T Nation

Deadlift Training with Both Styles


I'm getting back to my regular training and my deadlift needs the most work out of all lifts.

I trained my dead conventional for my peak for my last meet it felt weak and slow because it feels like my technique completely gives out when the weight gets heavy. I ended up hitting a PR at the meet, but that also felt weak and slow.

The meet before that I trained my deadlift sumo for 8 months and pulled conventional at the meet which felt really good.

Experts have told me my conventional is better than my sumo and that I'm better off pulling conventional.

The biggest problem for my conventional is that my hips go up too fast and I go hunchback over 95%.

I now have the choice between training sumo and steadily bringing up my numbers(which, as I've experienced before, has a strong carryover to my conventional) or training my conventional and steadily bringing up my technique. You have to do the things you're weak at to get stronger right?

What would be the best course of action here? Am I wrong in thinking that sumo has more carryover to conventional? What would be the most effective way to program both styles?

I am leaning towards training sumo as my main deadlift movement, while keeping conventional deads as lighter assistance and volume work to program the correct movement pattern.


For competition purposes I am a sumo puller, but I train both in about equal amounts. Whenever I have hit my best numbers sumo it was preceded by a cycle of conv and stiff leg work. I would have to say conventional carries over to sumo better, assuming your technique is on equal levels for both lifts.

I don’t see the point in neglecting one because you are good at another, what is the discrepancy in weight between the two lifts?
As how you should proceed thats a tough question without knowing more of your training history etc

Whenever I’m trying to build up to a heavy 1 rep DL in a training cycle the first portion of it I get as much as I can out of the variations such as: block pulls, no belt conv, dimmel DL and stiff leg. I can go months not pulling sumo and go back to it and hit good numbers this way


Train both, and add in snatch grip DL too. Sumo helped my conventional lockout hugely, and a bit off the floor too. Snatch grip might well help the high hips and it’ll hammer some strength into your upper back too.


Train both. Use one as a main exercise use the other as an assistance exercise. I am a conventional puller, and sumo personally doesn’t do shit for my conventional pull, but it has always been a good indicator of my squat strength; if my sumo goes up you can bet your ass my squat went up, and if my squat went up… yep my sumo deadlift went up.

Being stronger also never hurts, getting stronger at pulling in general will make you a better puller. Also a lot of sumo deadlifters seem to love the conventional deadlift as a ME exercise/assistance work, and having a stronger back and hamstrings can NEVER be a problem in powerlifting, strongman, or whatever sport you are lifting for.


I agree with what’s already been said. It’s not like you’re deadlifting at a particularly high level using either style, so I don’t see a reason to specialize in one or the other at this point. Keep working on both. Just because your conventional is better, according to ‘experts’, right now, doesn’t mean this will be the case as your lifting career progresses. I will say, it’s a tad disconcerting that on the one hand, you say your conventional looks better, and yet you also say you ‘hunchback over 95%’.