T Nation

How Do You Pull? (Sumo or Conventional)


I'm new to powerlifting and so far I've been experimenting between conventional stance and sumo stance. But I have a hard time deciding what is right for me.

My conventional is stronger at the moment, however I have to travel much farther. Sumo is weaker probably due to getting the form down correctly and the fact that my legs are probably a weak-point.

The thing is I've had several very good deadlifters tell me that sumo is the way to go if you wanna be the best you can be for deadlift. (And vice versa)

What do the experienced competing lifters recommend as far as stance? Also, maybe people could post their best deadlift and their stance. I'm curious to see what the replies will be.

Any help would be appreciated!

Also, I would be competing in a single-ply fed, FYI.


It really depends on your goals. If I was in your shoes I would pull conventional, since your stronger pulling it. But, If sumo doesn't wreck your hips like it does for me, I would work both. Warm up using sumo, focusing on form up until it gets heavy, then crank away with conventional.


It's different for everyone. Generally the heavier guys pull conventional. The biggest deadlifts are conventional. Do what you can do the most weight with.


I prefer conventional for the ability to grind through with pure strength.

If you're just a little bit off on form when you get into heavier weights for sumo it can be hard to even break the ground.

At least it is for me.

I do both but only max on conventional.


I pull sumo because an old injury doesn't let me pull conventional. I pull more now with sumo (585) than I ever did conventional (565). It took some time to get the technique down but I feel that I have greater potential this way anyhow.


I pull sumo simply because my conventional is horrific.

My best so far is 413 @165 in June '09 (hopefully better now).

When I switched over my stance wasn't wide at all due to a lack of flexibility. It's still not that wide but it is slowly moving out.


Sumo is more hips and legs.

Hence women seem to really benefit from sumo.

I cant pull sumo as heavy because my back is my strongest asset, and my legs are a bit weaker than they should be compared to my other lifts.

I do believe the more heavily geared you compete the more youll likely benefit from sumo.


Thanks for the reply, our sumo stance widths look about the same (assuming thats an eleiko bar).

I've been told my conventional form is pretty good, so I'll give it a try for now. My sumo seems to be right near my squat numbers at the moment, anything more and it is hard to budge off the floor without muscling it up with my back.


I do a mix of the two, or a "hybrid" stance. My legs are fairly close together, but I pull with my arms inbetween my legs. It's effin cool.


You should post a vid in your log, if you dont mind of course, haha.



I pull/train with sumo to save my back (old injury) but test my max with conventional. Every time my sumo goes up, my conventional DL goes up. So does my squat.


I pull sumo. There's about 20lbs difference between my raw sumo and raw conventional in sumos favour, but to be honest I think they'd be the same if I spent more time doing conventional deadlifts. My hips get destroyed with max effort raw sumo.
But then if I put on my suit my hips are fine and I comfortably pull 100lbs more. That's why I pull sumo!
Best raw: 551lbs
Best Equipped: 661lbs


up until recently i would pull all of my warmup sets sumo and then when i got around 80% i would switch to conv because i was a better grinder with conventional. however, recently, my sumo has been feeling really keyed in and stronger. the most i had puilled up until two weeks ago was 365 sumo and 475 conv. but last night i pulled 365 against purple bands sumo and couldnt do it conventionally. on my next dl test day im going to pull sumo and see what kind of numbers i get.

honestly, i think i should be better pulling sumo as my hips get focused on more when i squat as i squat ultra wide and really use my hips in the hole. i may just be making all of this up and it may just be in my head but we shall see what the numbers say.


Yeah, a lot of people tend to forget that there are lots of options in between the two stances.

 I personally pull about the same in both positions, but I tend to mostly pull conventional now because I train almost exclusively raw (oops, I mean RAAAW), and don't like to put my hips in that position without some protection. Cause man, one little mistake in set-up and you can be in a world of pain (in my experience).

 Also, in terms of competition, if you can pull the same, I would definitely pull conventional. That way you don't have to worry about missing a lift due to a technical issue.

 That being said, some people find it beneficial to train both, as they target different musculature and, in turn, build each other. The power is yours.


I like conventional.


Wow! You really get a lot out of your suit, nice work.


sumo brah

i can really do either though.

best deadlift is 455x7 w/ sumo

i might go back to conventional just to see what the differences are.


i pull hard and fast. o yeh and i pull conventional with my feet turned slightly out heels about 4-6 inches aways from each other mostly sitff legged with a rounded up back and hands on the closest part of the knurling. ITS AWESOME you can really play aroudn with your stance so many options not just sumo or conv.


I pull sumo. My long legs get tangled up when I do conventional, and I end up stiff-legging it. Plus I can use a squat suit when I pull and get about 50-60lbs out of it.