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Best Assistance Exercises for Sumo Deadlifts?


#1

I feel like this is a topic that hasn't been spoken about that much. What do you guys use to aid youre sumo deads? I did use SLDL, back raises and conventional deadlifts so far. I am using Jim Wendler's original 5/3/1. I usually chose a main assistance movement that I keep for one cycle. For example my main assistance movement for sumo deads last cycle were SLDL. I used (and still do) back raises to add volume (as an easy additional movement).


#2

I really like doing pulls from blocks with the bar below the knee.

When most people hear of block/rack pulls they think of back development, but with the sumo it really helps me to focus on pushing my legs through and feeling my glutes as well.


#3

Work all the ancillaries.

Abductor / Adductor flexibility and stretching
Hip Flexor flexibility and stretching

Off Blocks for speed off the floor
From a rack for lock out

Best Lifts
SQ - 970
BP - 740
DL - 848


#4

It depends how you fail on the lift. You’ll have to decide what you need for technical development, muscular development or both. Some problems can be masked by other problems so you’ll have to consider that as well.


#5

I have never failed a deadlift by lockout (neiter sumo nor conventional). So if I fail a lift the weight is glued to the ground.


#6

I have never considered block pulls for speed of the floor but it sounds really interesting!


#7

Maybe you just need to increase leg strength with a bit more volume for assistance work, especially if you feel fully recovered between sessions.


#8

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I have never considered block pulls for speed of the floor but it sounds really interesting![/quote]

Make sure to play around with your set-up.

If you are too far behind the bar it will involve your back a lot more. Get really far over the bar and just try to push through with your legs as much as you can and make sure to finish the lockout with the glutes. If you’re not paying attention you’re not going to hit it where you want to.


#9

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Maybe you just need to increase leg strength with a bit more volume for assistance work, especially if you feel fully recovered between sessions.[/quote]

Beside squats (which I do anyway) what would you recommend in this case? My leg work usually consists of squats, a main assistance exercise like pause squats, front squats or SLDL and bulgarian split squats. But lately I have a hard time with recovering from my workouts because I already increased my volume on assistance lifts quite a bit. I do quite a lot of bodybuilding-style training in addition to 5/3/1. Even though I have no real aesthetic goals I hope that this kind of work will build a good base for future stregth improvements and injury prevention.


#10

[quote]Sutebun wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I have never considered block pulls for speed of the floor but it sounds really interesting![/quote]

Make sure to play around with your set-up.

If you are too far behind the bar it will involve your back a lot more. Get really far over the bar and just try to push through with your legs as much as you can and make sure to finish the lockout with the glutes. If you’re not paying attention you’re not going to hit it where you want to.[/quote]

I have seen a few Chris Duffin videos lately and I am trying to pay attention to my set up a lot more since then.


#11

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Maybe you just need to increase leg strength with a bit more volume for assistance work, especially if you feel fully recovered between sessions.[/quote]

Beside squats (which I do anyway) what would you recommend in this case? My leg work usually consists of squats, a main assistance exercise like pause squats, front squats or SLDL and bulgarian split squats. But lately I have a hard time with recovering from my workouts because I already increased my volume on assistance lifts quite a bit. I do quite a lot of bodybuilding-style training in addition to 5/3/1. Even though I have no real aesthetic goals I hope that this kind of work will build a good base for future stregth improvements and injury prevention.[/quote]

I don’t find anything wrong with using bodybuilding-style training to add in volume and it’s a good thing to build mass for future strength. If I were to use 5/3/1 again, I would use the BBB template where 5x10 is done for assistance using a main lift. The most success I had from 5/3/1 was doing the BBB Challenge. When transitioning back to a normal BBB routine I would reduce volume for assistance work as the top sets got harder (when I couldn’t consistently hit a couple reps more than minimum). Make sure not to go too heavy on the assistance since they shouldn’t make a big impact on recovery.

So far I’ve come to the conclusion that if my reps at 90-95% have breakdown in technique, I have to address a major weakness. That becomes the main focus and probably involves using an alternative to a competition lift for the main work or reducing my training max. It’s hard to improve a major weakness if I don’t allocate enough resources to fixing it. If reducing training max becomes a recurring thing, it means I didn’t know what the problem was in the first place. Otherwise I stick to the basics and just focus on getting everything stronger, which can include bodybuilding work.

It doesn’t seem like you have a major weakness other than leg drive to initiate the pull. Putting in volume work for squats or leg press would likely help. Focus more on total volume rather than higher intensity for the assistance work.


