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Sumo vs Traditional Form Check



I am after some advice from some more experienced lifters, I have been playing with the sumo stance and feel much stronger..However, I could do with some form pointers as I think I could improve quite alot:

Sumo - 177.5kg x 4:

Traditional - 175kg x 4:

Look forward to some comments!


First off...get some chalk, if your gym allows it...

With your sumo, you're actually pulling your shins away from the bar on the way up...this is going to create issues especially when you go heavier, and it'll make the weight difficult to lock out because not only do you have to pull the bar back towards your body on the way up, your hips are placed even further from the bar, and that's where all your power is coming from in the lock-out.

Your shins should be RIGHT up against the bar, and the bar should literally be scraping up your shins on the way up.

When you set-up, don't think of it like a squat. Bring your shins up to the bar, force your knees out as much as you can, and focus on trying to get your hips as close to the bar as physically possible. Then you're going to lower your hips, squeeze your chest up and force your knees out as you pull up.

Here's a really good video from Team Wildiron explaining the sumo set-up:

With your conventional...don't roll the bar out like that. Set up properly before pulling. By the time you pulled your were hunched over instead of flattening your back and squeezing your chest up. It's very important that you don't let your chest drop because this will cause back rounding.

Rather then touch-and-go, take a second to reset between reps. Always push your chest up before pulling.


Thanks for the video and words SS, they were both really helpful - better get working on my flexibility and get those hips lower!

Thanks again.

*I should clarify that I don't normally use straps, I am nursing a biceps strain and they seem to help me train around that.


No problem, Adam! Sorry to hear about the bicep strain, I hope that all clears up for you soon.

And yeah, be sure to do your mobility drills and stretch those hips! :slightly_smiling:


If you keeping training to the words of Taylor Swift, you will become elite! I trained at a gym that played music like that and couldnt stand it. Got a ipod and my lifts actually went up. Its hard to catch a PR when Beyonce is playing.



That is my power music man, it has seen me through 6 cycles of 5/3/1...but seriously I know what you mean - I forgot my mp3, normally I have some hip-hop or rock blasting in my ears!


So today was my 1 day on 5/3/1, I tried to work on getting my hips closer to the bar - I felt stronger and this was a previous PR for 1 rep..so I smashed it today:


Get those toes pointed out more, and push your knees out to the sides. Starting from the beginning, up until your last pull, your lower back rounds in before you bring up the weight. This puts your lower back at a bigger risk of injury. Bringing your hips closer into the bar will only work properly if you have your toes pointed more out and you're forcing your knees out. Arch your back before you begin pulling. Work on your hip flexibility so that you are able to keep the arch throughout the movement.


Damn, I thought i'd improved a fair bit!

I will carry on working on it..

Thanks for the comments again.


No problem :slight_smile: You'll get it soon enough, no worries! Sumo is a lot more technical than conventional.


Stardust you seem to have a lot of knowledge of the deadlift. Crazy ontario people... haha.

also, she is right. I am no expert of sumo pulls, as I pull conventional for strongman purposes, but you are basically pulling with way too much back. Follow her tips and remember to activate your glutes first!


Haha, it's my best lift. :slightly_smiling:

Adam, since majik mentioned glute activation, I thought I'd throw this out...a good way to test if your glutes are firing properly, is to find a low box or chair, preferably lower than parallel. Take a very wide stance (wider than sumo) with your toes pointed out, and sit as FAR back on the chair/box as you possible can, so that your knees are not even in line with your shins anymore (think of a really far back box squat, but with no weight on your back). From this position, using ONLY your glutes, flex back up into a standing position.

If you find that you struggle to get back up with a strong lock-out, and you either (1) move forward too much with your torso, or (2) use a lot of arm movement to propel yourself, then you need more glute work.

If you don't do them already, I would suggest throwing in some hip bridges and x-band walks as well. They work as really good warm-ups.


Also, loop a band (mini-medium) through your belt and hook the ends on your feet and just walk around a little bit. That'll activate your posterior chain.


Thanks for all of the replies - SS, I will try that exercise..sounds hard! I have some medium bands so will add the x-band walks in before squats and deads :slight_smile:

I think the glute thing could be a good shout as my legs can fold in on the squat once I get to heavy weights (for me)..something to work on!


Yeah, it seems like you could use some glute/lower back work. Not to worry though. I'd just do the bridges and band walks for a warm-up before squats and deadlifts, and then do some assistance work after the main lift. For your squat, good-mornings are a good exercise.

Actually a really good assistance exercise to strengthen your hips/glutes/hammies for the pull, is doing sumo SLDL's.


I may well add that to the list too..now that does sound like torture.


It is, but it's great :smiley: You grow to like them after time.


this. I actually use them as part of my dynamic warm up for deads. That and sumo. I pull sumo in my warmup to activate the hammies and glutes more than conventional. Helps me get into the grove a bit better.


Great thread thanks for the videos helps me learn to.