T Nation

Sumo Deadlifts

hey all, i am sort of responding to a pm, thnks for the question jonathan about assistance for the sumo pull.

i think the main thing that will help one get the most out of a sumo style pull is to have the correct attitude about the lif itself, this will help more so than any specific exersise.

point is, most people think of a sumo pull ofas less of a back movement and more of a leg movement, so they tend to get into a deep squating stance and really focus on squeezing the hips , glutes hams extra, which im my opinion slows the start of the lift too much. conventioan wisdom is that sumo is hard to start , but tough to lockout, and vice versa for the conventional pull. form me the opposite is true. i explode out of the bottom of my sumo pulls but stall right at the knees on max attempts.

i think people need to get into the mind set that the have to really rip the bar off the ground, just like when they do conventional pulls. i think of it as a convntioal pull with a shorter range of motion, LOL. i keep my hips as high as i can and my back as upright and arched as possible. i belive it is harder to kepp the back upright when getting set up on a conventioan pull.

my coach at diablo sais the reason my sumo looks “very-clean” is that i have bionic hips, i dissagree. i feel my back is stronger than my hips as evidenced by my poor squating form.

as far a specific exercises, the best imho is one you probably do not have access to, whiche is v-bar deadlifts form a belt squat apparatus. get on a belt squat machine, but instead of hooking up to a belt, grab a v-bar attachment and hook it up to the cable, grab it and do sumo pulls with it. go up to heavy sets of 3-5 reps, bands for added contrast are of benifit. i will try to take a pic of me doing some of these my next trip out to diablo, ok?

also goodmorning squats would be a good one too.

A favorite setup of my training partner and myself:

We pull for 5-6 sets of 2 singles. One lift conventional, one sumo.

My training partner will pull sumo, then I pull sumo. He then pulls conventional, and I follow with same. We do this for 5-6 sets with a weight that might approach 80% on the last set or two.

It works great.

Also, rack pulls at about pin 3 height are good as well. This height really forces you to work alot of back. Good times.

Thanks a lot bros, Good shit here. Can’t wait for the pics. I’ll try alterning conventional/sumo pull.


I’m kind of a tall sumgun (6-4) with long limbs, so I tend to pull best conventional. That said, I have found watch-your-toes-jack-extra-wide sumos to help with initial floor seperation, so I train sumo more than I do conv. on the floor. (I do my rack pulls all conv. though.) The most improatant things for me have been: 1- to use my belly right- getting a good breath at the top and flexing abs, then quickly dropping to bar and pulling; 2- keeping the weight on my heels. Once the weight gets too far in front of me in sumo, it’s over.