The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    conventional/sumo pulling

    I pull best at sumo but want to see what my weaknesses are. When I do conventional, I am slow at the bottom of the pull but strong at lockout. However, when I pull sumo I am fast at bottom but slow at lockout. What weakness does this sound like? I am suspecting lower back and/or hamstrings are weak. Have no access to a GHR. Any ideas to improve? Wide squats?

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  3. #2
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
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    I'm not a pro but it sounds like glutes/hams to me..

    try GMs and heavy RDLs as well as glute thrusts & bridges..

    if your ass is shooting up doing conventional, I would say it's your lower back and lots of GMs are in your future..


    just my $.02
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  4. #3
    powerlifter in training Liftersize's Avatar
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    im going to say weak quads
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  5. #4
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    What are you trying to improve?

    Your sumo pull is fast off the floor because you can load your hamstrings a lot.
    Your conventional pull is slow off the floor because you can't load your hamstrings and/or they are weak.

    Your sumo pull is slow at the lockout because your glutes are too weak for it (think relatively, comparing glutes to your hip flexors), and the leverage is bad.
    Your conventional pull is fast at lockout because the leverage is good.

    Think TALL when you lift. You should not be using your low back to lift weights. It's inefficient and dangerous.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceGoyke View Post
    What are you trying to improve?

    Your sumo pull is fast off the floor because you can load your hamstrings a lot.
    Your conventional pull is slow off the floor because you can't load your hamstrings and/or they are weak.

    Your sumo pull is slow at the lockout because your glutes are too weak for it (think relatively, comparing glutes to your hip flexors), and the leverage is bad.
    Your conventional pull is fast at lockout because the leverage is good.

    Think TALL when you lift. You should not be using your low back to lift weights. It's inefficient and dangerous.
    Its hard to say all that without seeing his form. And yes you should be using your back to lift weights, if you think your not your only fooling yourself. Form from sumo to conventional can change alot. But i would agree that it could be a glute weakness as far as the sumo lockout goes.

  7. #6
    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    After pulling today, I discovered the mistakes I've made. First was wearing the belt too low on the waist. I raised it up an inch and it was much more supportive for my sumo pulling. Second was neglecting upper back/trap work. I started doing BB high pulls since and stapled it as an assistance movement. I thought BB/DB rows and shrugs were good enough but I was wrong.

    PMJSully, I'm afraid to do GM's based on bad experience and no one around to help me teach form/technique. My ass doesn't shoot up first, I corrected that issue in the past though!

    AMLanceGoyke, I think tall all the time. Mostly conventional stance

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by themavinator View Post
    Its hard to say all that without seeing his form. And yes you should be using your back to lift weights, if you think your not your only fooling yourself. Form from sumo to conventional can change alot. But i would agree that it could be a glute weakness as far as the sumo lockout goes.
    It's not that hard, those things are tremendously common. I wish I had added loading of the quads in the sumo stance, though, because that's the biggest plus.
    Using the back is inefficient for strength. Use the hamstrings, save your back, and be strong. Learning how to use the obliques and diaphragm are the most efficient method of stabilizing your low back.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    AMLanceGoyke, I think tall all the time. Mostly conventional stance
    It's a great cue because it helps a lot with every exercise.

    Hit the hamstrings hard, it'll help you off the floor. Pulling sumo is a way around it with more quad loading, and almost everyone is quad dominant. In addition, shorter arms work better with a sumo pull, but I don't know how long your arms are.

  9. #8
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    What do you mean by think tall?

    Thanks.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickAus View Post
    What do you mean by think tall?

    Thanks.
    Try to make yourself as tall as you can.
    Or try to lengthen your spine up through your head.

    It'll reflexively put your spine in the right position AND turn the right muscles, namely your obliques.

    Just make sure you're getting tall and not just leaning back.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceGoyke View Post
    It's not that hard, those things are tremendously common. I wish I had added loading of the quads in the sumo stance, though, because that's the biggest plus.
    Using the back is inefficient for strength. Use the hamstrings, save your back, and be strong. Learning how to use the obliques and diaphragm are the most efficient method of stabilizing your low back.



    It's a great cue because it helps a lot with every exercise.

    Hit the hamstrings hard, it'll help you off the floor. Pulling sumo is a way around it with more quad loading, and almost everyone is quad dominant. In addition, shorter arms work better with a sumo pull, but I don't know how long your arms are.


    Actually, almost no one is quad dominant. Someone please back me up on this one.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by themavinator View Post
    Actually, almost no one is quad dominant. Someone please back me up on this one.
    Hmmm... what exactly do you mean? Are you going with the Wendler definition that "people aren't quad dominant, they're hamstring WEAK"?

