Sumo Deadlift vs Conventional Deadlift

Pnigro

Triple-Digit Post Count
What are your thoughts on this?

Personally I prefer the sumo deadlift. It feels much better in every way.

I have my stance just wide enough to put my arms between my legs. I've seen people do it with a very wide stance, but I suppose that requires a greater deal of flexibility.

It's hard for me to start with a neutral spine in a conventional deadlift. I know hamstring flexibility plays a big role, but I also wonder if my geometry is just better suited for sumo.

I have no idea if I have short or long arms, torso and legs. Don't have any point of reference to conclude what my bone geometry is.
 

Kettlebelephant

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
It depends on your body structure and flexibility. There are charts out there that show which style you should use depending on your torso and limb lengths (http://www.elitefts.com/education/training/choosing-conventional-or-sumo-based-on-your-bone-structure/).
But they don't factor in flexibility.
Additionally sumo seems to be more hip dominant while conventional is harder on the erectors (This is purely based on my own experience and some anecdotal evidence from the internet).
I'd say just use whatever style feels best for you.
For what it's worth according to those charts i should be a conventional deadlifter and in fact i can pull 5-10% more conventional. But i still used sumo for half of my warm-up sets every time i deadlifted.
 

Pnigro

Triple-Digit Post Count
That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks!

According to that I have long torso and long arms, which means either style works fine in theory.

I do prefer sumo for many reasons, so I will stick to that and ocassionally do conventional.

PS. I wonder if there's a similar guideline for front squats, I've always struggled to keep a vertical torso.
 

Kettlebelephant

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I never came across something like this for squats, but generally long femurs and short torso makes for a bad squatter while short femurs and long torso makes squatting very easy.
Sure there are a lot more things to consider like flexibility and insertion points (how and in which angle your leg is attached to your hip), but if you have problems to stay upright i bet that your femurs are relatively long compared to your torso. Because of the long femurs you need to lean foreward a lot to keep the bar above your center of gravity (above your midfoot).
Here's a picture showing that: http://www.powerliftingtowin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/short-torso-vs-long-torso.jpg
To decrease the shown moment arm at the hips you have to widen your stance. Widening your stance can lead to other problems like e.g. increased chance of knee valgus.
 
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Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
For many people, me included, using the DL style that is not your favorite is excellent assistance work. I pull conventional but am currently in a sumo cycle to build strength where I don't have enough of it. For me, that' sleds, and sumo help me target them better.

-S-
 

Inuk

Triple-Digit Post Count
Pnigro

For a period, try finish your work outs with weighted reverse plank. That will build your core/midsection so you can keep a vertical torso under heavy front squats.

As for the deadlift, i prefer snatch grip deadlift and romanian.
 

Pnigro

Triple-Digit Post Count
Thanks for your input everyone.

I think one of the reasons I like the sumo (besides it feeling much better) is the fact that I almost never pick up things in real life with a narrow stance.

Say I'm going to pick up a heavy box from the floor, I usually make space with my legs so I can stand almost above it and then pick it up. Or same if I'm going to lift a couch or other furniture, I open my legs a little so I can get closer and reduce the moment arm.
 

Krabapplekid

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
If you cannot assume a neutral spine at the beginning of the conventional DL then Sumo away. Correct Sumo form combined with light weight will make you more flexible. Win win.
 

Colin Stewart

Double-Digit Post Count
Elite Certified Instructor
From personal experience recovering from a back injury, sumo allowed me to continue training pain free. I'm built more to lift conventionally but I can 'feel' my L4-5 disc injury when I pull heavy conventionally.

I couldn't honestly say why, but from my engineering background I'd guess that the sumo position allows me to have a more vertical (relatively speaking spine) than conventional, reducing any shear forces.

As a Coach, I've helped a few people recover from back surgery using the Sumo (obviously after a progression of physio, strength building and in conjunction with their physiotherapist).
 

Colin Stewart

Double-Digit Post Count
Elite Certified Instructor
I should say that my back is fine on a diet of heavy two handed swings and heavy snatches. Heavy TGU's seem to make it happy too.

The only time I have any 'issue' with my historical injury is when I chase greater than twice bodyweight in the conventional deadlift, chase reps with heavy single arm swings (44kg and up) or go mad with hardstyle sit ups (HLR's are fine). I only really 'deadlift in anger' for around 3 months a year in the 'dark months'.

The answer for me seems to be: Don't do those things as nothing else in my sport/life aggravates it.
 

Will Moore

Triple-Digit Post Count
I view the variants as tools in a box, to be used as needed. Personally, I DL in a neutral stance (power position) with double over-hand standard, read as no-hook, grip. I am willing to give up some pounds for the life transfer, so to speak. That said, with the benefits, which kettlebells have brought to the table, the DL is, for now, more or less something to do on off-days with my wife. Live well!
 

Chad Silverston

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
I do a mix of both for the best of both worlds. But ideally, your structure and mechanics will play a role on which would be best for you. Sumo tends to be a preferred lift because of the shorter range you have to pull.
 
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