T Nation

Sumo Stance or Conventional


Which way do ya'll find easier to pull? I'm trying to decide which kind I should focus more on, because I'm not a "stubby" guy, but I'm also not a super lanky guy. I'm more in the middle. Advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!



I'd say give each an equal chance. Try both, many different foot/hand placements. No one can tell you what will work best for you, that's a total feel for you. I know that sumo takes a stronger back than conventional. I have weaker legs so I've pulled conventional (trying to get them stronger) and am now so used to it, I use some sumo for training but am not comfortable enough to use it in competition. I am 5'9 and 230.


I do both styles. I have noticed that sumo tends to put more stress on my knees resulting in soreness. Maybe that can be attributed to the angled stance for sumo. Just an observation.


my best 3rm was conventional my best 1rm was sumo

I'm doing onventional now. I think its better to learn conventional first then learn sumo later


I have always felt more comfortable using a conventional stance, and find the sumo to be a very slow grind.

That being said, I'll do Sumo work as ME training in a Westside Template, and for occassional speed work (read: rarely).

NB: since i rarely use sumo, the last time i hit a 1RM it was approximately 85% of my Conventional max. So perhaps with some training and focus on form, my sumo could be larger than conventional, but whatever.


I generally pull conventional in competition but lately I've been pulling sumo due to my back giving me some trouble. What I think BMRSNR meant to say is that CONVENTIONAL, not sumo, takes a stronger back.

I have a very strong back, and my form isn't perfect, I can simply get more weight with conventional.

I think sumo's more technical, thus it doesn't appeal to my cavemanesque take on throwing around as much weight as possible, form be damned.


I find sumo to be much easier. Then again, I am 6'8" and fairly lanky. That might have something to do with it.



I'm a lanky 6'6" and sumo is way better. It's already been said, but you should do a cycle with each stance & see what happens. Regardless of which one you choose, you should use both stances in your workouts if you can. (I'm long limbed enough that there is hardly a difference between my conventional and Stiff-legged, so I just do sumo & SLDL and gave up on the conventionals.)


I'm 5'10" and 215. I started w/ Sumo and then switched to conventional. I've been getting new PR's for about 6 weeks now, then my back started to hurt and I went to sumo which negated the pain. So the other day I got a 405 easy sumo and tried a 455 PR. My previous was 435 sumo about 6 months ago and 440 conventional a couple weeks ago. 455 would not budge. I went down to 430 and it wouldn't budge either. I attributed this to, "hey some days are like that." Then I started thinking about it. I think if I had done a conventional lift I would have gotten it. My leverages must be better that way. But I wasn't thinking about which way to do it at the time. I'm anxious to test this theory. Maybe I learnt sumpthin.

Ooops already did. Need to do both sumo and conventional!


Thanks guys. I'll try focusing more on conventional. I tried both for about a week, just to see how it feels at first, and have come to the conclusion that conventional is best for me. I probably keep better form with conventional than sumo too. Thanks again for the help!:slight_smile:


I tend to think that stronger legs and hips with moderately strong back would benefit better with sumo and very strong lower back and hamstrings would benefit convenional. Of course it depends where your strengths and weakness are. I am 6'1" and am way stronger pulling conventional than sumo. maybe try using a modified sumo like Rickey Dale Crain or John Inzer uses


I'm a stubby 5'5" and I just recently found Sumo to be much easier (or at least the weight felt much lighter).

I also noticed the soreness in my right knee and I get a pain in the front of my hips.

I asked Eric Cressey about it and he said it was from the wider stance that I'm using with the Sumo pulls, and the wider stance I'm useing when box squatting.


I'm 6'1. When I started with conventional, even though my back never rounds because of my flexible hamstrings, I would use my lower back way too much (very little usage of the legs).

I then switched to sumo, and although I was a bit weaker in the beginning (and especially at the bottom of the lift), after 4 weeks of power cleans and dumbbell snatches in my program I'm pulling WAY more with sumo and with full speed. I power clean with conventional stance.

I'm able to utilize my legs, glutes, and posterior chain in general way more with sumo, but with conventional I use my lower back way too much.

My opinion is that if your lower back is getting so pumped to the point that you have to sit down and stretch it out, you're using your lower back too much. You'll also limit your poundages in the long run if you don't use your legs.