T Nation

Sumo Deadlift Form

I have recentally switched from deadlifting with a conventional stance to a sumo stance. And when I lift I seem to have good form off the floor but then the weight seems to ditch fowardand I start to “good morning up the weight”. Has this ever happened to anyone, and what were the things you did to correct it?

you have to keep a tight arch and pull back with the bar against your legs. If it drifts forward, your back will round, putting way too much stress on your lower back and not utilizing the power of your hamstrings and glutes.

yea, that’s what happened to me. You can read about it in my first deadlift ever post. I can’t actually offer any advice cause I’m still working on it myself. Personally I’m going to drop a little weight and focus on doing reps on Monday with good form.
Good luck and let me know if anything in particular helps you.


I’ve also recently switched from the conventional stance to sumo and I an suffering from intense tightness in my uppper back for a few days post workout.

I’ve also stopped doing sets of 5 and instead focus on doing 5 singles.

I was able to 3 sets of 5 singles with 375 day before yesterday with ease.

The upper back tightness is friggin killing me although I do know it’s not the bad kind of pain.

A few tips on sumo:

  1. Get your feet out wide, and angle your toes out a bit

  2. “Sit down” when you grab the bar. The bar should be pinned against your shins, and you should have to hang on to it to avoid overbalancing. It is hard to describe this. If you can, find someone who sumo’s well to have them show you.

  3. Get your hips low. Keeping them too high is a prime reason many people tend to wind up doing a good-morning when the lift.

  4. Push your hips forward as you stand up.

If your upper back is extremely tight after DLing, you might be unconciously shrugging the weight near the top of your pull.

Daren should I be pulling my shoulders back at the top of the lift or use the rounded upper back technique.

I’m not looking to compete right now just get stronger.

Don’t pull your shoulders back at the top. Believe me it does more harm than good. Just lock your legs and stand up straight maybe a little tiny bit of a lean back.

Thanks for the advice.

I’ve read about the rounded upper back method and I’ve used it but I was raised on the shoulders back lock out and it’s a hard habit to break.

Thanks for the tips guys. Another problem that I seem to have is when I set up to lift, I try to get real close to the bar (shin to bar) but when i do this at the top of my rep I start to fall backwards. Has anyone experanced this?

Will – Having your shins close to the bar is a good thing. An easy guide to determine if the bar is close enough is if your shins are raw at the end of your lifts. If they are not, pull the bar in closer grin.

Mule – Try to keep your shoulders neutral (ie–neither round them nor pull them back). It took me a while to break out of the shoulders-back style myself, but once I did my deadlifts improved.

Actually, shoulders-back can have a tendency to make you lean too far back, which nicely segues into Will’s question:

For the issue of falling backwards, it is probably due to leaning back with your upper body. During deads, your shoulders should be in line with your heels. Your hips should move forward/backward, but there should be a direct line vertically from your feet to your shoulders. The next time you do a deadlift, have a partner check your alignement at the top of your lift. If you are partnerless, try standing sideways to the mirror and check your form out yourself (this probably requires using lighter than usual weights). If your shoulders are behind your feet, you are leaning too far back, and thus will be off balance.


Will man I’m sorry for hijacking your thread but I’m working my sumo form as well and I couldn’t see starting a new thread.

Have you read the Precision Pulling article here at T-Nation?


I’ve got that printed out and I read it at least once a day.

I’m having the hardest time finding my groove.

I do 3 sets of 5 with my work weight (385 lbs) and I vary my lifting style from set to set with a set where I stay in the down position with a pause at the bottom, a set of touch and go’s with out bouncing, and a set of 5 singles where I set it down stand up then grip and rip.

Now my problem is that I’m finding my final set of singles to be the easiest set.

It’s taking me all three sets to find my groove.

But this all stems from doing the conventional grip deads since I started training in high school.

Now the biggest question is why do I do this to myself?

I’m not a powerlifter, I’m nearly 30 years old, and my two favorite lifts are max effort deads and standing overhead presses.

I’m sick.

Now I’m going to go back and reread this whole thread and see if I missed anything that might help me.

I also focused on staying in a more neutral position with my upper back and I feel 100% better.

Thanks for all the help men.