T Nation

Sumo Deadlifting


I recently tried converting to sumo deadlifting but after a few sesssions my hips starting hurting. Are there any stretches or exercises I can do to remedy the hip pain?

If it helps, I've been pulling conventional for the past 2 years and realized my leverages (long torso) would better fit pulling sumo.


When I swapped I had the same problem. I did foam rolling for 20 minutes 2 times a day for about 4 weeks and now I don't get any pain.


I like to get in the sumo stance and slowly work my knees out and butt down. Or squats facing a wall, about 1-3" away. Another one is the knee-to-chest-foot-across-body stretch.

The best thing I ever did was get a pair of powerlifting briefs. Even the cheapest, legless briefs help alleviate stress. Especially if you deadlift every week.


With sumo, you have to be smarter about how you plan your squat and deadlift training. When are you squat and deadlift days? What training program are you using?


I'm not running any powerlifting template, just a makeshift program that I designed based on the limited equipment in my gym. I train legs every 5th day, it looks something like this:

Foam rolling+ dynamic stretching + mobillity work (hips, ankles and knees) + static stretching of the hip flexors only

A) Sumo deadlifts 4x4
B) Step ups (ramp up to a max set of 3 and do it for 3 sets)
C) Back extension with monster mini and dbs
D) Core work (palloff press, ab roller or hanging leg raises)

My current gym lacks a squat rack, so I decided to experiment with step ups as my only quad work ( an interesting article on stepups: www.overspeedtraining.com/legsart.htm ).


It's probably just that your hips are weak then. It'll take some time for their strength to catch up, so they don't hurt as much.


FWIW, you don't have to use a super-wide stance either... I literally can't get into DL position with an arched lower back using a conventional stance, but just having my knees out and thighs just outside of my grip does the trick.
Joint structure maybe... No idea.

Another thing... Personally, I progress a lot faster on Sumo's when pulling two or more times a week (something I could never do with a conventional dead or low bar back squat) and only doing 1-2 work sets per session...
One session may be ramped to a near max double or an actual max double or single (not every week, in that case... But maybe for 3 weeks and then go light and for reps the fourth), and one session where I go up to 70% or so only and do a few low rep sets at that... Or one rep-day...
Even if you train the rest of your body at a 1/week frequency you should easily be able to fit that in, such as at the beginning of back day etc.

Lots of combinations possible... If I do a bunch of very heavy sets in one session, I get hip pain too and my knees may start feeling odd... Both of which ruins my squat training then.

Take a look at Hungry4more's progress since he switched to sumo and began training in a similar fashion...

'course you may still have to give your hips a rest every now and again, but that shouldn't be much of an issue... Plenty of closer stance exercises you can do for 2 weeks or so before going back to your regular training.



When you pull semi-sumo, do you focus on pushing through the heel like a conventional deadlift or more on spread the floor like the sumo?


Oh, hey guys, I hope you don't mind if I take this on a slight tangent...

So recently, when I was sumo deadlifting (vid in BOI) I almost got the weight up, but right before lockout or so, the fingers of my "over" hand sort of caught on my thigh and my grip loosened. I have no problem with this conventional because my hands don't hit anything.

If you understand what I'm describing, any suggestions guys?


I don't think there is a real "fix" for this other than just ensuring you are gripping the hell out of the bar and making sure you are firing those hips forward. What's your hand placement/spacing like? (I guess I could probably look at the vid, huh?)


ANM: The fingers unrolling on the thighs is an unpleasant fact of pulling sumo. Like coolnatedawg says, just squeeze harder, and if you can increase your speed, that seems to help.

Mondy: Any hip flexor, glute, and abductor/adductor stretching will help. If you're near the edge of your flexibility just trying to get into the sumo starting position, you need to increase flexibility or move your feet in a couple of inches. If you have an abductor/adductor machine at your gym, I like to get in that with the weight on the full stack and move the leg pads out further than is comfortable and just let it stretch me out.


The vid doesn't really help much lol. I'd say my grip was about shoulder width apart. Eh, oh well, no sumo for me, sigh.

EDITE: Thanks nate and Pigeon (I didn't recognize that you were referring to me, acronyms, lol)! I probably should work on my grip some, with my tiny hands, that is a weak point. Thanks again!


Been lifting for about 10 years last autumn decided my mobility was good enough to do start trying sumo out, conventional leads to lower back rounding (as CC said earlier) - anyway was tough on the hips for me but after 2-3 weeks pulling each week,, they have stopped hurting. 1st couple of sets are a bit harder than the later ones though.