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Sumo Form Check

Im a conventional puller 98% of the time and have entertained a switch to sumo on multiple occasions. Ive switched over to pulling hook grip as well. Would love some feedback on how this looks, and any glaring weaknesses you may see. My best conventional pull is 237.5KG.


Hit a single at 240KG on sumo, here’s the video:

I feel like besting my conventional with sumo and not much practice with this style is leading me to believe i need to switch stances. Let me know your thoughts. thanks

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It’s worth a try at least. You’re a strong squatter so may as well use all that carryover to deadlift more.

Looks like a the start as you initiate your knees cave in a little. Loss of positioning in this way makes the movement less efficient overall and you’re losing them sumo benefits. Could be due to poor movement control so simply remembering to keep your knees out would be enough or maybe hip abductor strength which will come up with more time spent cheat pulling.

How does ur back look during the lift?

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I did notice that knee cave. I think its partly due to my squat being a closer stance. I have recently widened it out a bit though (only about 3 weeks running now).

My back feels rock solid throughout the movement. Ive always heard patience off the floor is key in sumo. Im so used to getting tight, pulling the slack and exerting as much force against the bar as I can in a conventional stance.

Its kinda specific strength to hold the knees out in the sumo start position. It’ll probably come with time and attention to it.

Next thing I’d look at is if your hips at at a good height at the start. Hard to tell from this angle (high-ish side-ish front-ish view would be nice) but general if you initiate and the hips shoot up or rise to a higher position and only then does the bar break the floor but hips bit too low.

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I know very little about sumo pulling.

My general thoughts are that if your conventional pull is moving along over months, there is no need to switch. Sumo is more technically demanding and also seems to have more capacity to cause chronic injuries to the knees and hips.

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This looks more like a sumo stance conventional. If you want to really get sumo down, I would drop the weight to something relatively easy and take a wider stance. you want to bring the weight along the inside flat portion of the calf /shin. Your shin should not be pointed directly at the bar. I liked paused deadlifts as low as to the floor as you can. Breaking the floor with only your legs. This helps teach technique. Lowering the bar along the side of the shins on the way down.


Thanks, that makes a lot of sense to me. Ill adjust my stance a bit and work some pauses. Sounds like that could remove that knee cave as well.

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@MarkKO not arguing, just wondering why you think this is? Referring to sumo tending to cause more knee and hip injuries in general

My understanding is that the bottom position and the force put through it place a significant degree of strain on the hips and/or knees. Wide stance squatting can do the same.

Typically, those who pull sumo without issues have a hip structure that gives them the ability to do so. You can, to an extent, mitigate the issue by improving mobility but only up to a point. You can also use a narrower stance, although that can reduce the advantages sumo provides.

My knees don’t deal well with sumo unless I wear briefs. My hips don’t seem to suffer without briefs, but that may be because the stress gets shifted to my knees.


I would agree!

I made the switch a few years ago when I discovered that my sumo was the same or a little stronger than my conventional. Unfortunately, it beat up my hips quite a bit, so I ran a bit more of a squat stance for while.

Anyway, no glaring weaknesses to me. Pulling a 1RM here, so the little bit of knee wobble is not unexpected. Looks like a clean pull to me.

If your knees or hips do start bothering you, I would recommend adding some banded accessory work for your lower body. My coach had us doing a lot of high rep banded hamstring curls as well as adductors/abductors and pullthroughs. It seemed to help


I’m not a sumo puller, but in my mind if you’re able to pull 2.5 kg more than your best conventional doing sumo with no practice you’d probably be better off sticking to conventional and just training sumo movement patterns. Work on mobility, try and wedge yourself into the bar and really work your positioning. 4-6 weeks out start adding in some ramping singles or doubles to grease the groove and compete sumo. Obviously others are much more knowledgeable than me on this, but just my .02.


Maybe ur knees weak brother

Quite possibly

That does make a lot of sense. Ive always heard pulling conventional can likely increase your sumo pull but not so much the other way around.

I believe Ed Coan used conventional pulling in normal training and started pulling sumo for prep a short time out from meets. It cant hurt to have both styles in the back as far as proficiency goes in my mind.

Kevin Oak does sumo a lot to build his conventional IIRC. Wouldn’t be surprised if there’s plenty of other lifters like that also. Both hip dominant lifts so makes sense enough

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If you pull more sumo with no practice then sumo is definitely stronger for you, for a lot of people it takes months just to catch up with their conventional when they first switch. The choice seems obvious to me.

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So i really have been using sumo as the primary stance for deadlift programming the past 2 months and have made some good strides in strength with it but as @guineapig pointed out, the top half of the lift looks a little funky. Ive got a couple vids ill post below for reference. The top half essentially “feels” off balance and Im not totally sure if its from prematurely locking the knees out before the hips. Its more noticeable on the 230KG set.


If your talking about the slight wobble at the top, turning your elbows in hard before you begin pulling will tighten your upper back and help with that. It may already be that you just need more time pulling sumo. I went from 620 conventional to 685 sumo in a few months and it took another few months to clean it up

Figured as much. Ive really only been dedicated to pulling sumo now for about 2.5 months so that makes sense. I already feel much stronger in this short time with sumo than i did with conventional so thats a plus.

Ill try that cue on the elbows next session.

I hear some people say that turning your toes out too much can make it harder to keep your balance, you could try turning them in a few degrees and see if that helps.

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