Is the sumo deadlift cheating? While some people might think it is, Jeff Nippard has a lot to say in defence of this Olympic lift standard.
Jeff Nippard is a natural professional bodybuilder who shares tips and training programs on his YouTube channel. In his latest video, he was asked: is the sumo deadlift cheating? To which he replied “no.”
Why ask is the sumo deadlift cheating? Nippard was replying to a video of Chris Bumstead who flat out just said it is cheating in a Q&A of his own. Bumstead is the reigning Mr Olympia Classic Physique winner having taken the top spot for the last three years in a row (2019, 2020, and 2021).
With such a resumé, people tend to listen to Chris Bumstead and Nippard wanted to counter-argue what Mr Olympia and many other people might think about the sumo deadlifting technique.
Why People Would Ask Is The Sumo Deadlift Cheating?
Although it is possible that Chris Bumstead just commented out of the blue, Nippard took the opportunity to use data analysis and science to back his argument that the sumo deadlift is not cheating.
First of all, the argument is usually thrown out when people compare the sumo deadlift to the traditional deadlift.
“Is the sumo deadlift cheating” argument derives from two factors, according to Nippard: that athletes can lift more weight due to the setup and execution of the sumo deadlift, and that its shorter range of motion also gives an extra advantage.
Is The Sumo Deadlift Cheating? Data Says No
Nippard took data from the 2018 and 2019 International Powerlifting Federation World Championships to see what the best of the best around the world do.
Although some athletes use the sumo deadlift technique, this variation decreases as the weight classes get heavier. In the 66-kilo category, around 75 per cent of athletes used the sumo deadlift variation, while in the super-heavyweight division a similar percentage utilised the conventional deadlift. A similar trend was observed for female athletes at the extreme ends of weight classes.
Nippard concludes that people believe that the conventional deadlift technique is superior to the sumo deadlift because it feels a lot harder due to the increased demand on the lower back.
As shown in the data pulled from 2018 and 2019, lighter athletes may have more success with the sumo deadlift while heavier ones could do better utilising the conventional deadlift.
It’s about trial and error if you want to know which deadlift is better for you, as they are both quite similar in muscle activation and benefits.