  13. #12
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    man i think yall just helped me alot

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    PMJSully, I'm afraid to do GM's based on bad experience and no one around to help me teach form/technique. My ass doesn't shoot up first, I corrected that issue in the past though!
    I'm replying to say that you really should be doing good mornings. Without access to a GHR (which leads me to believe you don't have access to reverse hyper either), good mornings as an assistance exercise are absolutely ESSENTIAL. There's a reason they're done so often at Westside and all over. Building up your GM will make your back unbelievably strong, and it will do great things for both your deadlift AND squat.

    Every few weeks, I use the GM as a ME exercise but most of the time I use it for assistance work. I do various types of GM's in the 3-12 rep ranges as a second exercise for every ME/DE lower day I have, and I couldn't be happier with the results. It's one of the best indicator lifts there are for me, meaning when my good morning goes up in weight then undoubtedly my squat and deadlift will too.

    There's no reason to be "afraid" of doing GM's, they're no more dangerous than any of the big 3. Just become familiar with it before you push it to maximal weights. Put the time in getting a lot of reps at lower weights to perfect your form and become comfortable with the exercise, it will help a lot. Do all types of good mornings too. Do them with a SSB, a cambered bar, while seated, off of pins, off of chains, with bands, with chains, etc. Make sure to push your hips/ass back as far as you can to initiate the movement, keep your chest up, try to get to parallel with the floor but stop if you're going to lose your arch or round your lower back, then push your traps into the bar and raise your chest as much as you can.

    My last tip would be to try it off of chains or off of pins for your first time, it'll give you that extra added sense of security knowing there's something there to hold the weight at the bottom in between each rep. Just make sure when you're actually performing the GM, don't turn it into a quarter squat (which I've seen countless, even elite lifters do). The GM and the squat work the posterior chain in very different ways, don't cheat yourself out of the results the GM can bring you just because you can put up more weight when you turn the lift into a quarter squat. 1/2 and 1/4 ARE good movements to use, but they are not the same thing as a good morning. You'll know whether or not you're doing a GM or a quarter squat by how much weight you're putting up. You can't GM as much as you can squat, and you can't squat as much as you can quarter squat.

  15. #14
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    I pull best at sumo but want to see what my weaknesses are. When I do conventional, I am slow at the bottom of the pull but strong at lockout. However, when I pull sumo I am fast at bottom but slow at lockout. What weakness does this sound like? I am suspecting lower back and/or hamstrings are weak. Have no access to a GHR. Any ideas to improve? Wide squats?
    Lots of lat and trap work has added a lot to my Sumo recently (along with plenty of block pulls).

    I realized the other day that keeping correct posture/position while pulling Sumo has more to do with upper back than lower back.

    Hit the lats and traps hard and your lock-out will improve and also help you keep correct posture.
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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceGoyke View Post
    Hmmm... what exactly do you mean? Are you going with the Wendler definition that "people aren't quad dominant, they're hamstring WEAK"?
    I would say yes thats what i mean. I guess if you are talking about a person who has never trained before it could be possible to be quad dominant . But i think with someone who lifts its weak hamstrings but probably more specifically, lack of ability to use the hamstrings effectively.
    I do agree with you in that you should definitely be breaking the weight off the ground with the hamstrings and glutes pulling sumo or conventional. But like you said that is alot harder to do (load them) with a conventional stance.
    Last edited by themavinator; 11-13-2010 at 09:13 PM.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by themavinator View Post
    I would say yes thats what i mean. I guess if you are talking about a person who has never trained before it could be possible to be quad dominant . But i think with someone who lifts its weak hamstrings but probably more specifically, lack of ability to use the hamstrings effectively.
    I do agree with you in that you should definitely be breaking the weight off the ground with the hamstrings and glutes pulling sumo or conventional. But like you said that is alot harder to do (load them) with a conventional stance.
    I actually meant pretty much everybody. It's a blanket statement, I know, so try not to get caught up in it.

    Man, I've been training for almost six years for hockey and powerlifting, and I have to say, my quads are ridiculous, but my hamstrings don't do ****. They will NOT turn on. Would you be surprised if I told you my RDLs and Good Mornings were quad dominant? It stings to hear, but the truth hurts I guess.

    You're totally on to something talking about people being able to use the hamstring effectively, though. I wish more people understood there are muscles on the back of their thighs that aren't just for post-step aerobics stretching!

  18. #17
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    How the heck are your goodmornings quad dominant?
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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickaus View Post
    how the heck are your goodmornings quad dominant?

    thankyou!

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickAus View Post
    How the heck are your goodmornings quad dominant?
    It happens when you stabilize your hip with your quads, and the actual movement of hip extension comes from the glutes (or you get low back extension instead), NOT the hamstrings.

    That's how!

  21. #20
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    Well i guess i understand, cause i'm biceps dominant when i bench so i could see what your saying.

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by themavinator View Post
    Well i guess i understand, cause i'm biceps dominant when i bench so i could see what your saying.
    Exactly. How else are you supposed to hit teh gunz?

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