However, without this article turning into a ‘how to deadlift’ guide, the key differences for the conventional vs sumo deadlift are the shoulder positions. One of the main differences between conventional and sumo deadlifts are the muscles used. SUMO OR CONVENTIONAL DEADLIFT- WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME? Sumo Or Conventional Deadlift: Which Should You Do? Wide feet and a narrow grip result in a shorter vertical range of motion for the lift and less movement around the hip and knee joints. The sumo vs conventional deadlift are actually very similar. Torso length: Start at the hip bone (greater trochanter) and measure to the top of the head, Leg length: From the base of the floor to the hip bone (greater trochanter). These angles will determine the range of motion your hips can go through comfortably. For the conventional deadlifts, because you’ll have slightly more forward lean, you’ll have greater muscular activation in the trunk muscles, such as the spinal erectors. I initially let the athlete decide his or her deadlift stance based on what they feel is most comfortable because an athlete will typically execute better when the lifts feel good. With the wider stance, the sumo deadlift is 20-25% less range of motion when compared with the conventional deadlift. Here's the variation you need to master! As such, the loading demands for which muscles are used will change. Choose the dominant style and see if it feels more comfortable to you. As I said earlier, the primary way that you want to decide whether to choose conventional or sumo deadlifting is based on which style you feel the ‘most comfortable’. When I refer to the “length of your limbs” or “proportions” I’m talking about the length of your torso, arms, and legs in relation to each other. (2002), shows that the vastus medialis (inside of the quad), vastus lateralis (outside of the quad), and tibialis anterior (outside of calf) had greater muscular activation in the sumo deadlift. So, it’s better if I have my athletes feeling confident pulling from the floor first before trying to optimize their 1 rep max. If you're towering over the other gym-goers, the rules are different when it comes to heavy pulls. Conventional vs Sumo Deadlift: What’s Right For You? Interested to learn more about how the sumo deadlift compares with the back squat? Conventional deadlift = shoulders over the bar in the start position. To build up tension, you’ll want to grab the bar in a strong grip, set your back by squeezing your lats, engage your glutes and hamstrings by actively pulling them into the start position, maintain a neutral head position, and drive your feet into the floor. However, these recommendations should be taken in context with the other factors suggested in this article, since in actuality I can actually pull more weight using a conventional deadlift stance. This is why I use the second point below to determine a lifter’s quad weakness. If the athlete’s hips rise faster than the bar, then this might mean they are weaker in the quads and stronger in the hip and back extensors. I am possibly wanting to switch but my sumo is a good 100lbs weaker right now… would my conventional still go up? Sumo and conventional are two stance options for performing the deadlift for maximal strength and power. In the conventional deadlift, you will have approximately 5-10% more forward lean. The first way to decide is to understand which style feels the most comfortable throughout the entire range of motion. It’s important to recognize that the information we’re going to cover may have more to do with the proportions outlined previously, rather than the overall bodyweight of a person. There are differences in how the femur and pelvis come together, where the hip socket is located on the pelvis, and how the femur is rotated. For example, I found that once I trained sumo along with my conventional, my conventional got stronger. Like this article? Training, Workouts, Nutrition, Mindset and Supplements. If you’re wanting to improve your deadlift lockout you can read about my 10 tips. However, these recommendations should be taken in context with the other factors suggested in this article, since in actuality I can actually pull more weight using a conventional deadlift stance. When it comes to the sump vs. conventional deadlift, both exercises activate your muscles to the same degree, but in different ways. However, the data below is just too interesting not to mention. As a result, your typical deadlift assistance movements that will have a very high degree of carryover to your sumo deadlift, even if you do them with a conventional stance. I’m going to cover each of these factors in more detail, which will give you a step-by-step process to choosing whether conventional or sumo will maximize your strength potential. (2002), shows that the vastus medialis (inside of the quad), vastus lateralis (outside of the quad), and tibialis anterior (outside of calf) had greater muscular activation in the sumo deadlift. However, if you fall somewhere in the middle bodyweight classes, you might need to do a bit more experimentation between the two styles to see which one will work best. In the start position, this will look like your shoulders being slightly in front of the bar if you were to draw a straight line down to the floor. The first table below lists various proportions and the lifting style recommendations by Dr Hales: As you can see, there is some overlap between the two different styles based on if you have average arm length combined with either short or long torsos. Let’s take a look at another consideration for choosing one style over another, which is based on muscular strengths and weaknesses. This is almost always necessary anyways for most lifters anyways. 