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

It’s 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
    Wannabebig Member
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    Conventional Deadlift vs. Sumo Deadlift for Back Training?

    Hello everyone,

    In between sets today, I started to think about the differences between pulling sumo vs. conventional. I've always pulled sumo because, when I first learned how to deadlift (about 5 years ago), the proper form for this style stuck with me much more vividly than a conventional pull. However, my friend (and training partner) pulls in the conventional style. So, when it was my set, I tried to focus in on what muscles groups were contracting to execute the motion.

    I'm 5'9 with pretty good flexibility, so my starting position has the top of my thighs parallel to the ground, and my pelvis position, and consequently my back chain, is nearly vertical when I keep the bar on my shins. In a pull, I inhale, contract the abdominal core, and thrust out to lockout with what seems like a ton of emphasis on my quadriceps, adductors, and glutes compared to my back.

    On the other hand, a conventional deadlift seems to work the back more because of the starting position of the pelvis. With your feet closer together, the starting position of your pelvis is tilted more horizontally, recruiting more from what seems like the spinal erectors and the lower back group.

    Basically, my point is: does anyone perform both sumo and deadlift in their routine? I'm still on WBB1 and right now I do 265x8x2 pulling both sets sumo. Would it be more beneficial to pull one set sumo and one set conventional, or am I just making a mountain out of a mole hill here?

    By the way, i've been a dormant member for about 5 years now, but just recently started weightlifting again (I know, that's college and injury for you). This website has always provided me with a ton of great resources, both online and in person (Belial! It's Chris, the skinny asian kid you helped out my freshman year). Now that I train with purpose, i've gone from 140 lbs (starting weight freshman year of college) to 152 lbs (weight at the time of graduation, 100% beer and terrible senior year, have-to-cook-for-yourself diet by the way) to 182 lbs (now MS1; approximately 2.5 months of training, still fat, but good fat - if there's such a thing). It's a great feeling hitting the gym and going from 95 lb deadlifts to 265 lb reps.

    So, thanks WBB!

    Edit: My signature is so old, that new year's resolution is almost 5 year's old. Better late than never I guess.

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  3. #2
    Amateur Strongman Dinosaur's Avatar
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    The biggest pullers stick to conventional, I personally think conventional is the best way to go.

  4. #3
    The Man of Steel -Superman-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur
    The biggest pullers stick to conventional, I personally think conventional is the best way to go.
    :withstupi
    I am not an all-star deadlifter but I have been using conventional. I don't want to have to tell how much I deadlift to some moron and find out he doesn't agree with my sumo stance and says my deadlift isn't legit. I keep everything with common standards.
    Last edited by -Superman-; 11-10-2006 at 11:08 PM.
    From 155 lbs to 200 lbs (PICS/VIDS INCLUDED)

    Height: 6'0"; BW: 202lbs; Age: 24; BF: ~11%
    155lbs [07-01-06] 176lbs [09-14-06] 179lbs [09-21-06] 182lbs [10-02-06] 184lbs [10-18-06] 186lbs [10-23-06] 187lbs [11-08-06] 189lbs [11-19-06] 190lbs [11-21-06] 191lbs [12-21-06] 194lbs [12-31-06]

    Bench: 250lbs; Squat: 350lbs lbs; Deadlift: 430 lbs

    Military: 111lbsx8; Dips: BWx30; Pullups: BWx10; WChestP: 360lbsx7; 45LegP: 470lbsx20; C Raise: 360lbs; BB Curl: 105lbsx3; Lat Pull: 195lbsx5

  5. #4
    Senior Member HeavyBomber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur
    The biggest pullers stick to conventional, I personally think conventional is the best way to go.
    I disagree but you're right about the majority of huge deadlifts being performed conventional.

    I have done them both ways for years and I am stronger on sumo no doubt about it.

  6. #5
    Iron4Life
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    I think that you use much more quad/ham/glute pulling sumo style.. and less back/erectors. So for balance, I think you want to throw some conventional into your program.. or perhaps SLDLs.

    Unless you are looking to compete... then you are going to have to find out which one you are stronger at.

  7. #6
    eater of food dw06wu's Avatar
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    Conventionals emphasize spinal erectors.

