T Nation

Switching to Sumo Stance DL


#1

I've recently decided to switch to sumo stance DL's, after several months spinning my wheels alternating between sumo and conventional basically at random. Reasons are my build (short limbs) and that sumos don't beat up my back as badly. Best DL was 180kg back in October, at ~85kg (5'7).

I've been reading up on all things sumo dl related, and I've found some excellent resources:

Fantastic, wide ranging Mike Robertson article:

www.robertsontrainingsystems.com/articles/sumodl.html

Marc Bartley on switching to sumo:

www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/374/

Interesting Elite Fitness roundtable:

www.elitefts.com/documents/sumo_deadlift.htm


#2

Now that I’ve hopefully buttered you all up a little, any additional resources or advice would be appreciated. Found some good stuff in Hanley’s log too.

Basically, my lower body training has been ill focused lately, with front squat the only exercise I’ve seen any improvement in. Immediate focus is to learn sumos and up my dl numbers, while hopefully making some progress on cleans and squats too. I train with an upper/lower split, training lower body once every 4-5 days. Plan is to alternate between:

Day 1:

Cleans: about 12-15 reps total. Moderate weight today

Sumos: work up to a max for the day, do a back off triple

Front Squat

Sumo Stance Good Mornings

Day 2:

Cleans: 12-15 reps total, heavier today

Sumos: lighter, 6 doubles at 140kgs, increase weight if I can maintain form and speed

Low Box Squats

Regular Good Mornings


Does this look decent? At this stage I feel I can benefit from training movements regularly without getting burnt out. The lighter sumos are at a fairly high percentage of my max, but lighter sumos seem to do nothing whatsoever for me. I’ll add in some weighted ab work as well.

Any advice gratefully received.


#3

DLing is the most taxing thing you can do to your body in the gym. DLing twice a week or even twice every 8-10 days can start to take it toll on all but the chemically enhanced. The fact that you are doing cleans every day you do deads as well adds to this. I would almost suggest you choose between low box squats and your speed deads.

That is, do one per workout and do the other next time. Speed deads are more beneficial if you struggle to escape the floor. If you are failing at the top speed deads are not your cure. Admittedly, most sumo guys will complete the lift if they can get it off the floor though so there is a place for speed deads.

You also seem to rely on Good Mornings quite a bit, nothing wrong there but perhaps the inclusion of GHR’s or Rev Hypers would benefit you as well. Finally, I’m unclear as to the extent of your loyalty to the front squat. I know some guys like to quad squat their deads but even so you have added it on what I perceive to be your ME day and you didn’t really mention you rep ranges there too.

Finally, I know you switched to sumos in part because you wanted to save your back but don’t be deceived into think you can back off your posterior chain training and focus more on quads for the sumo.

Hips and abs become even more important in the sumo. Weighted ab work you mentioned is great but standing pulldown abs really translate to the start of the dead IMO.


#4

upper lower splits tend to have you training lower body and upper body, twice a week. Any reason why you aren’t doing this?


#5

[quote]sapasion wrote:
DLing is the most taxing thing you can do to your body in the gym. DLing twice a week or even twice every 8-10 days can start to take it toll on all but the chemically enhanced. The fact that you are doing cleans every day you do deads as well adds to this. I would almost suggest you choose between low box squats and your speed deads. That is, do one per workout and do the other next time. Speed deads are more beneficial if you struggle to escape the floor. If you are failing at the top speed deads are not your cure. Admittedly, most sumo guys will complete the lift if they can get it off the floor though so there is a place for speed deads.
You also seem to rely on Good Mornings quite a bit, nothing wrong there but perhaps the inclusion of GHR’s or Rev Hypers would benefit you as well. Finally, I’m unclear as to the extent of your loyalty to the front squat. I know some guys like to quad squat their deads but even so you have added it on what I perceive to be your ME day and you didn’t really mention you rep ranges there too.
Finally, I know you switched to sumos in part because you wanted to save your back but don’t be deceived into think you can back off your posterior chain training and focus more on quads for the sumo. Hips and abs become even more important in the sumo. Weighted ab work you mentioned is great but standing pulldown abs really translate to the start of the dead IMO.

