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The Sumo Deadlift High Pull

The Sumo DL High Pull is one of CrossFit’s 9 foundational movements. We teach it to all of our new CrossFitters while going through our OnRamp course.  It doesn’t often come up in programming, and quite honestly I’ve often wondered why it is considered one of CrossFit’s foundational movements, so I did some research and I’d like to share what I found, but first, what is a sumo deadlift high pull?

  • Set-up
    Stance is heels wider than shoulders, but not so wide the knees roll in.
    Weight should be in the heels
    Chest up and brace to maintain a neutral spine
    Shoulders over or slightly in front of the bar
    Bar in contact with the shins
    Straight arms
    Symmetrical grip inside the knees
  • Execution
    Sequence of action is to: deadlift, shrug, pull
    Drive through heels
    Full extension of legs while hips and shoulders rise at the same rate
    When bar passes the knees, the hip opens
    Shrug (with straight arms)
    Arms follow through by pulling the bar below the chin with elbows high and outside
    Return bar down fluidly in reverse sequence: arms, shoulders, hips, knees, back to the set up position.
  • Finish
    The movement finishes with the knees and hips at full extension and the bar pulled to the chin with elbows high and outside
  • Benefits
    Posterior Chain Development
    Power Output
    Compound, Total Body Movement
    Metabolic Conditioning

So what is “functional” about a SDLHP?

You’ve probably executed a movement very similar to a SDLHP without realizing it. Think of loading objects into the back of your car or truck, specifically heavy bags or a bucket. Positioning the item between your feet, deadlifting the object, using the hips to project power and then possibly a shrug to gain some height on the object, followed by the arms to finish loading the object.

Consider adding the Sumo Deadlift High Pull to your workout regimen weekly. Practice the movement pattern with a PVC pipe or barbell first and once you’re comfortable with the execution of the movement, add a little weight.

Next time you find yourself loading objects into a vehicle, try doing so in a Sumo Deadlift High Pull fashion!

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