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5/3/1 Main and Supplemental Deadlift

Hi All,

I have 8 years’ training history and 6 years of powerlifting, mostly using 5/3/1 variations. When I compete, I deadlift sumo, but for the last 2 years I’ve been using conventional because I suck at it and need to get better. When I first started sumo I was able to lift around 100 lbs more sumo than conventional, but since then have been able to close the gap to about 30 pounds.

My issue is that I have some structural back problems (spina bifida occulta) and a short leg that tend to aggravate pain with conventional deadlifts. Lately I’ve switched back to sumo and have noticed a pretty steep reduction in pain, which has been great. I don’t, however, want to abandon conventional deadlifting. Right now I’m running Pervertor (which kicks ass, BTW) and am warming up with both stances, doing my working sets sumo, then going back-and-forth between sumo and conventional for the supplemental work.

I’m planning to stick with the above strategy, but if it gets to where I need to go sumo full-time to keep my spine and hips happy, will I be completely short-changing myself of the benefit of conventional deadlifts? Or am I better off to stick with sumo and work on mastering it more? Current max is 465 conventional and 495 sumo. Obviously my short-term goal is to break 500.

Not expert in the subject, but Bryce Krawczyk has dropped conventional deads due to hip injury. He keeps the conventional pattern in with light RDLs and so on.

Its not optimal, but if heavy conventional pulls break you, just do what you can.


Oh, I didn’t realize Bryce had totally dropped the conventional DL! I don’t do things as badass as him, but he has been able to stay wicked strong without them. I’ll stay the course for now and if I have to totally go sumo full-time I will. Sometimes the optimal thing isn’t optimal for everyone’s body…


If conventional causes you issues, I wouldn’t ride it out in the hopes that it starts working, I would ditch it for sumo immediately. It’s as perfectly legitimate as conventional, and if you keep beating yourself to death with conventional, you may just cause irreversible damage.

If you can pick a heavy-ass weight off the ground, it’s badass, regardless of stance specifics.

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Slowly working on changing my mentality on this. I was DEFINITELY not a tough guy growing up and have been overcompensating for it in adulthood. Finally trying to listen to my body and accept that I have limitations without totally pussing out on my goals.

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