T Nation

Narrow Stance Sumo Advice


Hey guys, I've recently been playing around with my deadlift form and came across a pulling style the other day that felt really comfortable. My g/f called it a "Transitional" stance, but upon searching the interwebz, I can't find anything with that exact name. It is basically a narrow stance sumo, with my legs being just wide enough to comfortably put my arms inside my knees.

I never felt comfortable pulling traditional style deadlifts the proper way (thanks to Meat, I DID learn the proper way...thanks Meat!)....I am really tall (6'5) with long femurs and a long torso, fairly wide hips, and a fairly pronounced Anterior Pelvic Tilt, so I think this is probably the reason for discomfort.

Anyways I gave it a try the other day with light weight (275) for a couple sets and really liked it, and thought I would get any advice or tips from those of you here that have experience with this. Here is the video:

First set is Conventional Stance at 315
Second & third sets are narrow stance sumo at 275. I struggled a bit finding the right hand placement, which made some of the reps uglier than the others, but I think I'll like that style once I find the right place for my hands.

Any feedback is welcomed and much appreciated!


I believe you're talking about semi-sumo stance.


Could be....I haven't been around anyone that uses it, so I have never heard a term for it....but I kinda like Transitional....if noone has coined it, I'm going to market it and put out DVDs for it....maybe sell it to the Crossfitters


That resembles Ed Coans deadlifting style.


Why thank you!

hahaha j/k

Yeah, after gretiron mentioned that most people call it "semi-sumo" I went and did a search and it seems that the great Ed Coan did use this style. I'm excited to start developing it and see how much I can put on it. Proportionally, my DL was WAY lower than my bench and squat, so hopefully this will put on some big numbers. We shall see


What sort of warm-up do you do before you get on the bar?

With both styles it looks a little bit like your glutes aren't fully activating at the top of the movement and locking your hips out, is this to do with your height and the pelvic tilt you were talking about? Other than that your form is rock solid, you look capable of pulling huge weight dude, hope the semi-sumo stance works well for you!


Thanks man. I hope you're right!

I do believe you're right about the glutes. I don't know why, and I just realized it recently, but it appears my glutes are sleepy and don't fire properly. I've been focusing on correcting this the past month or so, and its helped, but I still have a long way to go.

I do think the glutes and the APT are related, though I'm not sure which one is the chicken and which one is the egg. I'm hoping that my other focused efforts to correct my APT (strengthening abs & hammies, loosening up hip flexors and lower back) will correct the glute issue, and vice versa, so that I get one huge feedback loop of awesomeness.


Ive never had a gf who even knew what a deadlift was, let alone names for uncommon variations haha. Keeper.


Good man, let us know if it works. If it helps, I've found that doing pelvic bridges (laying on your back and raising your hips off the floor) as part of my warm up really helps me concentrate on activating my glutes during the movement, as that's a problem I've had in the past.

Seeing a sports physio/masseur might also determine where the problem is! Considering the rest of your form though, you should be well placed to make a breakthrough any time.


you should just head up our way one weekend and we can figure it out Hoss.


I've been using this stance too. I'm a short guy like Ed Coan - it's cool to know he used it. I'm a crap lifter, but I figure sharing my thoughts can't hurt.

I like it over conventional because:
-Requires less flexibility
-Makes the bottom of range of motion easier (like sumo does)
-Safer on the low back (yes, all 3 of these are related)

I like it over sumo because:
-Better low back proprioception(sp?) - I can better feel if my low back is starting to round vs. with a wide sumo stance.
-I feel I engage my abs better.
-Less stress on the hips.
-I think in some ways it requires less flexibility than a full sumo DL too.

Also, I think it is advantageous that the stance is most similar to my squat stance.


This is my stance of choice as well. Stance just wide enough to where your arms brush the insides of your knees. I generally cycle between convention and this "semi sumo" stance ... but this is more comfortable for me as well. I have short legs, average arms, and a long torso.


It's called Modified Sumo.


hahaha....yeah, shes definitely a keeper. She is a certified PT (not one of the retarded ones), and is pretty strong and is getting started into PL'ing herself....

Yeah, I do the pelvic bridges as part of my activation work (with one leg up in the air to isolate the down side). Also do running-in-place-butt-kicks, side clams (I think that's what they're called), and Reverse Lunges. Foam rolling too.

I've been considering a sports physio but I really don't know of good ones, and don't like to just take a shot in the dark.

Thanks for the offer man! I finish up the V-Diet at the end of the month. I'll shoot you a PM and see when you guys would be available. You mostly do your accessory work on weekends though right? I don't want to impose on your all's schedule too much man.

I think this is what I like the most about it. It feels like I am pushing the weight up more with my quads, and finishing it up with my back & hammies. I haven't gotten into heavy weight with it yet, so the overall effect is still yet to be determined.


Thank you all for your thoughts on this. I just didn't know if I was completely off base with this or what. I'll be sure to report back on my progress once I start pulling heavy with it.



Only way to find out is to try it for yourself...if you like it, start rampin' up the weight. Worst that can happen is you end up not liking it, but you may have found something that works real well for you.


yeah you have a bit of a long spine and terrifying pelvic tilt. For tall fellas and long-spiners like you i tend to vary between heavier semi-sumo and lighter regular DL and cleans. For now i would use anyhitng that helps you keep a hard arch in your back [like semi sumo] when you pull heavy while you get those glutes moving and loosen those hammies up [i rarely say that, it sounds weird]. Some possible Rx's:

Warm up the DL with 8rx5s of DB romanian deadlift. semi straight legs, keep the knuckles sliding on the legs. get a massive stretch in the hammies at the bottom and then try and squeeze just your ass cheeks like you're in a prison shower.

Get your gf to PNF stretch your hammies and glutes after training [if you all train together (aww, romance)]. PNF has been the key to victory with you tight strung pelvis people for me.