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Thread: Deadlift programing: sumo in competition, conventional in training?

  1. #1

    Deadlift programing: sumo in competition, conventional in training?

    My sumo pull is significantly stronger than my conventional pull. But while pulling sumo feels perfectly fine while doing it, for about a week afterwards I have strong adductor and quad pain once I load said muscles in training which cripples all of my lower body training. Thus I use sumo only very rarely for testing and competition.

    The main deadlift variations I use in training are conventional deadlifts and 2inch deficit SLDLs, which I do mostly at the end of my sessions, usually following a squat and a bench movement. I have also imposed a technical max on my conventional deadlifts because I start rounding my back exceeding an RPE of 8.

    Does anyone have an idea on how I can improve my competition deadlift without doing the movement itself besides what I've been doing?
    Does anyone know movements with a good carry over to sumo deadlifting?

    Thanks a lot for your efforts in advance - I would be glad to get some pointers!

  2. #2
    When you do pull Sumo what is your programming like? Maybe you go too heavy too soon? You might need to give your body time to adapt to the new mobility requirements presented by Sumo. Generally you should practice how you play

  3. #3
    I agree with ChadHydro. I would start with a lighter load and a little more frequency to see if you can get used to it.

    It is true that some people just aren't built to pull sumo, however. This is largely due to hip structure. From what you are describing though, it does not sound like this is your problem.

  4. #4
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    Could try Sumo from pins/blocks. I assume the tightness/pain is being exacerbated by the increased tension in the stretch at the bottom.

    Maybe try just doing singles for practice, and also keeping the adductors from being under prolonged tension.

    Using mats under the weights would be best, but could do the same method with pins if they are close enough together.

    wk 1. Sumo f/mats (5 mats), x1@7-8, 5 sets ot2m (on the 2nd minute)
    wk 2. Sumo f/mats (4 mats), x1@7-8, 5 sets ot2m
    wk 3. Sumo f/mats (3 mats), x1@8, 5 sets ot3m
    wk 4. etc. etc. until you get down to working off the ground..... assuming the preceding weeks alleviate some of the problem.

    I would also be rolling the piss out of my adductors, before and during warm-up sets.
    Laying the leg flat on the ground you can get in there pretty good with a barbell (with a good rotating sleeve) and work out some tightness. I also prefer massage work to stretching, especially with the groin. Last thing you want is some inflammation at the attachment of the pubis from trying to stretch a tight muscle. Better to get the muscle loose through massage then 'maybe' do some stretching....

  5. #5
    Thanks a lot for the answers first of all!

    @ChadHydro: Might definitely be a reason for that pain that I started too heavy on my sumo pulls. The first time I pulled sumo (about 9 months ago) I worked up to 200kgx5@8 deadstop, while my best conventional pull was about 185kgx5@9. I guess I went so heavy because I was thrilled about how strong I felt using this stance.
    I could never program my sumo deadlifts because of said issues they cause. I just tested them every 2-3 months or so and did some speed pulls each week (4 plates per side for a few singles) - that didn't cause any problems at all.
    Also, you're definitely right about the "you should practice how you play" part.

    @zmirvin: I will follow the suggestion you and ChadHydro made and try to get my body used to sumo pulls. I don't think my hip structure is the problem as well. The pain I experience is definitely muscular, located along the insertion points of the adductor magnus on the femurs and only flares up once I load my muscles with squats, sprinting, jumping, sumo pulling or other rather strenous activities. I first thought I might have periostitis because the pain goes so deep in my femurs, but strained adductors are much more likely.

    @GymRat: I really like the sumo pulls from blocks (I built some blocks just for that) to strengthen the sumo deadlift. I definitely agree with the stretch being one of the main reasons for the pain as well. That programing idea looks really good as well, however I think I can't pull an RPE 7-8 from blocks without pain at this point. I will also start rolling the adductors. I definitely tried stretching the muscle and while I think it doesn't do any damage in a non tight state, stretching is painful and not the way to go when I have those issues.

    Thanks again for all your suggestions! You really helped me a lot already. I will work up slowly on my sumo pulls from something I can definitely do without pain, roll my adductors a lot and keep working on my conventional pulls to preserve my strength.

    EDIT: Does anyone think using an adductor machine would be beneficial to prepare my adductors for the stress of sumo deadlifting?
    Last edited by BKlinger; 08-13-2014 at 06:56 AM. Reason: added adductor machine question

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKlinger View Post

    EDIT: Does anyone think using an adductor machine would be beneficial to prepare my adductors for the stress of sumo deadlifting?

    I previously had an adductor problem, and i think it was more due to my hips/glutes not taking their fair share and the adductors being over strained by picking up the slack.
    The adductor machine may help you if it is a weakness, or if you used it to do some pnf stretching (without needing a partner).
    But if its not a weakness problem in the adductors, probably not.

  7. #7
    I've recently run into this issue myself. I definitely seem to be more suited to Sumo than conventional. But I programmed a 9 RPE way too soon and it killed my knees. I'm slowly working up with some volume and getting my body to adapt to the new mobility requirements.
    Last edited by ChadHydro; 08-13-2014 at 09:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Hi!

    I've experienced some similar type of pain for a long time. But it's all better now. It might be a technical issue, I've never seen your form, so it's a longshot. But do you pull sumo with your feed rotated outwards? People (include myself) do this to get their hips closer to the barbell, and what happend to me is that my adductor took alot of strain, then it carries over to your Quad/hamstring and your lowerbody feels totally hammered.

    What I suggest you to try on the technical part is to pull sumo with your feet almost totally straight forward. This will take most of the load off your adductors, and translate it to your glutes, hips and back. Be sure that you don't already have pain when trying this. I expect that you already try to warm up your adductors pre sumo-deadlifting.

    If you look at alot of good sumo pullers they do this (Belayev, pozdeev). While there is lifters like Dan Green with his feet rotated alot outwards. But that doesn't mean this is best for you.

    Other than that, if it doesnt work, some convential training might be a solution. But there is nothing better than doing your competition lift. I've been pain-free in my adductor now for 1 month, smashing PR's every week. Feels good.
    Last edited by Dan; 08-15-2014 at 04:12 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    What I suggest you to try on the technical part is to pull sumo with your feet almost totally straight forward. This will take most of the load off your adductors, and translate it to your glutes, hips and back. Be sure that you don't already have pain when trying this. I expect that you already try to warm up your adductors pre sumo-deadlifting.
    I would qualify this and say if you do decide to try this, make it a gradual change.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    ...

    What I suggest you to try on the technical part is to pull sumo with your feet almost totally straight forward. This will take most of the load off your adductors, and translate it to your glutes, hips and back. Be sure that you don't already have pain when trying this. I expect that you already try to warm up your adductors pre sumo-deadlifting.

    If you look at alot of good sumo pullers they do this (Belayev, pozdeev).
    ...
    I'm not quite following. Are you saying :
    1) Start with toes forward and as you move up in weight let your toes start pointing outward (more with each set)?
    OR
    2) Even on 1RM efforts your toes should be facing forward.

    I'm a fan of their (especially Belyaev's) style and I don't think I've ever seen video of their toes forward. They both don't go all the way "toes to plates" but if you look they have their toes in the same direction as their knees.
    Could you provide pictures and/or video as an example?

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