T Nation

Conventional DL to Build Sumo?


#1

I hear a lot of people recommending conventional deadlifts to build sumo, and I am aware of some old-time lifters like Ed Coan and Dan Austin who only pulled sumo during meet prep and pulled world records. I’m not sure about Austin, but Coan said that too much sumo combined with heavy squatting would beat up his hips. Now in my case, I don’t have any issue pulling sumo every week but I don’t see the advantage of using conventional as an assistance movement over other hip-hinge lifts like RDLs or good mornings. They all train lower back and hamstrings, which sumo somewhat neglects, the difference with conventional is that you have some leg drive which allows you to handle more weight. Is there a reason that I’m missing why I should do conventional dl as well?

On the other hand, I can see why only pulling sumo and sumo variations (like rack pulls and deficits) with none of the above exercises might not work. Every time I have tried that I start to get shaky legs when on hard sets over 85% or so, after a week or two of adding back RDL or GM it goes away.


#2

The advantage of pulling conventional as assistance in lieu of other hip hinge movements might be in the amount of weight used. Obviously in most cases, the lifter can use more weight in CDL rather than SDL, or RDL hence greater stimulus. I was never thrilled by RDL’s because they don’t train the CNS the same way that CDL’s do, so I use them as accesory work for intermediate reps to build mass.

In Coan’s case he has osteoarthritis inherited from his mother’d side, so the sumo work was probably aggravating a pre-existing condition.

Finally don’t forget that in the sumo, the hips can only push off the floor to the extent that the back can stay rigid. While you can get away with some rounding in the CDL, in the sumo it will lead to what used to be called the earthquakes (you call it shaky legs). This happens when the back fails and the weight hangs out front and the legs try to get under the bar. You either fail in that position of get called for “planing”(supporting the bar on the thighs).


#3

And CDL sure as shit teaches the importance of a rigid back.

I’ve always looked at it this way: sumo and conventional are generally weak at opposite ends of the lift. With sumo it’s harder earlier and conventional harder later at any given load that you can actually move. I know for myself sumo helped my conventional by teaching me the importance of positioning and patience, while conventional helps my sumo by making my back better at staying rigid.


#4

@jbackos @MarkKO
In my case, my back doesn’t round at all on sumo, even max lifts and misses. My squat is getting pretty close to my sumo pull so I assume that quads aren’t the weakness. I think glutes/hips the problem if anything. I spent the last two months doing conventional pulls for sets of 5-6 reps, although I was doing rack pulls. I don’t have very good proportions for conventional so it’s either almost a SLDL or I have to round my back, I started with the plates 4 inches off the floor, the 2nd month was 2 inches and I was planning to start pulling from the floor as of next week but I seem to be getting nothing out of it so far. Another thing, I can do RDLs with weights pretty close to what I can pull conventional with a flat back.

In my case, it’s when the bar is around knee level but there is no rounding. It seems like I’m struggling to extend my hips, I still might struggle sometimes when I’m doing RDLs or GMs but my legs don’t shake.

What do you guys think of deficit sumo? I hear that some people don’t like it because it requires more flexibility and can mess with your start position, but I’m still going to pull off the floor and I’m using a “moderate” stance that doesn’t really challenge my flexibility, I’m weaker if I go much wider.


#5

Umm tbh have no idea what ur asking lel

Did your coach program too much volume for you or something… and Yes. If you sacrifice your coach to our lord Coan you get 50 pounds on your deadlift.

If they made that recommendation that’s another thing entirely but emulating high level lifters current training isn’t usually a good idea. The training they used to et to that level is rarely the training they are currently using. e.g look at Malanichev now doing only SBD with little to no exercise variation. He sure as hell didn’t build his base doing only bench squat deadlift.

Are you ok mane?

Just boils down to specificity and individual differences. specificity and individual differences. specificity and individual differences. specificity and individual differences.

e.g. Specific to the comp movement (e.g block pull closer to the comp movement than Good Mornings ), training phase/block (hypertrophy phase can have more variation and probably tolerates lower percentage RDLs well at higher volumes).

Individual differences you’ll select exercises which address your specific weaknesses, enhance your strengths and carryover most to your DL


#6

The ole leverage v range of motion debate. Give both extremes a decent try and the mid ground for good measure. Whatever your strongest at is your go to.

Maybe you can’t get your knees out properly with so wide a stance. If you wanted to you’d have to work towards it


#7

100% correct. The CDL is rugby; sumo is ballet

MarkKO
October 2 |

jbackos:
Finally don’t forget that in the sumo, the hips can only push off the floor to the extent that the back can stay rigid

And CDL sure as shit teaches the importance of a rigid back.

I’ve always looked at it this way: sumo and conventional are generally weak at opposite ends of the lift. With sumo it’s harder earlier and conventional harder later at any given load that you can actually move. I know for myself sumo helped my conventional by teaching me the importance of positioning and patience, while conventional helps my sumo by making my back better at staying rigid.

