Conventional Deadlifting or Nah?

Conventional Deadlifting has been put back on the shelf. I originally decided to switch to conventional deads because:

  1. I was afraid that my right knee would no longer support sumo style
  2. I watched some recent videos of myself deadlifting and my sumo had started to look like a conventional/sumo hybrid meaning my body wasn’t happy with sumo deads any more.

I came back in town after a week of only kettlebell work and some Controlled Articular Rotation work and decided to switch back.

Here’s why:

  • The switch to conventional deadlifting wasn’t because my conventional was stronger. I checked and I pull about 100lbs less conventional than I do sumo. Granted, my current best sumo is about 500lbs which represents a 65lb drop from my best ever sumo pull in the gym and about 51lbs below my best competition pull but it’s still higher than my conventional. I think you should pull the way that you’re best suited to pull and it also supports other lifts I enjoy, like Zerchers and Zerchers from the floor.
  • I’m pretty sure that I’ll try Armlifting at some point and sumo pulling is part of all of the deadlift style movements so it makes sense to perfect my sumo pulling.
  • I think that part of why my sumo has declined is my hip mobility has gone down so I’m no longer getting in a good start position to initiate the pull. So in today’s training session, I did some Hip CARs and showed my lower lumbar some love then started pulling. Ended up with a nice Double Overhand Sumo Pull at 350lbs before throwing on the straps to take grip out of the equation and focus on pulling.


So with all of that info, I’ve decided to stick with what was working and just improve my mobility so I can get into better positions to perform.

Bye, bye conventional deadlifting; back to sumo

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on



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