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Switching to Conventional from Sumo

I have found the light, after deadlifting sumo for the past 1.5 years (my whole lifting career) I recently have gone into a slump with my deadlift, decided to test the waters on my conventional deadlift and realized it feels much better and I dont have any of the same problems I do with sumo (unable to get into position, power off the floor, sliding) and ive been stuck in the mid 400’s for the past 6 months.

I just wanted to get a training max so I went up to 405 to see how it felt and Im going to start there (probably couldve hit 3-5 reps) so I can relearn the cues and form.

Any tips on switching? Only problems I felt was having the bar a little far out which resulted in my balance being on my toes, which can be fixed easily. (No video but can post one next time I deadlift)

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Noooo. RIP my sumo bruddah

Honestly sumo and conventional aren’t that much different if you don’t have extreme cheater hip mobility. But it’s good you found something that works better for you.

I pull both with sumo having edge by 30-40lbs. So maybe I can help

Careful you didn’t just mask/avoid the problems you were having before. It’s could be important to develop that problem solving knowledge and skill so you can sort stuff out in the future

like power off the floor being from shitty start position or progress stalling meaning you need to take a look at your programming and recovery.

Anyways like you were saying the mid foot / balance may have actually changed with the switch. With toes pointed out midfoot is closer and toes forward ie conventional it’ll be a bit further forward. So I start the bar farther from me on convy and shins/knees come forward more (whereas sumo has close to vertical shins)

Umm your optimal starting hip height will also be different so that could take some time to find again. Torso angle different by a bit too but this isn’t something you control.

Like I was saying they aren’t extremely different and the stuff that they have in common is just basic principles that need to be spot on regardless of convy sumo or switching: Bar over midfoot, shoulders over bar, up in a straight line

I’ll pull up some vids for you if I can track down my Conventional vids

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My deadlift rep pr went from 405x3 to 435x3 in like 8 weeks, but my 1rm stayed the same, and yeah I would say my sumo starting position could use some work but Ill continue to work on it (Ill still use sumo after my squats but convention on my deadlift days)

Thanks for all the tips

Start position is pretty important for conventional too maybe less demanding on hip mobility but I e never met anyone with insufficient hip mobility to pull a decent ish sumo

For the getting stronger bit…


Well could be a couple of things.

If you truly got stronger and upped the 3RM it should translate to increased 1RM. Since nah it could be your peaking was sub optimal or maybe technique breaks down near max so you can’t show your true potential

Conversely you may not have actually gotten much stronger e.g. hit the bigger rep PR when you were less fatigued so the like the capability was there just was masked by fatigue when you went 435x3.

Or maybe there were reps in the tank on 405x3 like you coulda done 2 more and 435x3 was RPE 9.5+ so not much more in the tank. It’s a rep PR but ends up working out to the same 1RM

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The 1rm problem was definetly form+starting position with heavy singles, and both 405x3 and 435x3 were rpe 9+ (wouldve been a grinder + form wouldve suffered on the 4th)

Every other lift has increased, just hit a 10 pound bench PR and hoping for a squat PR thursday, both of those lifts have also increased their rep maxes, 225x3 to 225x6 for bench, and 335x3 in wraps to 365x3 in sleeves (for both squat and bench I also feel form has gotten way better)

My deadlift is just a struggle, likely due to form (its not atrocious, my back remains fairly neutral but breaking the weight from the floor is a struggle) and not having anyone else I know that is into powerlifting (all my friends and gym buddies are bodybuilders/mens physique so they only know about juice and high reps :joy::joy:)

Im going to be posting some videos to the forum in the next week so yall can roast me and give some constructive criticism

I do find conventional setup much easier and the weight leaves the floor like butter so hopefully I make some big gains on the lift.

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Good on ya for always looking to get better.

A training log would be a good idea too. That way you can post form vids for yourself to work with mostly but also get continued feedback. That’s how I do

On here it’s like having a bunch of virtual gym buddies. There’s all kinds but whatever you need from expert advice to a good joke there’s someone about.

Im running nSuns 5/3/1 currently im on week 8.

That doesn’t make sense, if you tested your 1rm you must have had a bad day because you can’t add 30lbs to your 3rm and not get stronger. If you aren’t peaked for a 1rm attempt then don’t expect to perform at your best.

Sumo is always going to be hard to break the floor, with conventional you are more likely to get stuck higher up, especially if your back is rounded. Whatever allows you to lift more is better, just because you feel strong off the floor with conventional doesn’t mean you will do better with conventional, that’s just how it is.

You gotta go back to the basics dude.

Pelvic Tilt

Getting to the bar

Tight lats

Stay tight.

Watch this young studly dude carefully maintain tightness during setup.

My tip for you is to initially lower your volume. I also used to sumo, and switched to conventional (actually started conventional, then sumo, the conventional again). When I switched from sumo to conventional, I kept my volume the same, and it was brutal on the back. I was sore for a month or two before getting used to the conventional pull.

For me I have always had tons of power off the floor, but struggled at lockout with both sumo and conventional. The lesson I have learned is to be more patient off the floor (pulling all the slack out of the bar and my body, before starting the lift). Now I am slower off the floor, but can actually finish the lift.