#12

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Maybe you just need to increase leg strength with a bit more volume for assistance work, especially if you feel fully recovered between sessions.[/quote]

Beside squats (which I do anyway) what would you recommend in this case? My leg work usually consists of squats, a main assistance exercise like pause squats, front squats or SLDL and bulgarian split squats. But lately I have a hard time with recovering from my workouts because I already increased my volume on assistance lifts quite a bit. I do quite a lot of bodybuilding-style training in addition to 5/3/1. Even though I have no real aesthetic goals I hope that this kind of work will build a good base for future stregth improvements and injury prevention.[/quote]

I don’t find anything wrong with using bodybuilding-style training to add in volume and it’s a good thing to build mass for future strength. If I were to use 5/3/1 again, I would use the BBB template where 5x10 is done for assistance using a main lift. The most success I had from 5/3/1 was doing the BBB Challenge. When transitioning back to a normal BBB routine I would reduce volume for assistance work as the top sets got harder (when I couldn’t consistently hit a couple reps more than minimum). Make sure not to go too heavy on the assistance since they shouldn’t make a big impact on recovery.

So far I’ve come to the conclusion that if my reps at 90-95% have breakdown in technique, I have to address a major weakness. That becomes the main focus and probably involves using an alternative to a competition lift for the main work or reducing my training max. It’s hard to improve a major weakness if I don’t allocate enough resources to fixing it. If reducing training max becomes a recurring thing, it means I didn’t know what the problem was in the first place. Otherwise I stick to the basics and just focus on getting everything stronger, which can include bodybuilding work.

It doesn’t seem like you have a major weakness other than leg drive to initiate the pull. Putting in volume work for squats or leg press would likely help. Focus more on total volume rather than higher intensity for the assistance work.[/quote]

I think the last point you made with total volume vs intensity might be a good tip for me! In the BBB challenge do you have to use military press, bench, squats and deads or could you use variations like for example z press, board press, front squats and block pulls?


#13

Most sumo pulls are slow off the floor. Stronger legs + stronger back. Try to emulate the lift as much as possible for assistance w/ lower weight and higher reps. For example:

Running 531

Week 1 - Do the 5+ reps main set / Drop back to 60% for 3x8 using an emulating lift then finish off w/ some torso work
Week 2 - Do the 3+ reps main sets / Drop back to 70% for 3x5 using an emulating lift then finish w/ some torso work
Week 3 - Do the 1+ rep main set / Drop back to 80% for 3x3 using an emulating lift then finish w/ some torso work

All drop backs are percentages of your working weight for that day. As your TM goes up, so does the assistance work. It might be light in the very beginning, but will get heavy pretty quickly. Focus on good technique and speed on the assistance work. Focus on each individual rep w/ good execution and not just slapping reps together.


#14

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
Most sumo pulls are slow off the floor. Stronger legs + stronger back. Try to emulate the lift as much as possible for assistance w/ lower weight and higher reps. For example:

Running 531

Week 1 - Do the 5+ reps main set / Drop back to 60% for 3x8 using an emulating lift then finish off w/ some torso work
Week 2 - Do the 3+ reps main sets / Drop back to 70% for 3x5 using an emulating lift then finish w/ some torso work
Week 3 - Do the 1+ rep main set / Drop back to 80% for 3x3 using an emulating lift then finish w/ some torso work

All drop backs are percentages of your working weight for that day. As your TM goes up, so does the assistance work. It might be light in the very beginning, but will get heavy pretty quickly. Focus on good technique and speed on the assistance work. Focus on each individual rep w/ good execution and not just slapping reps together. [/quote]

Sounds interesting. But what do you mean with “emulating lift” (english is not my native language). I guess you mean I should just do the main lift I have done before using your layout of percentages?


#15

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I think the last point you made with total volume vs intensity might be a good tip for me! In the BBB challenge do you have to use military press, bench, squats and deads or could you use variations like for example z press, board press, front squats and block pulls?
[/quote]

You could use variations if you really wanted but I recommend to stick to the original BBB Challenge since you don’t seem to have any major weaknesses. If you do everything exactly as prescribed you should see some big gains.


#16

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I think the last point you made with total volume vs intensity might be a good tip for me! In the BBB challenge do you have to use military press, bench, squats and deads or could you use variations like for example z press, board press, front squats and block pulls?
[/quote]

You could use variations if you really wanted but I recommend to stick to the original BBB Challenge since you don’t seem to have any major weaknesses. If you do everything exactly as prescribed you should see some big gains.[/quote]

I think you are right, I should atleast start with the main movements. One thing bothers me though. If I understood everything correctly I am supposed to do just the minimum of prescribed reps in my 5/3/1 workout, so no more “+ sets”. The thing is I keep getting a lot of reps on those, usually ca. 5 more than minimum. I feel like I would not get enough volume with challenging weight if I just did the minimum reps.

