My Favorite Assistance for Sumo

My Favorite Assistance for Sumo

Dec 16, 2014

In my sophomore year of high school I worked out with the sprinters during track season to get my speed up. I tried to stick with the guys who were running the 100 and the 200 because I had zero endurance, and I figured we wouldn’t be running any distances longer than that. Nobody told me that we would be running 300s, 400s, 600s, miles, and all other kinds of ridiculous distances longer than what I wanted to do. But what I didn’t realize until after the season, was that running all those longer distances helped me with my top speed in the shorter distances. You’re still running on a track, but those variations in distances helped me in my 100,200, and even my 40. This is the exact reason why the conventional deadlift is my favorite assistance exercise for sumo. Yes it’s a different variation or style, but it’s an exercise that is still helping my main lift. You’re still deadlifting, it just takes a little bit longer to get to the top.

I love conventional deadlift. There is something primal about it, you can just get down there and rip weight off the ground, and it’s also a great lower back exercise. I like to conventional on my heavy squat day and use it for light variation work, so I’ll program it at 65% of my sumo for 4×5. I focus on moving the bar as fast as possible since the weight is so light, and also not putting all the pressure on my lower back and try to incorporate my hips and butt throughout the lift. I also like to pull double overhand for as many sets and reps as possible to work on my grip, and if my double overhand fails I’ll switch to an alternate grip, and if that fails I’ll switch to my regular grip. I think this is reason I have never lost a deadlift to grip, and this is the first suggestion I tell people when they come to me about grip issues. I even double overhand conventional pull on my heavy deadlift days to warm up my lower back and get both of my hands ready for some real weight. So at this point in my lifting career you could say that I train my conventional more than my sumo, and I have seen a lot of carryover into my sumo in my lockout, and even my speed off the ground. But obviously if you are new to sumo stick with it twice a week to perfect the form, and you can go back to training your conventional once you’re comfortable with the sumo technique.

Morale of the story: conventional is awesome, it’s my favorite assistance for sumo, there is carryover between the variations, and deadlifts are the best deadlift assistance exercises for deadlift. A lot of people like to get fancy and do all kinds of band and chain stuff, or do hot, new exercises they see on the internet, but in the end to be a better deadlifter, you have to do full range of motion deadlifts. You also can’t be afraid to train both styles, as they will benefit each other. So if you’re reading this article and you just do one style of deadlift; step on over to the other side of the bar, you might like it.

455×5, raw conventional, no belt:

GB T.O.D.- Respect your elders, in life and in the game of iron




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