Ferrigno Fitness Powerlifting Deadlift Stance | Deadlift Stance Width

Deadlift Stance | Deadlift Stance Width

Summary: Deadlifting is a compound exercise that involves lifting a barbell loaded with weight plates from the floor to an upright standing position. The deadlift stance is one of the crucial aspects of performing a deadlift correctly. The stance includes stance width, foot placement, and toe angle. In this article, we will discuss the different factors to consider when selecting a deadlift stance.

1. Stance width

The width of your stance influences the position of your hips and shoulders during the deadlift. A narrow stance engages the quadriceps muscles more, while a wider stance shifts the focus to the glutes and hamstrings.

However, it’s important to avoid an excessively narrow or wide stance, as it can put unnecessary strain on your lower back. Ideally, your feet should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. A good starting point is to stand with your feet hip-width apart and then adjust accordingly based on comfort and strength.

Your stance width also depends on your limb length and hip mobility. If your legs are longer, a wider stance may be more comfortable. If you have tight hip flexors, a narrower stance may be better to prevent back rounding.

2. Foot placement

Your foot placement is another critical factor in maintaining proper alignment and balance during the deadlift. Your feet should be parallel to each other and point straight ahead or slightly outward. This position helps to engage the glutes and external rotators, which stabilizes the hips during the lift.

You should also make sure that your weight is distributed evenly between your feet before starting the lift. This ensures that you remain balanced and stable throughout the movement. Placing too much weight on one foot can cause the barbell to shift and lead to injury.

Some individuals prefer to turn their toes slightly outward to allow for a comfortable range of motion during the lift. However, be mindful of not excessively rotating your feet as it can cause knee and hip strain.

3. Toes and heels

The position of your toes and heels affects your stability and balance while performing the deadlift. Generally, your toes should be in line with the middle of your feet, and your heels should be under your hips.

However, some individuals may have more success with a slight modification to their toe and heel positioning. For instance, having your heels slightly wider than your toes can provide more stability during the lift. Conversely, having your toes slightly wider than your heels can help engage the glutes and hamstrings to a greater extent.

Ultimately, the best position is the one that allows you to lift the most weight with proper form and without discomfort or pain.

4. Sumo stance

The sumo deadlift stance involves placing your feet much wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed outward at an angle of 45 degrees or more. This position shortens the distance the bar has to travel, improves leverage, and places more emphasis on the inner thigh muscles.

However, it’s essential to have good hip mobility and flexibility to perform this stance correctly. If you have tight hips, you may experience discomfort or pain while attempting this stance, and it may not be suitable for you.

If you choose to use the sumo deadlift stance, ensure that your hips are as close to the bar as possible and your knees track over your toes. When performed correctly, the sumo stance can be a useful variation to switch up your training and add variety to your workouts.

5. Conventional stance

The conventional deadlift stance is the most commonly used and involves setting up with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead, and your weight distributed evenly between both feet.

This stance emphasizes the use of the posterior chain muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It’s a good starting position for beginners learning the deadlift and those who want to focus on building overall strength and size.

When setting up for the conventional deadlift stance, make sure that your hips are higher than your knees and that your back is flat. You should also engage your core and create tension in your body to maintain proper form throughout the lift.


The deadlift stance is critical to performing the exercise correctly and getting the most out of your workouts. Stance width, foot placement, and toe angle all play a part in determining the best stance for you. Experiment with different stances and positions to find the one that works best for your body type, mobility, and strength.

Remember that while the deadlift is an excellent compound exercise for building strength and muscle, it can also be dangerous if performed incorrectly. Always prioritize proper form and seek guidance from a certified trainer or coach if you’re unsure about technique or stance selection.

By taking the time to understand and perfect your deadlift stance, you’ll be able to lift heavier weights safely and effectively, leading to greater gains in strength and size over time.

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