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Deficit Sumo for Strength Off the Floor

Was wondering some things about deficit sumo deadlifts for my upcoming volume block.

So some more info first:

I miss at or just off the floor. So am thinking deficits would be good for the next volume block.

My first comp in a couple of months is going to be with a deadlift bar.

I’ve done some deficit sumo pulls as my main lift in my previous block but that was with a stiff bar. It was good work but carryover to the comp (deadlift bar) pull didn’t translate until a few weeks into my strength block where comp sumo pull was the main lift and that time was mostly learning to pull off comp conditions again. This is my only gripe with it (also set up is a bit awkward)

So I understand deficits are one good way to work at my weak areas and the extra ROM/work will be handy for my volume block but given my comp pull is clicking well right now I’d hate to have to go through the process of relearning it again.

So should I implement deficits and how should I to best maintain comp technique? Like a small deficit + deadlift bar or higher deficit or stiff bar or some combination thereof?


Use your experience to make decisions. If deficits didn’t carry over for you then unless something significant has changed that will probably still be the case.

You might find something like keeping more sumo deadlifting in this cycle keeps things ticking along or you might find a different variant with the same idea (eg snatch grip sumos) pays off better.

Don’t be afraid of taking a few steps back to take a big jump forward. If the cost of a big PR on the stage is 2 weeks readjusting to a lift then that is time well spent.

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What I would do is deficit deadlifts with a deadlift bar and a small deficit, no more than 2 inches and closer to 1 if possible, and either do deficit deadlifts right after comp. sumo deadlifts or on a second day.

If I’m not mistaken, you haven’t been training seriously for very long so I can see why you could have problems not doing the comp. lift for a while and the deadlift bar can throw you off if you aren’t used to it. At the very least you could work up to one work set from the floor and then do the rest from a deficit. If you’re not going to use a stiff bar in competition then I don’t see how using one in training is going to be any advantage.


They did carryover just needed the few weeks re grooving with the comp set up to realise those gains.

I’m gonna try out a couple of different assistance lifts on Friday so I guess I’ll add snatch grip sumos to that. I looked up a vid right after you mentioned it from candito who was talking about how the lift was closer to a sumo in terms of hip height and joint angles than a deficit but still extends the ROM and loads the back more with a less vertical back angle. Sound about right?

Thanks for reminding me to think long term also. Doesn’t matter if I’m weaker in the short term if it means stronger in the future

I’ll try out a small deficit and the deadlift bar on Friday and see how it goes and then I’ll have more information to decide whether to have a bit of comp sumo too.

Not sure how I’m gonna set up a small deficit. Might be some rubber mats in the gym somewhere. Boxes are no bueno and using smaller plates will probably be too big a deficit too. Will have a look around

I typically have a low sticking point as well (<4" off the floor). I train exclusively with a stiff bar as I do not have access to a deadlift bar.
In competition, the deadlift bar just flies off the floor for me. For me, training on a stiff bar seems to eliminate the weakness off the floor when moving over to the deadlift bar.

I’ve never performed sumo deficits (I’ve done some conventional deficits), so I don’t have much to add there. I also can’t see your vids right now since I’m at work but here are my general suggestions.

Just a +1 here for training with the stiff bar. Really coil yourself up before that pull, and try to go from pulling the slack out to 100% as quickly as you can without compromising form. Also, don’t neglect upper back strength. Often when I failed at the bottom, it seemed to be due to my upper back losing the fight.


Btw beware of plates sliding to the side.

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I agree with the use of stuff bar of deficits. If comp will be deadlift bar, making the lift slightly harder with stuff bar and deficit will most likely have better carryover. You can also manage fatigue a little better cause load should be a little lower than dead lift bar.

Also consider paused deads below knee or right off the floor same principle applies it’s harder, loads are lower and you spend more time in the bottom of the lift. Not saying ones better than the other maybe you can find the variation that works best for you.

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To maintain technique, pull comp style once every week or two. “Heavy” enough to count, but not heavy enough to mess up your volumes. Maybe a set of 5 or 2 triples between 80-87%. Just enough to Practice how you play. “Feel” how the other work you do is effecting your for real deadlift.

Make your “other work” strenuous and difficult. Like use the stiff bar for defecits. If it works, you’ll know when you do regular deads. If it sucks, you’ll know that too. I agree with Chris about doing these 2nd, or on a 2nd day.

Also you might try stiff legged sumos, for hamstring and back off the floor. Defecits seem to be more for leg drive. You’re already obsessed with quads, maybe some hams could be useful.

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Forgive my ignorance, in a meet can you pull sumo or does it have to be conventional?

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Sumo or conventional is fair game. You can even pull sumo on one attempt and conventional on your next.
Your ignorance is most certainly forgiven.


Sumo is good in powerlifting

If you ever want to get into strong man remember it’s conventional only.

I never thought I’d have a desire to do anything other then try and build big muscles… after joining this forum I’m tempted to find a meet one day.

Same here! Started a training log just to keep myself accountable, and here I am looking for my third powerlifting meet.

I think if you tend to be able to break the weight off the floor but miss at some just off, there’s a good chance it’s more positioning/technique related. Not being able to break the floor could be technique or raw strength.

For sumo technique practice, especially for guys that aren’t at an advanced level, I think it’s probably safe to practice multiple singles at 90%+, being extremely anal about your form and cues. Sumo is generally less taxing, so you should be able to recover from this well enough, just make sure you’re able to keep your low back locked in on all reps.

Disclaimer: this is just an “off the top of my head” suggestion from a guy who abandoned sumo a long time ago…

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Yeah if you get the bug man it’s hard to shake. There’s nothing wrong with just lifting to be in shape and look better. That’s why I first started lifting and decided to do something with it, especially when I realized I’m hideously ugly. So looking good out of the picture…

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I do deficit pulls standing on plates, 45lb York plates are 1.25" thick. I know you’re on the other side of the planet so maybe they don’t have similar plates over there. The only thing is the plates can slide, I set them inside a power rack and they are against the part of the rack that rests on the floor. If you can’t set it up without the chance of sliding then don’t do it, you could tear adductors and more.

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The problem with that sort of thinking is that a deadlift bar doesn’t automatically make deadlifting easier, when I first started using one my deadlift was significantly down and there are other guys who pull a lot more than me and don’t find the DL bar to be any advantage. I don’t know if it has to do with pulling out the slack or leg vs. back strength, but some people pull way more on a DL bar while others don’t.

Deficit sumo seems like it’s a significantly harder on your back, you can’t push your knees further forward like if you pull conventional because that just doesn’t work for sumo.

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I agree to a degree I always had issue pulling with a deadlift bar. Part of my issue early on was not pulling the slack out before I lifted cause a pretty wicked bounce. Much like we see with the elephant bar in strong man. However for me it was purely user error and have pulled better since learning the bar. It does decrease the rom when you have the slack pulled out. I’ve heard ppl say around 500 is the magic number to really get the benefit but the one I used started a significant bend around mid 400’s.

My point in the post was to make a lift harder to perform to help limit fatigue. It may not be the right variation for him but I’m just shooting ideas out. I know guys that swear by paused off the floor deads. I’ve use them in a few blocks before but felt like the low back strain was a little high. Anyways to each his own.

2ct Pause Sumo has been good for me this strength block. I’m thinking it’s less useful in a volume block and also I want to try out a different variation for a block so pause deadlift doesn’t get stale or adaptive resistance or something and then after that block when it’s fresh again do it all the way to the meet