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Sumo vs Conventional DL For Back Development

to start off , i need a lot more back thickness. I know conventional deadlift is the bread and butter of all exercises , but i prefer to pull sumo. Will this make a difference in my back development or will my back lag? Should i just give way and pull conventional? Let me know your opinions!

Do rows. Deadlift anyway you want if chasing numbers keeps you motivated. Your back won’t lag even without doing deadlifts. Don’t believe everything you read.


Heavy Cleans
Heavy DB rows
Heavy BB Rows
Heavy Pendlay Rows

Have done more for my back than anything else.

And like @dt79 your back can grow without deadlifts. If I wasn’t such a number chaser I would do RDLs and do all the above exercises. But I workout at a 24 that’s only hexagon plates. It’s the worst to DL with those lol.

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To be honest some will say that Deads are more of a Tester than a actual builder.

Like the others said, rows will add thickness. Both high-rep, epic muscle burning rows and low-rep, high weight will help. I also suggest weighted pullups or pulldowns, too.

The deadlft variety that works my back the most is deficit, wide-grip deadlifts. I use only 25-pound plates, hold the bar with my pointer finger on the outer rings (or even wider), and lock my shoulders back. It fires my traps, lats, and upper-muddle back very well. Of course, I have to use lighter weight to accommodate the deeper bend.

I think that’s true if we’re talking about the back as a whole. I would never suggest deadlifts as an upper back/ lat builder. But for certain things, I do think my deadlifting has played a big role in how I look, specifically my lower back, and probably traps. I would also say that those things aren’t necessarily built so much by very heavy deadlifting as they are from slightly higher rep deadlifting. The lower back pump from a set of 10 reasonably heavy deadlifts can be pretty unreal.

For the back in general, I’ve found that there’s a whole lot of stuff that can work. I’ve seen great backs built primarily by pull ups. I’ve seen awesome backs on guys who basically do nothing but rows (any kind). Heavy carries can build an impressive back. Atlas stones are a back builder. It’s crazy how many things can work. A guy in another thread was asking about pendlay rows vs ‘regular’ barbell rows, and I suggested that at the end of the day they’ll both work, and the differences are minimal.

My back has been built primarily by doing pull ups, and not even using any sort of progression. I’ve been doing 5 sets of 10, with no added weight, for years. I couldn’t tell you the last time I did barbell rows… it’s been years. I do like dumbbell rows. I just add the pull ups on to the end of a couple or 3 lifting sessions a week, and that seems to work well for me. Granted, I also do the strongman stuff, and that has taken it to the next level, but I already had a strong back before I started strongman.

The only thing I can think of that really doesn’t work the back effectively is very low volume. Sets of 1-5 rows are not going to cut it for back work.

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Nice post ! I was just pointing out what how some might view it. ( old Louie Simmons comes to mind) My opinion on it varies and Im way too unmotivated as of late to write up anything of value at the moment.

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hahaha yea i assumed we were on the same page. And yea, although I don’t know a whole lot about westside training, from what I’ve read, they really de-emphasize training the deadlift for the most part, right? I think I remember reading something from Tate suggesting that he pretty much did zero deadlifting while he was training westside outside of actual meets. I could be wrong.

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Cant say what they do now … I know they relied on Good mornings , various rack pulls and speed pulls. Plus a shit ton of reverse hypers. ( I will have to ask my one buddy who was there for conformation…so take it with a grain of salt)

actually yeah pretty much… LOL

So basically you do 150 reps of pull-ups a week. On top of all the strongman you do. And you’ve been doing this for years.

Of course your back gonna be strong/big as hell! :slight_smile:

Have you ever gotten cranky elbows from doing that many pull-ups for so many years?

ill add, snatch grip deadlift a good variation to add in from time to time