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First Time Pulling Sumo; Form Check

After nearly 4 years of training, I wanted to commit a training block to sumo and thought to post it up for comments.

It’s a weird lift for me, as all sets felt light then you add 30 lbs and boom, it’s heavy as shit.

I obviously need a lot of practice to find my groove and get my back tighter. I’m hoping that over the next several months I can work my weights up to match my conventional pulls. Also, it seems to work the outer quads and hips harder than conventional and less on hams and glutes. I don’t know if that’s accurate though.

I’m far from a sumo pulling expert but here’s my take on it, you’re starting too far behind the bar, get closer. You’re also starting with your shoulders too far forward. Finally you start the movement by lifting your hips whereas you want to wedge your hips forward and keep your chest up.

You basically turned it into a wide stance conventional deadlift which sumo is not.

Here’s someone who’s much better than me at describing it.

Welcome to the cheating club lol

You’ve been training longer than I have and lift more but FWIW my switch to sumo from exclusively conventional went quite well. When I got into Powerlifting my friend said Sumo was better than conventional so I did it. I started out with a few awkward reps of three plates. Couple of months later I’m repping my previous conventional PR.

I think sumo works the hip extensors the same and quads much more though it depends how you pull

I don’t know about using bands if it’s the first time pulling sumo. Like you said there’s a unique feel/timing with pulling sumo which gets exaggerated as we pull closer to 1RM. Bands change this up and make it harder to learn the movement.

I think the most important thing for you which I had trouble with initially as well is opening up at the hips. Without doing this well you’ll never be able to pull sumo properly and get the full advantages of the style. Just sumo alone wasn’t enough for me so i needed some extra hip mobility stuff.

@Vincepac1500 helped me out a bunch with sumo

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Hips start to high for arm length. Need back and chest more upright. Might be a hip mobility problem or just need practice.

Try sitting into that position as part of your warm up for 10-15 sec holds which should stretch out your hips more prior to lifting.

Trying to implement changes to my setup. Here’s a workset at 395 + 80 Chain

My first rep was off then I found my groove on the second and it felt great. What I found was that it has to do with where my weight is. On my second and third reps I could feel the weight through my heels due to a slight shift in my hips.

Went a bit heavier and can see more form breakdown. 425 + 80 lbs chain

Today felt much better than last week by a wide margin. Been watching the videos posted above and reading your comments and trying to implement changes.

My gut feel is that I’ll catch up to my conventional sooner rather than later as I develop lagging strength in my quads and get my form down.


Strong technique gains / 10… must be all the vids I linked.

IMO for technical development better off if you ditch the chains or bands or whatever the fuck else that you can stick on a barbell save plates and collars.

Keep putting in work with straight weight that’s heavy enough to challenge but not so heavy that reps slow down significantly and you do sumo’s version of grinding… so none of that max effort shit lel. I’d say start at some arbitrary weight like 4-5 plates that you feel good with but you gotta feel it out for yourself. Focus on rep quality for now instead of upping the load for better long term outcomes.

Consider high frequency sumo i.e. 3x per week which you’ll recover from easy enough if you take my advice on loading. Frequency is great for technique gains.

Looking forward to more updates on ur sumo.

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Also ban pulling off mats lol

Matts chains bands all part of programming even though switching to sumo. So kept with it.

I’ve been training west side since day 1.

Here the matts were under an inch so barefoot 1/2". I dont think they did a lot. Chains on pulls don’t add that much compared to chains on squats

I do think bands suck for New movements (as here) or for noobs cause they fuck up your groove. So I’ll not do them again till form improves.

The thing is that with sumo it’s almost always hardest to break the floor and the rest of the lift is easy if you don’t get out of position. There is no use in using accommodating resistance right now. You have to “think outside the box”, and that is a box that involves using only variations and no comp. lifts. Eventually you will probably figure out your technique the way you are going, it will just take a lot longer than if you were to spend enough time practicing the actual lift.

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