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In Reply To

jbackos
October 2 |

The advantage of pulling conventional as assistance in lieu of other hip hinge movements might be in the amount of weight used. Obviously in most cases, the lifter can use more weight in CDL rather than SDL, or RDL hence greater stimulus. I was never thrilled by RDL’s because they don’t train the CN…
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#8

You can always train the conventional as an accessory movement only off blocks since your legs are probably stronger than your back like most people. Another need to CDL off the floor. You get enough back stimulation off the blocks

chris_ottawa
October 2 |

@jbackos @MarkKO
In my case, my back doesn’t round at all on sumo, even max lifts and misses. My squat is getting pretty close to my sumo pull so I assume that quads aren’t the weakness. I think glutes/hips the problem if anything. I spent the last two months doing conventional pulls for sets of 5-6 reps, although I was doing rack pulls. I don’t have very good proportions for conventional so it’s either almost a SLDL or I have to round my back, I started with the plates 4 inches off the floor, the 2nd month was 2 inches and I was planning to start pulling from the floor as of next week but I seem to be getting nothing out of it so far. Another thing, I can do RDLs with weights pretty close to what I can pull conventional with a flat back.

jbackos:
While you can get away with some rounding in the CDL, in the sumo it will lead to what used to be called the earthquakes (you call it shaky legs). This happens when the back fails and the weight hangs out front and the legs try to get under the bar. You either fail in that position of get called for “planing”(supporting the bar on the thighs).

In my case, it’s when the bar is around knee level but there is no rounding. It seems like I’m struggling to extend my hips, I still might struggle sometimes when I’m doing RDLs or GMs but my legs don’t shake.

What do you guys think of deficit sumo? I hear that some people don’t like it because it requires more flexibility and can mess with your start position, but I’m still going to pull off the floor and I’m using a “moderate” stance that doesn’t really challenge my flexibility, I’m weaker if I go much wider.

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#9

If I could figure out a way to set it up that wouldn’t have me worried I was going to do the splits I’d definitely give it a shot.


#10

Emphasizes the pull off the floor with a small deficit. Sounds good to me. I do sumo block pulls more than deficits tho. If someone’s so bad off the floor they are taking 5 seconds down there it’s an issue with their form or the percentage is like 105% 1RM of something.

Bigger deficit makes it hard to get into a good starting position sometimes prohibitively so.


#11

35 lb plates are your friend

MarkKO
October 3 |

jbackos:
What do you guys think of deficit sumo

If I could figure out a way to set it up that wouldn’t have me worried I was going to do the splits I’d definitely give it a shot.

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In Reply To

jbackos
October 3 |

You can always train the conventional as an accessory movement only off blocks since your legs are probably stronger than your back like most people. Another need to CDL off the floor. You get enough back stimulation off the blocks chris_ottawa October 2 | @jbackos @MarkKO In my case, my ba…
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#12

Good Mornings Instead of Conventional Deadlifts

You are right, you are NOT missing anything.

You can substitute Good Morning with a narrow or medium stance for a Conventional Deadlift.

Let’s look at some of the reason why.

Ascending Strength Curve

Movements are broken down into three types of Strength Cures.

The Conventional Dealift (Sumo, as well) and Good Morning fall into the Ascending Strength Curve.

Simply put, an Ascending Strength Curve is hard at the bottom of the movement and gets easier as you near the top lock out position.

Essentially, a Good Morning is a Deadlift with the bar on your back rather in your hands.

Torque

As you bend forward with a Good Morning, the bar loading (weight) dramatically increases beyond the true weight on the bar.

That because the weight is farther from the body’s “Center of Gravity, COG”.

McLaughlin’s Research
(PhD Exercise Biomechanics/former Powerlifter)

McLaughlin examined an 800 lb missed Deadlift analysis of Jon Kuc’s 800 lb Deadlift years ago.

Kuc allowed the bar to drift a few inches out in front of him. McLaughlin’s finding was that in doing so, it increased the bar loading to around 1600 lb of force that Kuc would have needed to complete the Deadlift.

Good Morning Exercise Variety

There are a variety of ways to perform Good Mornings.

  1. Partial Rack Good Mornings

  2. Narrow Stance Good Mornings

  3. Wide Stance Good Mornings.

  4. Bent Knee that is similar to a Conventional Deadlift when breaking the weight off the floor.

  5. Stiff Leg Good Mornings (slight break in knees) simulates a Stiff Leg Deadlift.

  6. Plate Under Toes, this shift the load more to the posterior chain.

Hip Hinge Back Raises

I am a huge advocate of the Hip Hinge Back Raise.

This is an excellent article/video on it…

Are All Hip Extensions Created Equal?
https://bretcontreras.com/are-all-hip-extension-exercises-created-equal/

Essentially, it is a Good Morning.

