T Nation

Deadlift Stance and Optimal Strength for the Natural


#1

Hey Coach,
I just wanted to ask your opinion regarding deadlift stance. I’ve only ever done traditional narrow stance. As of late watching a lot of people including yourself using a sumo stance in videos i thought i would give it a try. I enjoyed it, it feels a lot smoother on my back and less ROM. What are the pros and cons to each stance?
I’m halfway through your “Optimal strength training for the natural” program and i can’t pull anywhere near the same weight using a sumo stance but it feels better on my back. Should i finish the program on standard stance or cut my losses for future investment and switch stance ?

Regarding the program i am doing - I added in a military press strength day, in doing this i cut all additional hypertrophy exercises to 3 with the one out all effort set “best damn style”, 6/8 to failure for the first phase, tempo contrast for the seconds phase (currently) and double rest/pause for the final phase three. The set up is:
Squat Strength - Barbell RDL, Pull Up, Preacher Curl
Bench Strength - INC Db Press, DB Lat Raises, Tricep Dip
Deadlift Strength - Front Squat, Chest Supp Row, Ez Bar Curl,
Military Strength - Rear Delt Flies, DB Chest Flies and Ez Bar Skull Crunch
So i’ve tried to incorporate a “best damn” style in with the strength phase, so a legs, back and biceps one day and a shoulder, chest and triceps another. I’ve found two problems with this that i need your help with.
1- The original program states a 3 days on 1 day off continual cycle. With my added military press day, i’ve been doing a 4 on 1 of cycle and struggling, by day 4 i’m fatigued ? (I am in a calorie surplus and dropped a lot of added hypertrophy exercises to compensate for the added strength day)
2- The added day essentially takes away the skill strength aspect of frequency ? If i was to swap to a 2 on 1 of 2 on i still have the same problem of the skill strength but might help the fatigue ?
3- Should i maybe look at doing the two lower and two upper strength phases on the same day to get the skill strength ? 2 on 1 off cycle ?

Massive i know :slight_smile:

Thank you in advance CT.


#2

A properly done sumo does have a much shorter range of motion. The key is (and I’m gonna be vulgar for a minute) as soon as the bar reaches the knees thing “fuck the bar”… in other words try to bring your hips to the bar as soon as it reaches the needs. In other words it’s as if you were doing a hip thrust (squeezing your glutes to bring the hips forward). And you do not hyperextend your back… that REALLY shorthen the ROM and doesn’t involve the lower back as much. Which are the two advantages of the sumo.

The main issue with sumo is that it’s harder to get the bar moving off of the floor, you need strong quads and hips to do so as you can leverage it up with the lower back.

Keep practicing, you will get used to it and your strength will go up.

I would switch form and start with lighter weigths. You are not planning on competing so it doesn’t matter if you don’t peak the sumo at the end of the program.


#3

Of course, 4 neurologically demanding days in a row is too much and it has nothing to do with volume. So even if you remove assistance exercises (that have about zero negative impact on the CNS) you can’t compensate for 4 CNS days in a row.

You need to keep the original training/rest day ratio, even if that means completing a “week” of training in 8 or 9 days instead of 7… or add the military press (but no assistance exercise) to the bench press day.


#4

Maybe, but strength-skill is important. If you only do all-out efforts you will hit the wall sooner.


#5

As I mention, only if you just add the main lift of the 2nd day to the 1st day otherwise its too much work for one day.

Honestly the simplest answer is to extend the “week” over 8 or 9 days if you want to add one day. That way you can better rest the rest/work ratio


#6

Sorry to hijack Coach, I was just wondering, during all-out efforts, either conventional or sumo, I struggle at the end. I guess it’s then weak glutes/hams?


#7

I’m in no rush etc so extending the weeks over the 9 days is fine to me.
Would you program the 9 days as lower day(squat), upper day(bench), REST DAY, lower day(deadlift), upper day(military press) ?


#8

This would be an awesome day in the gym, quick, not exactly demanding but then I have no added hypertrophy exercise for chest shoulders and triceps ? Or are these two lifts enough to compensate ?

Would you recommend dropping the military press day, and adding an additional shoulder hypertrophy exercise ? That gets me back to original training split?


#9

I will switch stances next deadlift day! Thanks for all your help Coach.


#10

Weak glutes or failure to use them properly. As soon as the bar passes the knees you should push your hip forward (imagine trying to do it doggy style with the bar), a bit like a hip thrust. This is easier with a sumo stance


#11

yes exactly… you can even have a rest day between dead and press


#12

Perfect ! That sounds great to me !
Thanks again for all your help. :smile:


#13

I started deadlifting conventional, and then switched to sumo after a couple of years. It takes a while to get past the learning curve, and i was far weaker with sumo in the beginning. However, after about 4 months of training sumo exclusively, i was far stronger with this variation. Id say im approx 65-75 pounds stronger with sumo than conventional, in terms of 1rm.

It all comes down to body type IMO. A shorter stalkier person tends to be better fit for sumo deadlifts, whereas a taller longer limb length individual is usually genetically more fit for conventional.

Good luck

Oh and last but not least, if you do decide to train sumo extensively, KEEP YOUR GROIN AND HIPS LOOSE. Sumos wreak havoc on your groin and hip muscles, and if you dont take necessary steps to correct their over tightening as your sumo training progresses, you will most likely result in an injury.


#14

Oh fuck i didnt realise the intention of this sub category was for that coach guy to give advice. Sorry guys. Delete post if needed


#15

Dude I welcome any people who offer good advice, no worries


#16

Yes thank you for the reply! I incorporate sumo from times to times but I am a longer limbs dude :slight_smile:
At first I hated it, felt like a weird giant frog, but now I enjoy it :slight_smile:
Still stronger of around 45+ on conventional.

And your last point is a very good advice, it’s part of my routine to stretch/loosen hams, glutes and hips (ACL surgery on both knees) so I have very good flexibility!

I’ll just keep working on humping the bar, I tend not to do it as much on max efforts :slight_smile: