T Nation

Sumo vs Regular Deads


I currently pull more in the sumo deadlift vs regular deads, is this normal for most people? It's close in comparision sumo(345) regular(325). I am 6'3 and not very flexible so sumo feels better on my lower back.

Also which muscles are getting worked more in sumo vs regular deadlifts?


in sumo, because you're closer to the ground, you're using more of ur hips and glutes...whereas in a conventional dl, you're using more quad strength! i've pulled 405 conventional with straps, and 395 with sumo...you should work on both styles to see which suits you best!!


No its not normal for most people, because if it was, most people would pull sumo at PL meets (they don't).

But who cares what's normal for most people? If thats what youre strongest at, adopt it as your natural style...your other DL will go up by proxy, and you can switch over occasionally to the other style if you feel like changing things up for assistance or whatever...


That's normal.
Some people are better sumo, some are better conventional.

At most meets, you'll see significant number using each style. I would have guessed more people pull sumo but VTBall34 seems fairly sure that it is the other way.

Train both because they will each help build the other.


I am by no means an authority on the matter and my limited meet experience may be getting the better of me! But based on youtube, and videos posted here, there seem to be many more conventional...and hey, its called 'conventional' for a reason!


I used to think my sumo deads were around 90% of my regular deads which made sense when I could only do 630-650. Last time I sumo pulled I got 700 for 3. Following that 90% rule, it would put me around 860? Anyway, I have no idea what the correlation should be. Everyone is different. I still prefer real deadlifts over sumo though.

I agree with people pulling more often with a sumo stance... which pisses me off.


if i'm not mistaken, sumo was not always allowed, and very early on the heels had to be touching.




If it feels better on your lower back OP, I'd advise you to stick with it. PRETTY sure sumo deadlifting hasn't hindered my lower back development....


I can pull maybe 100 lbs. above with my sumo vs, my conventional. But then again I don't train my conventional at all. Just my 2 cents


Some people prefer conventional, some prefer sumo. Do the one you're strongest at.


I do about 30 pounds more with sumo but what ever feels better to anyone I would suggest training that primarily but mixing up your training cant hurt either


"Real deadlifts?" Really? Worry about yourself, someone else pulling sumo doesn't effect you at all and definetely shouldn't piss you off.

Anyway, my opinion is that most of the people that pull sumo aren't even built for the style or are just doing so to get more out of their gear. Sumo is better for guys with longer torsos and shorter limbs (basically, guys that are naturally better at squatting and benching and struggle more with conventional deadlifting) who probably won't ever be setting records in the deadlift solely because of their frame.

In my experience and from what I've read though, even if you plan to pull in a meet or for your heaviest attempts, you should still pull conventional a lot of the time in training. The consensus seems to be that conventional builds back strength and the whole posterior chain better than sumo does. So, if you were to only pull sumo in training or to focus on it more, your back would probably weaken as a result.

I'm built perfectly for sumo, and I pull conventional about 2/3 of the time and I've noticed that my sumo pull gets MUCH stronger when I go back to it, in comparison to when I'm pulling sumo the majority of the time. I even read a post on wannabebig where Dave Hoff said he pulls conventional almost exclusively, and only pulls sumo for his speed deadlifts to keep his sumo technique/strength up to par, and he always pulls sumo at meets and seems to be doing just fine.


I actually pull sumo because I feel it more on my back and traps. The feeling is almost like doing a rack pull, but from the floor. I do use my glutes and leg drive to initiate the pull though.


Don't know how that's really possible, when you pull sumo your back is far more upright throughought the entire lift and it's much more legs and hips. I understand the rack pull comment though, it makes sense because sumo has a shorter ROM just like a rack pull does.

A huge reason why conventional hits the back harder is because most people struggle at the lockout when pulling that way, while the sticking point for those who pull sumo is usually the initial pull off of the floor up to the knees. Sumo pullers typically never have much trouble with the lockout but with conventional, lots of people miss lifts because they can't lock them out. That's why I think it makes a lot more sense to do rack pulls conventional and deficit pulls sumo, as well as why I think bands/chains work better for conventional.

When you're pulling sumo, is your stance wide? Are you pointing your feet out to the sides (as opposed to straight forward) and getting your hips as close to the bar as possible? Also, are you pressing your feet out towards the sides and pushing your knees out? Those are all things that make the sumo pull more efficient and allow you to lift with your legs and hips instead of your back. There are two great articles about pulling sumo on EliteFTS by Brian Schwab and Marc Bartley that talk about it.


Here are some good sumo articles. All 4 are awesome, but especially the first two are really helpful. I've read them both many times.

Marc Bartley - Converting to Sumo Deadlifting: How I Made it Work for Me.


Brian Schwab - 10 Tips for Sumo Deadlifting


Chris Clark - Advanced Sumo Deadlift Training


EliteFTS Roundtable Discussion on Sumo



Actually my stance for sumo is not actually wide, just wide enough so that my arms are inside my legs at 90 degree to the bar and my feets pointing out. Its more like a conventional deadlift but with my arms inside my leg instead of outside. Somehow I feel this stance feel more natural to me. I tend to imagine my whole upper body (including my hip) at 45 degree angle to the ground when I pull.

btw thks for the read regarding sumo deadlift. It was a good read.


So, you pull modified sumo style then, similar to the way Ed Coan used to pull. Personally, I like my stance as wide as I can possibly get it while still keeping my knees in line with my ankles/feet. If you go any wider than that, you lose some of your strength.

I never really understood why anyone would pull modified sumo instead of full on sumo stance or just sticking with conventional. Modified worked for Ed Coan, but he had some kind of groin or hip injury later on in his career that left him unable to pull sumo.

I suspect the injury was the real reason he never was able to pull as much with conventional as he did with modified sumo. His best with modified was 901 lbs and his best conventional was somewhere in the upper 800's, maybe 875. I bet if he were injury free, he could've repeated or even surpassed his 901 lb deadlift with conventional.


Cheers for those Links to Sumo.



lol I didnt know its called modified sumo stance, but yea thats how I pulled, although I could only dream of pulling his poundages haha.

I pull modified sumo becos as I said before it felt more natural. Conventional always felt awkward for me eventhough my form is tight, didnt know why though. One day, I decided to just open my feet a little wider and put my arms inside since I happened to see a picture of a guy lifting up a car with that stance and then I thought "maybe thats how we are supposed heavy shit in real life?".