T Nation

Who Pulls Sumo?

I’ve got deadlifting on the brain and want to see who’s deadlifting sumo these days.

I’m an odd duck that my squat is higher than my deadlift (by 20#) and I want to reverse that. I want to take some of the pressure off the back and use more glute/hip where I think I’m stronger or at least more confident (L5/S1 injury a couple years ago).

I just read this elitefts article (10 Tips for Sumo Deadlifting
By Brian Schwab):

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/sumo.htm

which is pretty good.

One question that I have is what determines width of leg spread for sumo? Comfort? I understand the bar has a shorter path with a wider stance, but I feel stronger with a stance a little wider than shoulders (arms inside), toes at 11 and 1 o’clock.

Anybody have their own nuggets of wisdom to add?

Take whatever stance you can lift the most weight with, that’s the right one.

I pull sumo in competition, but I’m also a dirty cheater so take that for what its worth.

I use conventional in training 90% of the time.

I pull sumo because I’m half midget. I like my feet almost touching the plates, but deadlifting is my nemesis so I do anything I can to shorten the stroke.

I pull sumo.

I take my feet out to the plates, but you shouldn’t go any wider than you can get your knees out when you get down to the bar.

I tried pulling sumo and I just seem to get it all wrong. I have long arms and a short torso so conventional has worked well for me.

DLs took me to a whole new level after being quad dominant for many, many years. I really had to get back in my hips to start hitting bigger numbers. (Mind you - bigger for me, not some of the really strong guys. 465)

i pull sumo as well. i was told i had a long torso by a guy way bigger and stronger than me, which suits me to sumo pulling.

i agree, my sumo dl is probably +60lbs or so over my conventional.

i like to use the adductor/abductor machines some. seems to help keep my hips from hurting.

my feet are probably about 4 inches from the plates, but i’m still trying to figure it out too.

for me it also seems to help if i drive my knees out hard and try to get my hips closer to the bar at the start.

tricky stuff. once i was going for some weight for reps, but the first time i tried i couldn’t even break it off the floor. but then i focused on driving my knees out and pulled it for 10 reps. that’s why i think it’s a technical lift.

You can lose some hip internal rotation ROM if you pull sumo a lot. There are multiple articles on this site for hip IR stretches (I think by Boyle and Cressey), so add some of those to your routine if you start pulling sumo.

I pull sumo and nearly have my feet at the plates but that’s only because I’m all legs and arms.

i pull sumo but i pull with my feet a few inches past shoulder - not at the plates.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

I’m an odd duck that my squat is higher than my deadlift (by 20#) and I want to reverse that.

One question that I have is what determines width of leg spread for sumo? Comfort? I understand the bar has a shorter path with a wider stance, but I feel stronger with a stance a little wider than shoulders (arms inside), toes at 11 and 1 o’clock.

Anybody have their own nuggets of wisdom to add?[/quote]

  1. My squat has always exceeded my deadlift-not so odd with lifters from the 220’s up.
    2)I do both: Comfort is the priority in sumo-as wide as you can go without creating problems in your hips.
    3)I prefer a set-up much like you describe.
    4)I find sumo harder from the floor and easier at lock-out.

i use the cheater pull as well.

my nuggets… or should i say my nugget of advice would be to start with a just outside shoulder width stance and slowly work on getting it further out as you get stronger in the hips and groin.

i like to think of the legs in a sumo lift like a jack. you are attempting to get your legs as close to parallel with the bar as possible. doing so puts a great deal of tension on the hips. you know if you are in a good position if you have to work to get down to the bar. as you decend, force your knees out as hard as you can. much like a squat.

then as you initiate the lift, keep forcing the knees out and as the bar reaches knee level push your hips forward to the bar to complete the lift.

the hardest part of a sumo lift is getting the timing down. only through practice will you instinctively know when to quickly force those hips through. usually when i miss a sumo pull it’s becuase i miss timed getting the hips through.

a really good technique for teaching this is to set up the deadlift on an elevation right around knee level and basically just force the hips through to complete the lift.

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:

a really good technique for teaching this is to set up the deadlift on an elevation right around knee level and basically just force the hips through to complete the lift. [/quote]

Thanks for this nugget. That’s an immense help. I missed my final pull at nationals last week because I didn’t get my hips through. In fact, the picture in my avatar is that lift. It’s a reminder for me. It’s the first meet I’d pulled sumo and I’d never gotten the bar up that far without finishing.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i pull sumo but i pull with my feet a few inches past shoulder - not at the plates.
[/quote]

Same here. Ive been told its called a “hybrid sumo stance” or something like that.

I cant pull worth a damn sumo. I have never met a taller guy who prefers it raw.

I pull just fine with a shoulder width stance, when I try to pull sumo I feel like Im losing my balance.

When I pull I always try to shove my heels through the ground, when I pull sumo I just cant seem to make it “feel” right.

I think sumo is better if your a woman, as their lower bodies are generally easiest to develop.

I have seen some guys pull ridiculous weight with sumo, but not many taller guys, I think the balance is just off.

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:

4)I find sumo harder from the floor and easier at lock-out.

[/quote]

Interesting. I’ve found that I can get the weight off the floor a little easier sumo than conventional. I haven’t videoed it, but other’s observations/comments are that I don’t raise my ass up first when I pull sumo, so I think I’m engaging hips/glutes sooner.

If I can get the weight past my knees, I can usually lock it out.

This is what bugs me about my squat being higher-- I’d think I’d have an easier time pulling the weight off the floor vs. lockout.

Mind you, I’m sure there’s a form and mental aspect to this as well :wink: – I need to video for comments… maybe in the coming weeks.

I think I see some deficit pulls in my future…

Great comments so far-- thanks!

i did the hybrid stance, i did full sumo, i found out what conventional, and now i tried smo after 4 weeks of conventional, and i cant do it anymore.

[quote]Westclock wrote:
I cant pull worth a damn sumo. I have never met a taller guy who prefers it raw.

but not many taller guys, I think the balance is just off.[/quote]

im 6 feet tall

i pulled 455x3 with straps sumo.

and 425x7 DOH - no straps

Generally speaking, breaking the floor with a sumo stance is going to be easier than conventional if you are keeping your hips down and using your legs instead of trying to do a wide stance SLDL.

I’ve also heard that lifters with wider hips tend to be better at pulling sumo since bigger pelvis = wider stance and stronger hips. This makes sense to me, as personally, I am much more comfortable and stronger in a wide stance in both squat and deadlift and I have a big old ass and hips.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
Westclock wrote:
I cant pull worth a damn sumo. I have never met a taller guy who prefers it raw.

but not many taller guys, I think the balance is just off.

im 6 feet tall

i pulled 455x3 with straps sumo.

and 425x7 DOH - no straps[/quote]

Im not exactly sure what your trying to say.

Neither of those is an especially big pull, and are pretty close to each other.

is the 425x7 sumo or conventional ?

Because 455x3 and 425x 7 are pretty close.

I used to pull sumo…never deadlifted much in my life but I’m really focusing on them now. When I used to do sumo I found myself the stronger in the “hybrid stance” I like to have my shins right where the rings of the barbell are. I found my most strength in that form…and yeah just keeping the back on a bit of an angle I think helps instead of trying to be super upright…I think trying to be too upright gives weakness pulling from the floor, and when I make my back like a small ramp I pull to get it off the floor and then push my hips through and then make the lift.
But this is my advice from a hybrid stance…I could never do that really wide sumo stuff lol

but other than that I’m focusing on only conv. deadlift right now. If my conv. goes up, my sumo goes up. I am one of those people also where my squat is a bit higher than my deadlift.