I’m a 88kg sub junior powerlifter with a deadlift max stuck at 215kg conventional. I’m 6 foot 1 and have 19.5 inch femurs (so quite long). I pulled sumo once before (about 9 months ago) and pulled 5kg above my max but with shit form. Both conventional and sumo setups don’t feel unstable/weird to me, but I feel like my conventional is progressing extremely slow.
Nobody is going to be able to confidently tell you if you should, or should not switch to sumo. People switch based on their comfort and ability with each of the lifts. I, for example, train mostly with conventional, yet pull sumo for PRs (and will do so in my upcoming PL meet). I find conventional builds more strength/size for me but I can display this strength better with sumo. I still do some sumo pulling in training to keep/perfect form.
Maybe if you post a video of your conventional and sumo lifts with a decent %1RM people can give you some tips/advice on your form to help you out.
It doesn’t have to be All or Nothing.
You can call yourself a “Conventional Deadlifter,” and still do a little work with your feet out.
Maybe doing some “back offs” or “accessory work” with a wider stance will build up your hips and get your conventional moving again.
That sounds like an obvious sign that sumo will work better for you, just imagine how much more you would pull with better technique.
If I was you I would try sumo for a couple of months and see how it goes and still pull conventional as an assistance lift, also to maintain technique in case you decide that sumo isn’t for you after all.
Try before you buy or switch lel. For powerlifting purposes IMO every lifter save those who are blatantly built well for conventional deadlifts should give sumo a decent go (I am bias towards sumo tho lel).
Training history and limb lengths are handy but it comes down to trying out sumo and seeing if it feels and looks (via footage) better than conventional at high intensities. Reps are easier with sumo so probably not a good idea to go off rep PRs at relatively low intensities. Just spend some time with sumo and get gud and then hit a few heavy singles and judge how it compares to conventional
Try both but the end game will be which one is more comfortable.
I have competed with both, and on paper I should be a sumo puller (open hips, short arms, wide squatter), but the conventional feels natural while the sumo feels forced. I now use the sumo as assistance mainly off blocks.
Do what comes natural. Do what moves the most weight. Pretty straight forward. Don’t over analyze it. Just keep putting in work.
Best to take around 365-385 based on your max and work one set of 5 every week until you start to own that weight with good technique. Throw in a heavy but smooth single every 4-6 weeks.
If you struggle off the floor, throw in a couple sets of appropriate weight at the end of a 5 rep workout to assist in your power off the floor. Do the same if you struggle with lockout.
Like others in the thread have mentioned I don’t think it should be an all or nothing thing–doing both is a great idea and a lot of strong lifters recommend this. On top of that, I have found that doing deadlift variation work in “segments” transfers over really well. This article does a good job of breaking it down:
Another thing, I have found that deadlifting a lot really just takes a toll on my overall recovery and it affects my entire training. Instead, doing variations and accessories has proven to help a ton.