What Deadlift is best?
Before I get to far into this understand this about the deadlift.
Key Factors to take in consideration:
- Your hip structure will impact your strength and comfort in the conventional and sumo deadlift much more than factors like height and limb lengths.
- There are no factors that make either the conventional or the sumo deadlift inherently easier or harder. It’s more a matter of individual strengths and weaknesses.
- Hip extension demands are nearly identical between the conventional and sumo deadlifts. Conventional pulls are a little easier on your quads, and sumo pulls are a little easier on your back.
- To determine which deadlift style will be best for you, just train both of them for a few months, and stick with the one that’s the strongest and most comfortable with submaximal loads. If that style is weaker with maximal loads, then it’s easy to identify the specific weakness that’s holding you back.
Now its Been a while since I’ve been able to write so as usual, I Am about to go on one of my usual 7-10 minute rambles so be warned because when you start reading you wont be able to stop hahaha.
At least once per month, I get a question along the lines of “given my build (insert height, arm length, inseam length, etc., here), would I be better off deadlifting or sumo?”
My response is always a variation of, “train both for a while, then stick with whichever is strongest and most comfortable.” and “if you plan to Clean and Snatch you need to be able to conventional deadlift”
Sometimes, I fear, this comes across as a dismissive answer. However, it’s actually the best one because, quite frankly, there’s no surefire way to determine which deadlifting style will be best for you and if your going to CrossFit you need to be able to oly lift. To be honest, If there was an answer to your best deadlift, it would likely be based on an x-ray of your hips, not arm and leg measurements thats for sure. Also just because you struggle with one and not the other usually has more to do more with mobility and core strength.
The real Defining Point – Hip Structure
When it comes down to straight physical structure on what will be your better lift when approaching it just from a Deadlift view… Whether you’re stronger in straight-ahead hip flexion (favouring the conventional deadlift) or hip flexion with hip abduction (favouring the sumo deadlift) depends, in large part, on your hip structure. I’ll spare you the technical anatomical terms, but in simple terms, pelvises come in all shapes and sizes, hip sockets can be located farther forward or farther back on a pelvis, those hip sockets can be shallower or deeper, the angle of the femur where it meets the pelvis can vary, and there’s also some variation in how rotated the femur is where it meets the pelvis.
Those five distinct variables will determine both the range of motion your hips can go through, and the amount of muscular tension you can develop in different hip positions.
Isn’t a Sumo Shorter Range of Motion? so its easier?
Some people have the idea that sumo deadlifts should be easier because they allow for a shorter range of motion.
Does that notion hold any water?
No, not really.
It IS true that sumo deadlifts allow for a shorter range of motion. (or at least validated – it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s minimally observant) that a sumo deadlift has a ~20-25% shorter range of motion than a conventional deadlift.
However, the difference in range of motion doesn’t really matter. Yes, it DOES mean that a conventional deadlifter needs to do 20-25% more mechanical work to complete a lift, but
Most maximal deadlifts take 5 seconds or less to complete. Even the grindiest deadlift is usually locked out within 10 seconds. Your muscles have enough stored ATP and phosphocreatine to ensure that maximal outputs lasting shorter than 8-10 seconds won’t be limited by energy production. The difference in mechanical work would likely make a difference in a deadlift-for-reps challenge, but not when talking about a 1rm attempt. In other words, stance width influences the ability to, say, deadlift 405 for 40 reps in under a minute, but not necessarily the maximum amount of weight someone can lift (in a general sense, though one variation will likely be stronger for you than the other.)
It’s worth mentioning that the only two 1,000lb. deadlifters both pull conventional, and the majority of the 900+lb. deadlifts performed thus far have been conventional deadlifts, so even if a shorter range of motion does offer a slight advantage, it hasn’t manifested itself at the very top levels.
So get to the point Stouty.. what are the differences?
When looking at the demands of the sumo and conventional deadlift, there are only two major differences.
are harder on your quads. When the bar broke the ground, knee moment was approximately 3x higher for sumo deadlifts than conventional deadlifts. This was also reflected in another deadlift study Escamilla did, looking at EMG data. EMG readings for the quads were higher in the sumo deadlift than the conventional deadlift. If you want to read that study here the link : Escamilla Study
are harder on your spinal erectors off the floor. Data from another study found on NCBI by Cholewicki shows that spinal extension demands are approximately 10% higher in the conventional deadlift. Since the torso is inclined farther forward at the start of the lift, it’ll take a harder contraction of the spinal erectors to keep the back extended as the bar breaks off the floor.
If you feel like “geeking” out and enjoy reading studies on biotechnology in health then a great resource is National Center for Biotechnology Information
and the PubMed Central (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
I spend way to many hours here.
No matter What deadlift you decide is better for you to use when pulling maximal loads or multiple reps we still need to be able to conventional deadlift as it is the base for the initial pull in any olympic lift from the floor. (Clean & Snatch)
But when we go looking for a max rep maybe Sumo is right for you and more safe.. Hence in CrossFit we train all of the above and more. The focus for us is being able to pick things up of the floor safely and effectively and when we test max loads it is just for reference to wether our training is effective and are we getting stronger, faster ect.
Today we will be using the Sumo Dead lift and I really want you to focus on position of the spine vs shoulder position when comparing it to your conventional Dead. You should notice it is easier to keep your spine aligned in the sumo but easier to keep the shoulders pulled back in the Conventional Deadlift. Also pay attention to the difference in which leg muscles are affected in the sumo vs your conventional.
have fun, be safe and lift some weight.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Focus: 15 Minutes
Sumo Deadlift 3RM
7 rounds for time of:
10 Sumo-deadlift 185/135
10 Ring dips
7 rounds for time of:
10 Sumo-deadlift 155/105
10 Box dips
7 rounds for time of:
10 Sumo-deadlift 135/95
10 box dip
Check back each night at 8pm for the next days WOD