Strength & Conditioning Blog 3: Sumo or Conventional, which deadlift is right for you?
What’s up everyone? I hope that all of you are doing well and are striving to make all kinds of gains. Todaywe are going to talk about to deadlifts and what technique you should incorporate into your program according to your goals. We are going to go over 3 categories that in my humble opinion is important when choosing how you are going to pull; those three being Strength, Hypertrophy, and longevity/well-rounded fitness.
In order to determine which deadlift you should pull, you are going to have to go through a
period of trial and error. The reason for this is because due to leavers, muscle insertions, genetics and
prior injuries, there is going to be one particular position that you are naturally better at pulling from. For reasons that I will talk about in the longevity section; I prefer to pull sumo but I am to consistently pull heavier loads using conventional. Because of my levers and It is my natural pull. Therefore it is my strongest. If you are looking to be a competitive strength athlete such as a powerlifter you might want to structure your program around your natural Strengths. For example, if you tend to be quad dominate in regards to your legs try giving Sumo a go for a block.
Hypertrophy can get a little tricky. You would think that for hypertrophy you would pull
from the position that you are naturally stronger from but this is not the case. If you would like to target
the hamstrings than conventional is going to be the way to go. If you are to grow your quads and glutes
the Sumo is superior. I know that deadlifts are not commonly used as a hypertrophy exercise but from my experience the sumo deadlift gives you an awesome pump in your quads once you start reaching 60% of your 1RM and start splitting the floor; so give it a shot. And one training session isn't giving the technique a honest try. Give the training a good 5 weeks and then decide if it is for you or not. Pick the pull that targets the desired muscle group and perform 4-5 sets 65-75% of 1RM for 6-8 reps.
Longevity/Well Rounded Fitness
Even though I am naturally stronger at conventional, when I reach 80% and above it is super
taxing on my lower back and I have to suffer the consequences for a couple of weeks. As for sumo it does not behoove me to pull too wide because I have had a prior ACL surgery. By dedicating a solid mesocycle to training with a friend I was able to figure out that I was a naturally good frog-sumo puller
and a decent mid-range sumo puller. I find that It doesn’t matter if I go 85% or higher; I do not feel any pain in my lower back. Needless to say for longevity reasons I mostly pull frog or mid sumo. If you are looking to incorporate a variation of deadlift into your program just so that you hit the big three lifts, I suggest you go with the deadlift that you are able to pull comfortably and that allows you to stay injury free.
I hope that this will help you to make a decision on you pulling journey. Let’s all strive for more and
never settle for less. Peace