Is it possible to do BBB but keep pushing in the “+ sets” or would this be counter productive?


#17

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I think you are right, I should atleast start with the main movements. One thing bothers me though. If I understood everything correctly I am supposed to do just the minimum of prescribed reps in my 5/3/1 workout, so no more “+ sets”. The thing is I keep getting a lot of reps on those, usually ca. 5 more than minimum. I feel like I would not get enough volume with challenging weight if I just did the minimum reps.

Is it possible to do BBB but keep pushing in the “+ sets” or would this be counter productive?
[/quote]

I didn’t get to finish my post earlier. I was going to say that the BBB Challenge allows you to focus on volume. That’s why Wendler recommended to reset the training maxes and do the minimum number of reps for the top sets because the volume work is the main focus. If you are using exactly 90% of a true max, the training sessions will definitely be challenging. Doing 5x10 for assistance at 50% won’t be so bad but it’ll get tough when you get to the 3rd month and have to do 50 reps of a main lift at 70% intensity.

Once you finish the 3-month Challenge, you can then begin to focus more on intensity as you begin hitting PRs in the top sets during the following months of the 5/3/1 template. After the Challenge, doing what osu122975 prescribed would be best. I actually did something similar where I did 3x8 for assistance but it looks to be a better progression if I tapered off the assistance down to 3x3 as well.

After hitting PRs and missing reps, repeat by going back to the BBB Challenge to build a foundation of volume and then transitioning into intensity. If you commit to the program, you’ll see how important both volume and intensity are for building strength.


#18

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:Sounds interesting. But what do you mean with “emulating lift” (english is not my native language). I guess you mean I should just do the main lift I have done before using your layout of percentages?
[/quote]

Sorry. Do a variation of the lift not limited to the one’s listed below.

Bench - 2-board press / narrow grip / incline
Deadlift - stiff leg deads / block pulls / deficit pulls
Squat - pause squats / front squat


#19

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:Sounds interesting. But what do you mean with “emulating lift” (english is not my native language). I guess you mean I should just do the main lift I have done before using your layout of percentages?
[/quote]

Sorry. Do a variation of the lift not limited to the one’s listed below.

Bench - 2-board press / narrow grip / incline
Deadlift - stiff leg deads / block pulls / deficit pulls
Squat - pause squats / front squat
[/quote]

Thank you for the explanation! This is pretty much what I had in mind, except for the clear layout.


#20

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I think you are right, I should atleast start with the main movements. One thing bothers me though. If I understood everything correctly I am supposed to do just the minimum of prescribed reps in my 5/3/1 workout, so no more “+ sets”. The thing is I keep getting a lot of reps on those, usually ca. 5 more than minimum. I feel like I would not get enough volume with challenging weight if I just did the minimum reps.

Is it possible to do BBB but keep pushing in the “+ sets” or would this be counter productive?
[/quote]

I didn’t get to finish my post earlier. I was going to say that the BBB Challenge allows you to focus on volume. That’s why Wendler recommended to reset the training maxes and do the minimum number of reps for the top sets because the volume work is the main focus. If you are using exactly 90% of a true max, the training sessions will definitely be challenging. Doing 5x10 for assistance at 50% won’t be so bad but it’ll get tough when you get to the 3rd month and have to do 50 reps of a main lift at 70% intensity.

Once you finish the 3-month Challenge, you can then begin to focus more on intensity as you begin hitting PRs in the top sets during the following months of the 5/3/1 template. After the Challenge, doing what osu122975 prescribed would be best. I actually did something similar where I did 3x8 for assistance but it looks to be a better progression if I tapered off the assistance down to 3x3 as well.

After hitting PRs and missing reps, repeat by going back to the BBB Challenge to build a foundation of volume and then transitioning into intensity. If you commit to the program, you’ll see how important both volume and intensity are for building strength.[/quote]

I see the logic behind this and I think that this is well thought through but wouldn’t it be the better option to start with BBB and focus on volume as soon as I stop making fast progress with the originial template? So for example: For now I continue to use the original 5/3/1, add what osu122975 has advised and as soon as my progression slows down noticeably I focus on volume using BBB and go up in intensity from there (like you said).