For those that don't know, I pull with my back a lot... so I'm considering switching to sumo to improve leverage and promote back health. My question is what changes? My back is pretty strong and my legs are relatively weak... does this fit into the model of sumo pulling or am I really gonna have to "start over"?
I'd like to have a good conversation on this topic of switching over and what qualities a good sumo puller should have.
Hip strength. It was the first thing I noticed when I started pulling sumo.
Off the floor was always the easiest part of the lift when I pulled conventional but pulling sumo it's the hardest... I find that if I can get the bar 2-3 inches off the floor it flies through the rest as long as I kept my hips down for the first part of the pull.
Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
I just made the switch for the same reasons as you. I lost about 15 pounds. My experience has been the same as yours - that the hardest part is getting it off the floor, but once it's up about half way it feels much lighter.
I just made the switch a few weeks ago as well. Both for SLDL's and reg sumo deads. I will never be going back to conventional. I too noticed my hips engage more, thats a good thing for me though as those need strengthening.
Hips, hips, and more hips.
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So my back and lockout are really strong... will this be beneficial to sumo at all? Or does back not matter as much with sumo?
I'd say some very important things to include for someone new to sumo are plently of technique work and box squats. I think pulling heavy conventional will help your sumo. I like training both, but I train conventional more often. Squatting wide, box squats, pull thrus, etc. really hit the hips hard. So if your sumo tecnhnique is good, you should not have to pull that way as often.
Just like any other movement, start light and get the form down. Then throw some weight on and see how you do.
Best Meet Lifts(Raw w/wraps):
@165- 435 SQ 270 BE 560 DL.....1255 total
@181- 515 SQ 295 BE 570 DL.....1375 total
Best Meet Lifts(Multi-ply):
@148- 575 SQ 315 BE 515 DL.....1400 total
@165- 680 SQ 380 BE 540 DL.....1555 total
@181- 700 SQ 375 BE 535 DL.....1605 total
Best Gym Lifts(Raw w/wraps)
515 SQ 302.5 BE 585 DL
One thing you probably should know (if you didn't already) is just about the dangers that Sumo Pulling can present if done continually without proper technique. You may seem to be doing it perfectly in the mirror but in one of Eric Cressey's articles on T-nation he discusses a common problem that can occur with the hips and lead to problems in that joint.
From an injury prevention standpoint, sumo pulling can really beat up your hips if you aren't careful with how you program. Some people simply aren't ready for wide-stance anything. It's not uncommon to see anterior joint capsule irritation and even strained adductors.
I was positive there was more about this but can't find it. Something about some part gliding forward.
Hope that may help
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As has been posted several times above its all in the hips. Some briefs will save some hip pain that can come from sumo sometimes.
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Thanks guys... like I said my back is very strong relative to my legs, so I was worried about not getting as much benefit out of that.
I may try to just fix my conventional form by strengthening my back more. Maybe SLDL and good mornings are in order. I've never done either of those consistently.
you should definatly give sumo a shot. Not replacing conventional or anything but it would surely help your pulling in general.
When you guys say hips, do you mean Hamstrings and Glutes, or do you mean some other muscles?