7 weight class winners were sumo lifters, one was conventional. It’s important to recognize that while the two deadlift styles look different there are two main similarities. Trap bar deadlifts allow you to keep your torso more upright than conventional deadlifts, but not as upright as for sumo deadlifts. We’ll cover that in more detail later. This is the heaviest deadlift ever completed in competition by someone weighing less than 100kg. The rack pull is an invaluable exercise that provides lifters with a great way to manage that issue. Especially if you're coming from a conventional deadlift background. For most people, the timing of the hips and knees to finish the movement will happen simultaneously. Let’s now talk about the next consideration for deciding whether to do conventional or sumo deadlifting. In general, the conventional deadlift uses more spinal erectors, while the sumo deadlift uses more quads. Medicine Science Sport Exercise, 34(4): 682-688. You may find yourself deciding to pick either conventional or sumo deadlifts based on which muscles are stronger or weaker. Typically, smaller, thinner lifters tend to perform better with the sumo style and larger, thicker lifters tend to perform better with the conventional style due to the individual leverages involved. I am a pretty strong conventional puller (2x+ my bodyweight) with long arms and shorter torso but my legs are pretty long too, height 6'3''. Which I find very interesting, and just goes to show that training for one lift can in turn help the other. This will give you the first clue as to which style you might be more suited to; however, don’t ignore the other factors outlined in this article, such as limb proportions, bodyweight, and muscular weaknesses. In the late ’90s, on the other hand (at the national meet where Escamilla gathered his data), 70% of the lifters deadlifted conventional, including 85% of the lifters above 83kg, and 55% of the lifters … If you tried to replicate this forward lean for sumo deadlifts it would be highly inefficient. If you deadlift in a conventional stance, you can use a sumo deadlift as a “special method”, which I detail in my article on 10 Special Exercises To Improve Your Powerlifting Movements. Deciding whether to do conventional or sumo also depends on your overall bodyweight. While training at Westside Barbell Louie consistently impressed upon … As you get higher in bodyweight, the fewer sumo deadlifts are being represented with more conventional pulls. In short, both sumo and conventional deadlift variations have their place in training cycles and primarily depend upon:. This trend is a bit more prominent in men. It pretty well depends on your basic body type, along with some other factors. If you don’t have muscular tension before lifting the bar, both your conventional and sumo deadlifts will be inefficient off the floor. In addition, the load is next to your feet instead of in front of them. However, without this article turning into a ‘how to deadlift’ guide, the key differences for the conventional vs sumo deadlift are the shoulder positions. In general, the conventional deadlift uses more spinal erectors and hamstrings, while the sumo deadlift uses more quads and glutes. The angles of your body in relation to the bar are going to be different for conventional versus sumo deadlifts. Alternatively, the lower the angle, the more comfortable this person will feel pulling conventional. Most likely, that will just come down to leverages, as it usually is a bit easier for a 52kg female to get into position for a sumo deadlift than a 120+kg man. However, for the most part, this table offers some suggestions around which style you might want to try to optimize first. PowerliftingTechnique.com also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. In a general sense, the deadlift can be broken down into 3 basic zones; Off the floor; The dead zone (the area between the top of your foot and your knee) The lockout For the sake of global fitness culture, I will refer to the narrow stance technique as a 'conventional' deadlift, and to the wide stance technique as a 'sumo' deadlift. As such, you’ll want to play to your strengths as much as possible. Other determining factors that make conventional or sumo deadlifting a better choice are based on your hip structure, limb length, body weight, and muscular strengths and limitations. In the image above, the angle on the left will be more naturally built for conventional, the angle in the middle may be suited for either conventional or sumo, and the angle on the right will be more naturally built for sumo. A study by Escamilla et al. Then be sure to sign up to our newsletter to keep you updated on the latest news. If you train conventional or sumo simultaneously, doing one session in each