T Nation

Sumo Deadlifting


I can't deadlift with a conventional stance. Simply can't do it . The stance isn't comfortable, natural, or efficient for me in any way. I'm not sure if i have poor biomechanics, or if i have down syndrome, I simply can't do it. My form goes to shit after i pick up anything more than 150 pounds, and even then its extremely awkward for me to pull. Back rounding, multiple sticking points (even with such a light weight), the works.

So after doing rows tonight I was going to spend a few minutes working on my deadlift form, trying to figure out why I sucked so bad at it (I've been doing this for a few weeks, trying to fix my form) After a few minutes of getting frustrated I decided to move each foot not even 6 inches towards the outside, and boom my form was perfect and the weight flew up.

I was really surprised that such a simple change in stance could make everything just click like that, so I decided to throw on more weight on a whim and I EASILY broke my best deadlift and pulled 315 like it was nothing (not to brag i know its not much, just emphasising how much easier/more natural a slightly wider stance is for me)

My main focus in lifting is to get faster and stronger, I want to run fast, jump high, and hit hard. Those are the only reasons I lift. I want to be able to sprint very well, just because it would make me feel better about myself.

My question here is whether or not sumo deadlifting helps strengthen the running/jumping muscles as well as conventional deadlifting. I was wondering if I would see good speed gains by using a sumo stance, and if it would matter if I primarily used that stance. Of course I'd work on trying to fix my conventional form since its nice to be able to do both.


I would recommend GHR, sled sprinting, and speed sets for sprinting. Or you could find a slightly inclined road and sprint up that. In my opinion split jerks work really well in getting more explosive hips and faster footwork, just make sure you can do them right.

First off I would ask Cressey about this, but to me it sounds like you have poor hip flexibility and you lower back is the weak link in your posterior chain.

In my opinion, sumo's don't hit the hammies as well as conventional. I always feel them in my adductors. If you want to jump higher, get explosiveness in your quads. Tuck-jumps (weighted or BW) and just jumping on high plyo boxes worked well for me.

Ask some of the professionals here, it's extremely good advice for free. They could answer it better than we can. There was an article about 2 days ago that adressed a lot of speed/athletic work and drills, called 50 More Tips. I thought it was a very good read.


I agree that sumo pulls smash the hell out your hips, but sumo style pulls hit the hammies more than conventional. If you feel like they don't then you are probably lifting off your toes, or you strait leg your conventional pulls.


Well I have had Mark Rippetoe look at my conventional DL and he said he couldn't find anything wrong with it, I think I just have really weak adductors so they give out way before my hamstrings when I pull sumo.

But I will be sure to have my work out buddy look at my feet next time I pull sumo to see if this is the case.


If my goal was to increase sprinting speed/jumping ability, would sumo dead lifts be sufficient? Opposed to conventional.