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sumo squat/sumo deadlift

I did sumo squats and sumo deadlifts for the first time last night. I got the sumo squat form from dave draper’s site, where you use a dumbell on the floor in front of you and pick it up by the plates, like a sandwich.


After a while of alternating between the squats and deadlifts, I realized these exercised felt awfully similar (yeah, I’m slow). What was I doing wrong? I feel like I got a great workout, and am sore as hell, but I’m afraid I just did twice as many sets of squats as I planned.


I have no problem feeling the difference between more conventional squats and deadlifts–the sumo stance threw me off, tho. Any tips? Thanks.

I do feel the difference between the two. What I would do if I were you is NOT to alternate sets but concentrate on ONE or the other. Complete your sets of squats than move over to perform the deads. WATCH your form.

I think Dave Tate's site www.elitefts.com - might have a explanation on the form of each. Or have you searched on T-Mag, yet?

When I am performing Sumo Squats and am at the bottom position - I do resemble a sumo (NOT in girth....*smirk*) wrestler's "low stance" - feet out, knees bent - I could rest my elbows on my thighs comfortably in this position. If you REALLY think about it, the Dead is different.

Thanks for the help, Patricia. I’ll really focus next time. Not alternating should help.

Umm… What you describe as a sumo squat sounds much like a T-bar deadlift, and yes indeed, they are virtually identical to sumo deads. My question would be: Why do the “sumo” squats? Do you have some physical limitation?

brider: I am performing both sumo squats and deads in my 5x5 program. They are allowing me to lift heavier and creating alot of glute and ham work. Producing some nice results, too.

Dude, you did sumo deadlifts and sumo dumbell deadlifts. No wonder they felt the same! A squat involves a bar being on your back; “squat” is a misnomer for what you did with the dumbell.

Just my 2-cents, Zev hit the nail on the head, but in addition if you look at Westside’s workouts they rarely do deadlifting, because sumo/box squats train virtually the same muscles, ie. posterior chain.

so, for clarification–i’m relatively new to this–the action is different by whether the bar is on my shoulders, or the weight is below my waist? how come?


so now i’m standing in my office (co-workers are giving me funny looks) going through the motions of each, and for the life of me, i can’t get the deadlifts/squats to feel different in the sumo stance. when i do a conventional deadlift, i really focus on using my hamstrings/ass to pull me back up, but i can’t seem to do that with my feet apart. perhaps i should just to back to regular stance.

The Sumo Squat is done with a barbell resting across your shoulders, just like a conventional squat, but with a wider stance. You can find an awesome description of the sumo squat in Dave Tate’s article Squat 900 lbs. here at T-mag.

The Sumo Deadlift is the same thing as a conventional deadlift, only with a much wider stance. "Spread the floor" while deadlifting, just as Tate recommends with the squat.

Saying that Sumo Squats and Sumo Deads are the same movement, would be like saying conventional squats and conventional deads are similar; no, not really. Pulling from the floor, and squating with a barbell on your back are two completely different things.

Joel, if they truely are “completely different” why does westside not deadlift more than they do?

Westside trainers do perform deadlifts but not for dynamic effort leg days. Deadlifts are typically used for maximal effort purposes and for good reason. First, they are tremendously taxing on the body. Deadlifts cannot be performed year round without overtraining or having your progress stall. Second, form is lost in a set of deadlifts if performed continuously. I recall Tate saying when he was doing speed deadlifts he would do a rep then pause and set back up before doing another. Third, a dynamic box squat trains the muscles that are needed for both the squat and deadlift. While the deadlift does focus more on the upper and lower back, the reverse hyper extenesion and some upper back movements can make up for this.

They may both work the glutes and the hams, but the squat doesn’t train the back extensors, which is a HUGE part of the deadlift.

Thanks for you input, machine I think you summed up westside’s training pretty well, I have also read a great deal of Tate/Simmons/Zatorsiky(sp?). Joel, if squats powerlifting/westside style (which aren’t necessarily the same thing) are not hitting your “back extensors” (which is impossible) you are not sitting back enough.

I think its pretty obvious that the deadlift is 10xs more brutal on the back than then squat…if you want to think otherwise, you are deluded.

I agree with Joel that deadlifts will work the back extensors more than a sumo (box) squat. However, it certainly is not 10 times as much. Sitting back will activate the glutes and hams in the squat but the lower back still does a lot of the work.

How much one’s back is involved in the deadlift depends mainly on how they’re built. People with long lower legs, short femurs and short torso with long arms have an ideal build as they can deadlift pretty much without even bending over. When you bend down to grab the bar the further back your hips and ass are away from the bar the more your back is going to have to be involved in the movement. Ideally you’d want a straight line. The sumo style deadlift enables one to get their greatest source of power closer to the bar. Pavel Tsatsouline has a great build for deadlifting (no wonder he’s such a good deadlifter!) For those of you who’ve attended powerlifting meets it’s not at all uncommon to have skinny lanky guys blowing everyone else when it comes to the deadlift.

Okay I’m thinking over some of these posts. First of all, as I recall Dave Tate performs the deadlifts the way he does to specifically train for strength. To enable him to deadlift more weight for competition. Hence, Tate concentrates on the lifting phase of the dead rather than on the negative phase of the dead. By following his methods, Ko and I have increased our deads poundages.

And while both squats and deads are posterior chains exercises, one is completed with the bar setting across the traps/shoulder and the other by holding with your hands and "lifting" from the ground. One I'm using my hips/glutes/hams to "complete" the rep, while the other I'm using "back extensors" with the assistant help of glutes/hams.

Didn't Poliquin also write that the deadlift increases "functional and structural integrity" of the lower back? Can the same be said of the squat? I also KNOW that the dead has absolutely increased my squat poundages. Which is why I have for sometime now, performed deads right along with squats. They do compliment each other.