[/quote]

p.s. you should find me a good explanation on how to do standing abs. I have problems off the floor on my deadlifts.


#6

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
upper lower splits tend to have you training lower body and upper body, twice a week. Any reason why you aren’t doing this?[/quote]

I’ve started being a lot more consistent and focused with my conditioning work lately (high rep kb swings and push ups mostly, performed separately from my heavy lifting)and at the moment I seem to need a full days rest between heavy lifting sessions.

Hopefully when my conditioning gets better I’ll be able to shift back to a standard 2 upper, 2 lower a week, but right now I simply don’t have the work capacity.


#7

[quote]sapasion wrote:
DLing is the most taxing thing you can do to your body in the gym. DLing twice a week or even twice every 8-10 days can start to take it toll on all but the chemically enhanced. The fact that you are doing cleans every day you do deads as well adds to this. I would almost suggest you choose between low box squats and your speed deads. That is, do one per workout and do the other next time. Speed deads are more beneficial if you struggle to escape the floor. If you are failing at the top speed deads are not your cure. Admittedly, most sumo guys will complete the lift if they can get it off the floor though so there is a place for speed deads.
You also seem to rely on Good Mornings quite a bit, nothing wrong there but perhaps the inclusion of GHR’s or Rev Hypers would benefit you as well. Finally, I’m unclear as to the extent of your loyalty to the front squat. I know some guys like to quad squat their deads but even so you have added it on what I perceive to be your ME day and you didn’t really mention you rep ranges there too.
Finally, I know you switched to sumos in part because you wanted to save your back but don’t be deceived into think you can back off your posterior chain training and focus more on quads for the sumo. Hips and abs become even more important in the sumo. Weighted ab work you mentioned is great but standing pulldown abs really translate to the start of the dead IMO.

[/quote]

Some great advice there. Thanks.

I’m a big fan of front squats - probably the best thing I’ve done for my abs, and I notice the difference pretty quickly if I slack up on them.

I’m very new to GMs so you’re right - no point in over relying on them when I don’t even know how I’ll respond to them. I’ll eliminate the normal stance GMs in favour of reverse hypers and standing ab pulldowns.

At the moment I feel I can handle sumos + the box squats due to my low numbers and because I always rest a day between heavy lifting, but I’ll keep what you said in mind. If progress slows or if I’m feeling beat up, I’ll definitely alternate between them.

Thanks again.


#8

A few quick comments on my experience… (I’ll dig up a good thread on fortified iron for ya later).

-It’s a whole different ball game. you WILL be weaker when you start sumos.

-First and most important thing is keep drilling form. Fight hard to keep your arse down on every rep.

-Ultra wide pulls helped me alot in the past (put a bit collar inside the plates so you can effectively take a wider stance)

-Pulls standing on plates are meant to help, but I’ve never really done them

-I’ve gotten GREAT results from box squats over the last few weeks

-before you start the pull, arch HARD. Pull your upper back as high and back as you can

-I don’t see the value in speed pulls for sumos. I can pull lighter sumo’s MUCH faster than comparable weight on conventionals, but as the weight goes up, my sumos slows down alot. You only really see or can work on your weakness when the weight gets heavier in sumos. In my opinino. I’m gonna start doing 8-10x1 with 70-75% on my “speed” days to see if that’s any better.

-Hammer your abs, as said. And believe it or not, I’ve always found quad strength to be really important on breaking the floor sumo.

And get some vids up!


#9

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
p.s. you should find me a good explanation on how to do standing abs. I have problems off the floor on my deadlifts.
[/quote]

Don’t we all. Starting really comes down to explosiveness and having those abs tight enough to force the legs to push threw the ground. A lot of people have been complaining about standing abs. Some gyms have machines where you can brace your backside against something for stability. If all you have is a lat pull machine use the seat. Other guys have mentioned hooking feet under DB’s.


#10

Hanley has some great advice above. I totally concur that box squats are the #1 exercise to help a deadlift, especially a sumo dead. I have always gotten out of ruts in my dead when I return to regular and consistent low box squats.


