Sumo Newbie Tips

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
So my lifting coach has suggested that I lay off my clean pulls for a while and do a cycle of Sumo deadlifts to get some carry over to my front squat by beefing up my quads more without requiring me to go heavier than needed on front squats, relative to my clean (typical ratio is clean 85-90% of FSQ).

While playing around with sumo last night using baby weight, it felt good, but after trying different stance widths, I had a hard time figuring out which was optimal.

What should I be looking for in a sumo set up?
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I think the big key is spreading against the bar. Hit the bar with your shins vertical, then descend so that your knees push out, out, out, and wedge your hips as close to the bar as you can, look up, have your chest high, and lift.

The stance width is something to try out. If your mobility lets you, do different widths, feel out where you feel the strongest. I can go toes to plates but I can't lift as much or as comfortably as I can slightly narrower. But when I go even narrower on occasion, I find my body wants to go wider as it's just more efficient for me. Like if I do a long set that gets hard I find I instinctively go a tiny bit wider between reps.

Typically the sumo is hard off the floor and easy once one get it moving. The opposite of conventional for me. With a wide stance the difference in range of motion is really noticeable. I find I can do significantly more volume with light weights with sumo than with conventional.
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
I find I can do significantly more volume with light weights with sumo than with conventional.
Granted it was my first time and the weights were low, but I was banging out sets of 5 with much less fatigue than I expected.

It felt closer in some ways to a snatch grip deadlift.
 

Timo Keskitalo

Level 4 Valued Member
Sumo is much more about leg drive. (And hip extension?) I feel that because of weak hamstrings I'm nowhere near what I used to be. But I might be wrong, I'm no expert in biomechanics(?).

Now, or before my training break, sumo was slightly weaker than squat, while dl was about there in relation to squat. In my best years sumo and conventional were about the same but I didn't train conventional. I trained for geared lifting, and you could lift sumo wearing your squat suit back-to-front. My choice.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Watch Ed Coan on YouTube talk about the difference between sumo and conventional. Summary: sumo is more dependent on technique. I’ve had it happen to me, sumo, that I could do a set of 5 with a particular weight but 10 lbs heavier and I couldn’t get it off the ground.

-S-
 

godjira1

Level 5 Valued Member
I have had similar experience with Steve Freides on sumo - I pulled 150kg easy, and 155kg did not move. It is a bit of a mystery to me what optimal technique is for Sumo. Good luck anyway, am sure u will find your own way!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor

Yes, @godjira1, the same thing for me, at almost the same weights, too. I got 335 lbs, which is 152 kg, at home for 5 reps in training, but 345 lbs, which is 156.5 kg, wouldn't go.

BTW, from my understanding of sumo deadlift, both of us should be faulted for your technique, because a proper sumo deadlift, for most people and most of the time, will come off the floor but may be difficult to lockout.

Ed Coan, technician that he was/is, tells of pulling conventional for most of a training cycle then switching to sumo as the meet was a few weeks away.

I'd start your watching here:

And don't forget the in-between, narrow sumo. Here is probably the most famous DL'er to use that stance, John Inzer. Note the feet are almost as if in conventional, just a bit wider.


-S-
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member

Yes, @godjira1, the same thing for me, at almost the same weights, too. I got 335 lbs, which is 152 kg, at home for 5 reps in training, but 345 lbs, which is 156.5 kg, wouldn't go.

BTW, from my understanding of sumo deadlift, both of us should be faulted for your technique, because a proper sumo deadlift, for most people and most of the time, will come off the floor but may be difficult to lockout.

Ed Coan, technician that he was/is, tells of pulling conventional for most of a training cycle then switching to sumo as the meet was a few weeks away.

I'd start your watching here:

And don't forget the in-between, narrow sumo. Here is probably the most famous DL'er to use that stance, John Inzer. Note the feet are almost as if in conventional, just a bit wider.


-S-
Wow those explosions.

Like a 1980s hair metal concert.
 

james_1127

Level 5 Valued Member
I always find SUMO awkward... with that being said I usually find it better if my stance isn't quite so wide (feet usually around the rings)
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
I always find SUMO awkward... with that being said I usually find it better if my stance isn't quite so wide (feet usually around the rings)
So far, I'm finding it very comfortable.

That being said, I'm being very cautious, not trying to pull heavy yet, messing around and learning it at ~50% of my clean DL weights.
 

Starlord

Level 2 Valued Member
Yeah, it (the DL one) is a little ranty....
Matt Wenning is an incredible source of knowledge. I was going to type out a long, wordy response but if Ed Coan and Matt Wenning have been referenced then you don't need my help.

Especially when they are 2 sources I used to better my deadlifts.
 
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