    Sumos shift a lot of weight to the hips, glutes, and hams.

    If you are having lower back problems, stick to sumo. Otherwise, at least for me, you can probably pull more conventional style.
    bests:
    bp 335x1 (unequipped), sq 430x5 belt, dl 475x1 sumo (unequipped)
    ----------------------------
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  8. #7
    Read the Stickies! whiteman90909's Avatar
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    I used to perform sumo, but switched to conventional because I felt that my back was a weakness of mine.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Jinkies's Avatar
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    I've heard from a physics major that sumo is alot more stable and should be able to progress farther then conventional due to the tripod effect.

    I still won't do it though, im all about the back.

  10. #9
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    Hmmm I have injured my back just about a month ago. I stopped working out for a month and started getting back into it. Massage person said it may have been a torned ligament around L5 or L6 (I forgot which one he said).

    So I guess I'll stick to the sumo for now.
    5'7 425 lbs. 85% bodyfat Need to gain 20-40 lbs.

    New journal - http://wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=86957 Boring I know, but whatever.

  11. #10
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    Conventional may give you more power, but sumo may be safer, in terms that you might be less likely to injure your back. I must add that if you do conventional properly, with good form, it should be mostly legs, not that much back! Just an observation

  12. #11
    Information Sinkhole Absolute's Avatar
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    I do sumo because it feels more natural to me. Conventional is a bit awkward and I don't feel as stable as when I'm pulling sumo.
    SAM and FRODO tie up GOLLUM.
    GOLLUM: No! Smeagol not into ropes, nassty kinky hobbitses.
    FRODO: We just want you to take us to Mordor, you sicko.
    GOLLUM: Mordor? Hobbitses having little Goth phase, maybe? Very angsssty, wanting to go to Mordor, yes yes. Can Smeagol offer black eyeliner to angsssty hobbitses?
    SAM: You stop talking to Mr.--hmm. (to FRODO) You know, you wouldn't look half bad in eyeliner.

  13. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FasTraxx94
    I'm 5'9 with pretty good flexibility, so my starting position has the top of my thighs parallel to the ground, and my pelvis position, and consequently my back chain, is nearly vertical when I keep the bar on my shins. In a pull, I inhale, contract the abdominal core, and thrust out to lockout with what seems like a ton of emphasis on my quadriceps, adductors, and glutes compared to my back.
    This is not the optimal way to do a conventional deadlift. You're essentially doing deadlifts with the starting position for an olympic pull. A deadlift is not a squat with the bar in front of you. Using your quads to move the bar will take you forever to crack the bar off the floor.

    You should only go low enough to the point where you're keeping an arch in your back.

  14. #13
    Wannabebig Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlifter
    This is not the optimal way to do a conventional deadlift. You're essentially doing deadlifts with the starting position for an olympic pull. A deadlift is not a squat with the bar in front of you. Using your quads to move the bar will take you forever to crack the bar off the floor.

    You should only go low enough to the point where you're keeping an arch in your back.
    Hmm, I was under the impression that this was the way to do sumo deadlifts. I should have been a bit clearer, I do sumo deadlifts now, but i'm thinking about doing alternating sets of both conventional and sumo.

    Everything i've ever read says to keep your back straight without an arch. Throughout the entire motion, my back is pretty much arrow straight. Are you supposed to start arched, lift, and then straighten?

  15. #14
    no matter what SaVvY's Avatar
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    to actually work the back, i find a wide grip dead to be the best, if i use a narrow grip (sumo or not) so my lats are getting crushed in somewhat, i find they just dont do any work

  16. #15
    Life is short..SO LIVE IT! Validus's Avatar
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    conventional has greatly increased my back and I love it. Although one of my friends swears by sumo so I just chalk it up to slight differences and mostly a question of preference.

  17. #16
    Wannabebig Member
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    I JUST recently started training sumo and wow it is very easy! I already made a personal best in that lift my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time trying it. The ROM is just so small it makes life a whole lot easier. With sumo though, proper from is a must when the weights starting getting heavy.. with conventional sloppy explosive forms works even in max efforts.

  18. #17
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Good thread... but sooo old
    Sarvamangalam!

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