T Nation

Transitioning from Semi-Sumo to Conventional


I originally started doing as wide as I could without smashing my feet with the plates wide sumo, but that started taking its toll on my hips.

I then moved to semi-sumo which was better on my hips and I could move just as weight with it, but still put a lot of strain on the hips.

So I'm trying out conventional now. Without much practice it's only 15lbs behind my semi-sumo so I'm thinking if I get my low-back stronger and get my form closer to perfected, I can get the conventional to go up faster than I can get the semi-sumo to go up. Semi-sumo makes recovery take forever, but conventional doesn't take as much life out of me even at max rep or limit maxes for the days to come afterwards.

Any tips for the transition?


Find some good conventional lifters with body type similar to yours and watch them pull...i've never done sumo si I can't really offer any other advice


hey fletch

Ive never pulled sumo or semi sumo apart as an accessory lift to help build my lockout. But my deadlift form sucked/sucks arse and this video helps:

you might of seen it but man its a good watch. Smitty really knows his shit. Definitely give it a look and try it next time you lift conventional and thats really all i can help with LOL.



I made the switch when I noticed that if I tried conventional on my speed pulls that the power at the floor was much greater with a conventional stance. Some things I noticed for conventional: it is way more important to get more air in you belly and keep you core tight (both to protect your back and get some belly bounce off the floor), sitting back is important (it keeps you from shooting the hips up which will have you in better position to lockout when the bar passes your knees), as you noticed lower back strength is emphasized more, and you can play around more with how much you relax your upper back and shoulders to get in a more optimal postion with your other joints.

Good luck!


Good tips at the bottom



I'm liking it. It's a lot more of brute strength movement than sumo and I'm finding it really easy to learn and pick up. It works my entire back a ton more too while sparing my hips. I can push so hard on this one without worrying about hurting myself or my form going to shit as much. It's a lot more fun too.

Just yesterday I hit 415x5 with conventional and a month prior I got 405x5 (6 if you count one really ugly rep) with semi-sumo so just after a couple sessions it's as high or higher depending on how you wanna look at it as the semi-sumo. So much more power off the ground but I have to be really explosive from the start to get the lockout which is a change. Momentum seems to be a lot more important on this lift.

I don't understand this belly bounce thing... Do you have to be a little fat for this to matter or is there a trick to this? I'm sucking in a ton of air into my belly standing over the bar and my hands over my head and pressing hard against the belt when I get into position but never felt anything that I could call a belly bounce.

For whatever it's worth, I have a short torso, long femurs, and long arms.


Hahaha... No, you don't really have to be a little fat. For reference I am 225 and 6 foot 2 and I can do it. The trick is to sit back so much that if the bar wasn't there you'd just fall over backward. This puts your shoulders directly over the bar and let's you pull back from the start, so no chance of shooting the hips and the bar getting out front. When I set up right 135 just pops off the floor from my set up (without even initiating the pull). So, maybe belly bounce is the wrong verbiage.


Ok, cool, so I was doing it but I just didn't know it. It seemed to me to be sitting back really hard till I start to feel a ton of tension in my body then the bar just seems to pop off the ground. I felt this with the sumo but not nearly as much and it seems to be a lot more important with the conventional for completing a clean and explosive rep.