stance per week, then over time you’ll recognize a clear winner based on strength. As listed below, here are some key differences where these compound exercises differ: The … In all female weight classes until 84kg+, a sumo deadlifter won. Unlike the conventional deadlift, which you can mostly “grip-and-rip” with good success, the sumo deadlift requires a significant amount of flexibility and technical skill. If you find the measurements suggesting you can deadlift either conventional or sumo, then a semi-sumo deadlift stance might be more appropriate for you. The more practical way is by conducting a specific exercise called the supine assessment, which I got from Dean Somerset: The idea is to move your femur through a range of motion and track the positions where the pelvis starts to roll without any further movement at the hip itself. More often than not, a key sticking point for most lifters is locking out the weight. One quick note, if you decide to deadlift sumo, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper footwear. This is why you should have proper deadlift shoes. What this will look like is that the hips and knees lock at the same time. Sumo vs Conventional Deadlift. It also increases the difficulty of the starting pull off the floor and makes the lockout much easier. If you’re someone who cares about improving their deadlift strength and their one rep max then deciding between conventional or sumo will be important. If you tried to replicate this forward lean for sumo deadlifts it would be highly inefficient. Tall lifters with long femur and arms who are pulling sumo? The research is still undecided about whether glutes are more active in one style over another. If an athlete is more suited to lift sumo based on their hip structure, proportions, or bodyweight, then I will work on their specific weakness and then begin to experiment with sumo deadlifting once they’re stronger. The Sumo Deadlift is most visibly different from the Conventional Deadlift in that the lifter assumes a considerably wider stance. Try both and just see which you are stronger. Choose the dominant style and see if it feels more comfortable to you. For the sumo deadlifts, you’ll have greater knee extension, which places more loading demand on the quads. Hey guys, I have this on-going battle in my mind about deadlifts. For example, many-time world champion Lamar Gant (below) was able to deadlift over 600 pounds at a 132-pound bodyweight using the conventional style. As such, you should use the same approach. It’s important to recognize that while the two deadlift styles look different there are two main similarities. While the trendline is still similar in women, you’ll have a higher percentage of either lift at each end of the body-weight spectrum. Check out my article on whether you should squat and deadlift on the same workout. Jason is the Owner of The Strength Guys, and Matt Gary is the owner of Supreme Sports Performance & Traning and the former National Team Head Coach for USA Powerlifting. For the sumo deadlifts, you’ll have greater knee extension, which places more loading demand on the quads. As such, the loading demands for which muscles are used will change. This is because the angle of your femur and hip is greater. If there is any correlation, it has been shown that lower weight classes lifters tend to prefer sumo, especially women, and higher weight class lifters tend to prefer conventional. The research is still undecided about whether glutes are more active in one style over another. Sumo deadlift = shoulders in line with the bar in the start position. Lifters with long limbs tend to be at a mechanical advantage when performing the conventional deadlift in … There are differences in how the femur and pelvis come together, where the hip socket is located on the pelvis, and how the femur is rotated. This site is owned and operated by PowerliftingTechnique.com. On the other hand, in the sumo deadlift, your shoulders should be directly in line with the bar: There are other subtleties to each of the lifts, especially when it comes to the angles of the hips and shins in relation to the bar. Because of the change in angles between the conventional and sumo deadlift, there is going to be different stress placed on the knee and hip extensors to lift the weight. Conventional vs Sumo deadlift? This trend is a bit more prominent in men. You certainly don’t want to force an athlete to be in a mechanical position that feels uncomfortable. Pre-existing injuries and other related conditions aside, I can’t think of a single type of lifter that should only perform Sumo OR Conventional Deadlifts. Related ARticle: Top 10 Deadlift Alternatives. Deciding whether to do conventional or sumo also depends on your overall bodyweight. This is in contrast to other deadlifting styles like the sumo deadlift or … However, if you fall somewhere in the middle bodyweight classes, you might need to do a bit more experimentation between the two styles to see which one will work best. On the other hand, in the sumo deadlift, your shoulders should be directly in line with the bar. In short…yes. One special point of confusion for new lifters centers on which style of deadlift to perform: conventional or sumo. 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