Zach Homol – @ZachHomolPower
From the outside looking in, the deadlift seems to be one of the most basic movements done in the weight room. Simple: pick it up, put it back down. If only this were to be true, ha! As we know, the deadlift is much more than just picking up a loaded barbell, screaming like a crazy person then putting it back down. Deadlifting requires a strong grip, shoulders, traps, lats, lower back, glutes, hamstring quads, calves, neck, etc. To become a great deadlifter, EVERYTHING MUST BE STRONG!
I personally do approximately 60-70% of my deadlift training conventional, even though I pull heavier sumo and sumo in meets. My reason being can be for another article sometime, just note that it will NEVER hurt to be strong in both stances. If you have never tried the alternate stance, you should, and whichever stance is STRONGEST you should use in competition whether it is backed by popular demand or not! Some believe sumo is “cheating” but in all the meets I’ve attended or participated in, the human being who conventional deadlifted 600lbs at 181lbs body weight always lost to the guy who sumo deadlifted 700lbs at 181lbs body weight. Don’t be subject to FADS be subject of STRENGTH.
Banded rack pulls have always been a staple in my training; conventional banded rack pulls at that. As I stated in the previous paragraph, I am a sumo deadlifter but the majority of my deadlift training is done conventional. I’ve found conventional deadlifting to be the best accessory movement for my sumo deadlift, while my programming is extremely specific to increase both stances through each training cycle. Meaning, my deadlift specific training cycle may show that I will be doing 70% of my training in a conventional stance, I will still be performing accessory movements to increase my sumo deadlift. Here is what a 1-day example may look like:
Tuesday: Deadlift day:
Main Movement: Conventional Deadlift: 6×3 Reset reps
Main Accessory: Ultra wide stance SS bar 12’’ box squats: 4×5
This movement is a GREAT accessory movement for GLUTE and HIP DEVLOPMENT. Box squats continually find their way into my training to build EXPLOSIVENESS out of the hole as well as strengthen my glutes and hips, feeding right into my sumo deadlift.
Following will be sub accessory movements, typically higher volume and a focus on general weaknesses. Remember, we are a CHAIN and we are only as strong as our WEAKEST LINK!
In writing this article I wanted to open up more eyes and potentially spark a few light bulbs: to know that there are ways and it is possible to strengthen a movement without doing the movement on a frequent basis. While on the other end I am a firm believer that in order to become better at something, you must practice that something. To become a stronger sumo deadlifter, you still must PRACTICE. To become a good lifter, you must PRACTICE. Note, there is a difference between PRACTICING and TRAINING. Just as there is a difference between watching game tape, foot drills, full pads, hitting drills and real games! Lifting is to a spot, see it as one, practice it as one, and you will become better!
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