#11

Loads of great advice. Thanks again lads. I’ll try to get a video up soon, but I’m lacking both technology and a cameraman at the moment.

Hanley’s comments on speed pulls definitely tally with my own experiences so far. Anything less than 140kgs feels ridiculously easy regardless of form or even effort, so all my work sets, even the speed ones, will be 140kg+.

I’ve badly neglected back squats in favour of hammering away on the front squats, so there’s loads of potential for strength increases there.

Looking forward to getting a look at this thread from Fortified Iron, but most of all I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and getting the work done. Been a long time since I’ve felt this sort of optimism about my lower body training.


#12

As promised http://www.fortified-iron.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=44325

There’s a link to my thread in there too. Watch the diffrence between the vid in the first post and last post if you don’t believe me when I say about what worked for me!!


#13

Thanks Hanley.

Just after reading both of those threads, and a lot of the advice just clicked for me mentally. Especially about squeezing the feet outward to get the weight moving rather than trying to jerk it off the floor. That and keeping my arse down will be my priorities tonight.


#14

Just back from the gym. Decent session. May as well record it here, and I’m considering keeping a log on this thread.

Tue 11 March

Overhead Squats: 20kg x 5, 30 x 5, 40 x 5

Power Cleans: 60 x 3, 60 x 3, 65 x 2, 65 x 2, 70 x 2, 75 x 1,f

Sumo DLs: worked up to 140kg for 5 sets of 2. Started off terribly, got progressively better as I concentrated on pushing my knees out.

Front Squats: 60 x 5, 80 x 5, 100 x 5.
5 rep PB. Very happy with this, as I’ve never got more than 3 reps with 100kg. Very tough set.

Finished off with some sit ups and weighted back extensions. Should have done sumo stance GMs, but didn’t have time to wait around for the safety rack. This is going to be a major problem as I’m short of time at the moment and my gym is ridiculously overcrowded.


#15

Wed 12 March

Should have rested today but against my better judgement decided to do upper body. Fairly mediocre session.

Standing Overhead Press:

60kg: 3 sets of 5

Hit a PB of 72.5kg last Friday, so I was fairly pissed off at how weak I felt on these today.

Sumo Stance Rows: 60 x 5, 70 x 5, 80 x 5, 70 x 10, 60 x 12

Dips: 3 sets of 8 with 15kg added weight

Curls: 40 x 5, 45 x 5, 45 x 4, 40 x 5, 40 x 5


#16

Fri 14 March:

Overhead Squats: 20 x 5, 30 x 5, 40 x 3, 45 x 3

Power Cleans: up to 75 x 1, f

Sumo DL: missed 160kg. Appalling DLs today.

Front Squats: 60 x 5, 80 x 3, 80 x 2, 100 x 2, 110 x 2 PR, 115 x 1 PR

Sumo Stance GMs: 60 x 8, 80 x 8, 90 x 5 (collar and plates started slipping off the crap bar)

Ab Wheel and Rev Hyper supersets: 3 x 12


Strange session. Appallingly bad deads, but I’m very, very happy about the front squat PRs.

Proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that my hips and lower back are the weak links, so I’ll be going much heavier on the GMs from here on in. Going to ditch the power cleans on the heavier DL day as well, as they aren’t increasing at the moment anyway and they’re just tiring me out before the deads.

Fairly happy with my training overall right now - 2 one rep maxes in a week (standing strict press and front squat) after not getting any so far this year. Loads of work to be done on bringing up hip and lower back strength though.


#17

Tue 18 March:

Sumos up to 160kg, missed 170.

Conventional DLs: up to 150kg

Sumo Stance Rows (narrow grip): up to 85 x 3


Gym was stuffed and filled with assholes. I’ll try to avoid training in the evening from here on in. Overdone the alcohol over the weekend as well, so it was never going to be a fun session. Just glad I didn’t miss 160 this time. Very limited in what I could do tonight as it was so overcrowded, so I just cut my losses, bagged an oly bar and some floor space and didn’t budge for my entire workout.