What is unique is that it allows you to shift the angle. In doing so, it changes the strength curve

Descending Strength Cure “Good Mornings”

A Hip Extension Back Raise performed on a 90 Degree Bench means the movement is easy at the bottom and hard at the top/lock out, Descending Strength Curve.

The 90 Degree Hip Extension Back Raise is an effective exercise for individual who have a issue finishing a Deadlift at the top.

Bell Shaped Curve Strength Curve

Exercises that fall into this category are easy at the beginning, hard in the middle and easy at the top of the movement.

45 Degree Hip Extension Back Raises fall into the Bell Shaped Curve Strength Curve.

45 Degree Hip Extension Back Raises increase strength for lifter in the knee area of the Deadlift.

Hip Placement

Hip position is he key to maximize Glue and Hamstring involvement on a Hip Hinge Back Raise exercise.

Contreras’ Hip Positioning Video

This demonstrates how position the hip on the bench to maximize the Glues and Hamstring.

Recovery Time

One of the issues with the Deadlift is that it can quickly and easily overtrain the lower back, as per McLaughlin. I agree.

What I found by with Heavy Good Mornings and Hip Extension Back Raises was…

  1. They increased my Deadlift.

  2. My lower back recovery time was faster with Heavy Good Morning and Hip Extension Back raises compared to Heavy Conventional Deadlifts as well as Heavy Deadlift Rack Pulls.

Kenny Croxdale


#13

FYI. Coan inherited osteoarthritis from his mother’s side. This was what degenerated his hips to a point of bone on bone contact. Of course squatting 1000 didn’t help much.


#14

You have basically confirmed what I had already concluded, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing something. Unfortunately I can’t do back raises because I train in my basement and have no room for machines.


#15

My stance is just slightly narrower than my power rack, I put plates inside the power rack so that they push against it and there is no sliding. Of course with a wider stance it won’t work though.


#16

That’s what I have been doing for the last two months and I haven’t seen any benefit. I think I will stick with RDLs and GMs and just do more sumo volume.


#17

You want sumo volume here goes:

Steve Scialpi’s routines from a while back:

  1. Use 35lb plates - start at 50% and add 5-10 lbs per week for 8 weeks. Perform 3 sets to failure with no belt. Then the next 3 weeks wear the belt and use the 45 plates and do triples or doubles with 85% week 1, 90% week 2, 95% week three. Take a week off and go to the meet.

  2. Use 35 lb plates - No belt - start at 50% and 8 sets of 5. Add weight each week and cycle this down over 8 weeks to 5 x 3. Then the next 3 weeks wear the belt and use the 45 plates and do triples or doubles with 85% week 1, 90% week 2, 95% week three. Take a week off and go to the meet.

I used method 1 a few times in the past and its fucking brutal. If I remember correctly my highest rep count was 42 on the frst week, first set. Proceed with caution. There is no assistance work except for pulldowns. After doing three sets to failure with 50% you will have nothing left. This gave me 40 lbs in one 12 week cycle.

Method 2 was used by Bettina Altizer to revive her deadlift after being stuck for a few years.

Be careful and cut squat volume down considerably if you do this.


#18

What I was thinking is something like 80% for 12 singles and then two or three sets of deficit pulls (I don’t have enough 35’s, my setup works fine) starting with sets of about 8, add 5-10 lbs. each week. And some barbell rows after, those seem to help a lot in terms of making my back strong.

What do you think about deadlifting for singles? I used to do more 5’s and 3’s but with 5’s on the last rep or two I always start with my hips too high, hard 3’s can cause the same thing. I have read some articles by Louie, Dave Tate, and Matt Gary talking about pulling for singles and the common theme is that by doing reps you add a stretch reflex which might make the following reps easier but will also cause you to use a different starting position. I figured to use that approach for my competition deadlift but still do other variation for reps. I have made some progress that way, but right not deadlift is the lift that seems to be giving me the most trouble.


#19

Right now I’m following a westside type conjugate so any deadlifting off the floor is singles with bands(both conventional and sumo approximtely 50/50). Reps are done with supplementary movements (Block pulls for reps, RDL’s, Stiff legs, etc.). I’ve done traditioal rep based deadlift training but my back burns out after 3 weeks of reps. So far I seem to recover better on a conjugate system.

If you have turned over all the training rocks and your deadlift is still not moving I would look at technique. You may have maxed out your current skill level.


#20

Just for the sake of convenience, I will link a video from a meet last year. 235kg/520lbs. Skip to 2:02:30:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He1fgVeqeII
My heaviest pull leading into that meet was 485, I pulled 540 before my meet in June but only managed 530 due to some stomach issues. I know that doesn’t look perfect, my hips are kind of far back and my back isn’t as vertical as I could be but if I set up much wider I just have no drive off the floor. But look at Dave Ricks, similar setup with shorter arms and he has pulled over 700

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAy3TnZDNC4

What that shows me is that I need to work on hip extension AKA hamstrings and glutes more than anything.