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Are you struggling with adding weight onto your sumo deadlift? Not sure how to include the sumo deadlift into your training program? Here are some quick fixes that are certain to help you pull more weight from the floor!

The other day I was working with a first time client. We we're testing to find his three rep max. Before working into a heavier weight, he had told me his previous one rep max for the sumo deadlift was 315. After evaluating his technique, we took some weight off the bar and performed a few practice sets. Right off the bat he was able to adjust his position, so we decided to add some weight on the bar. He worked his way up to 335 lbs x3 reps, fairly easily may I add. Projectively, he should be able to pul 365 from the floor. Thats 50 lbs in one day through a few quick fixes! These are the four cues that helped him:

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1. Toes out

With the toes pointed forward, you've nearly set the bar an extra inch in front of you, making the path to lock out a much farther way to travel. A 45 degree angle works just fine for most people. As you lower your hips to get positioned with the bar, push your knees out to the little toe.

2. Get behind the bar

From the gripping of the bar to the initial pull, it is important to keep everything lined up behind the bar. Knees, chest, shoulders, and head all need to stay back and up. This is very crucial mid pull as we have the natural tendency to let the load take us forward.

3. Spread the floor apart

As you begin your pull, visualize spreading the floor apart with your feet. This gets all the muscles in the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, etc) firing more efficiently. As the weight continues to come up, keep pushing the knees out towards the little toe. Do not let them cave in!

4. Pull!"

Notice how I've been using the term pull and not lift. After all, you aren't squatting the weight up. From the shins to the thighs, the bar should be in contact with your skin. This is why you see most powerlifters wear long socks. A good deadlift should tear apart your shins. So rather than just picking the bar up, picture dragging the bar up and into your body.

Can't Get 50 Pounds in One Day?

Im not going to blow sunshine up your butt and guarantee that each every one of you will add 50 lbs onto your deadlift in one day. The client shown above already had decent strength and was somewhat familiar with the movement pattern. These technical cues fixed the issues that we're limiting him from lifting with his full potential. For the majority, you need to continue working on your sumo deadlift and you need to be on a program. Plain and simple.

Its not as easy as just lifting more weight every time you get into the gym, and it sure won't do you or your spine any good if you're attempting to max out every session. You need a progressive overload and increase in intensity. Find a plan and stick to it! Dont know where to look? I've written a program for you.

Below I have included a four-week sumo deadlift cycle. You will need your 1RM (one rep max) in order to follow the program. Dont know what your 1RM is?Go to the gym, work up to the heaviest sumo deadlift you can do for one rep, then plug in your numbers using the percentages given below.

During this cycle, the relative intensity increases each week. This allows you to work on your technique with a heavier load, but not so heavy that you can't perform the set. You shouldn't miss any reps during this cycle. On week four, you will use your 1RM and perform as many reps as possible. Whether you do two reps or six reps, you've gotten stronger. If you can't get at least two reps for 100% on week four, you are doing something terribly wrong. It is important that you don't go straight into your work sets. You will benefit from 2-3 very light warm up sets and 2 warm up sets 10-20 and 20-40 lbs from your work sets.

Assistance Work

All exercises listed under the assistance work are suggestions. Because the deadlift is a lower body pull, I suggest doing a heavy lower body push. Squatting variations suit this component best. After your squatting pattern I suggest coupling a single leg exercise with a more isolated posterior chain exercise. Keep the reps in between 6-12 on these. Lastly, do some sort of static or dynamic trunk work.

Below is a suggested training split for this cycle.

Final Thoughts

From the novice lifter to the elite athlete, everyone can afford to get stronger and improve their technique. When your deadlift starts getting into the 400s, it takes perseverance, compliance to a program, and dedication to recovery to continue watching those numbers climb. With all that said, grab a barbell and get pulling!

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Posted in Fitness Post Date 01/21/2017


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