Sumo Deadlift High Pull Alternatives

The sumo deadlift high pull is a combination exercise that has a lifter perform a sumo deadlift into an upright row. This exercise stresses many muscles of the body, specifically the hips, legs, back, and shoulders (posterior chain). In the below section we will go over some brief benefits one can expect when performing the sumo deadlift high pull and offer seven sumo deadlift high pull alternatives to deiversy your fitness and training.

Below is a brief recap of the main sumo deadlift high pull benefits coaches and athletes can expect when performing this total body compound movement. You can read the full explanations of the below benefits in this sumo deadlift high pull exercise guide.

  1. Posterior Chain Development
  2. Increased Power Output (Hips and Lower Body)
  3. Builds Metabolic Fitness (when done in a cyclical, high-rep based fashion)
  4. Total Body, Compound Exercise (more muscles targeted at one time)

Exercise Demo Video

Below is a video demonstration of the sumo deadlift high pull, performed with a barbell.

Sumo Deadlift High Pull Alternatives

Below are six (6) sumo deadlift high pull alternatives that coaches and athletes can use to target similar muscle groups and training outcomes in instances where they sumo deadlift high pull is contradictory to an athlete’s performance or health. The first two exercises are geared for maximal power development. The next alternative can be used in place of sumo deadlift high pulls in metabolic conditioning WODs or endurance sessions. Lastly, the last pairing of alternatives can simply be supersetted together if muscle hypertrophy is the true goal of performing the sumo deadlift high pull.

Clean / Snatch High Pull

If you are looking to build serious strength and power specific to sports performance and olympic weightlifting look no further than the clean/snatch high pull. Both movements are very similar to the sumo deadlift high pull with the exceptions of the foot and hand placement. By using a clean or snatch grip (rather than the narrow, upright row grip), you are able to minimize any unwanted strain and stress on the shoulder joint, which is often seen as an exercise contraction in the sumo deadlift high pull. In addition, the clean and snatch high pull have a broader application to other movements like cleans, snatches, and their variations, making it an efficient and safe training option for most individuals.

Power Clean / Snatch

These are a progressions upon the above high pull movement, however can still help an individual create far more power outputs than a standard sumo deadlift high pull. If you are an athlete looking to run faster, jump higher, and be more explosive, the power clean/snatch is a must do.

American Swing

The American / overhead kettlebell (or dumbbell) swing is total body exercise than can easily replace the sumo deadlift high pull within fitness WODs or conditioning sessions. While these two movements have an athlete take a grip (narrow), which has been argued to increase shoulder strain, the American swing is a quick an easy swap to the more cumbersome barbell sumo deadlift high pull.

KB Swing + Pull

This kettlebell exercise is a more complex one to master, however does offer a greater amount of individualization of upright rowing angles and widths to allow for better shoulder movement. The kettlebell swing into high pull is a powerful alternative that can also increase unilateral strength and coordination and metabolic fitness.

Face Pull + Sumo Deadlift Super Set

The face pull and sumo deadlift by themselves are great exercise for building stronger, bigger muscles. When combining the two movements into a superset you are able to stress the specific muscle groups greater than if you were to use the sumo deadlift high pull. Meaning if you want stronger legs and hips, the sumo deadlift high pull loading will be limited since the upper body is not strong enough to lift the true loads the lower body could. If you want bigger shoulders, the sumo deadlift high pull may actually be helpful however you need to be sure to not overdue the loading, which can place unnecessary train on the shoulder joint.

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Take a look at some of our more popular exercise guides and boost your muscle and fitness today.

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Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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