drive up into a high row. 

    Guide kettlebell back to start position. 

    Pack shoulder, push floor away, finishing in a high row. 

    Every rep pack those shoulders, push floor away, finishing in a high row. 

    At the top position, the glutes should be squeezed, abs should be on, and you finish in this shape. 

    Prime movers again are going to be hamstrings, glutes, erectors, abs, but also now a little bit of the shoulders and the traps as we finish in a high row. 

    Really important point:  do not segment this movement.  Try to avoid this, here, this shape and then this shape.  We don’t want that.  We want to use the body as a kinetic chain. 

    So here pack, push floor away, drive up, and reset.

    That’s the video tutorial for Sumo Deadlift High pull

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