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Most people who start out in barbell lifting are familiar with conventional deadlifts. It’s typically the style of deadlifting we learn in traditional weightlifting gym setting, P.E., group fitness classes, and even rehabilitation settings to retrain hip hinge patterns. When it comes to sumo deadlifting, it is most commonly seen in the world of powerlifting. The question often gets asked, “should I pull sumo or conventional?” But to simplify this piece, we are actually not going to address that question here. What we want to cover in this piece, are considerations for new lifters to sumo, who have already decided they want to give sumo deadlifting a chance and are experimenting with sumo deadlift technique.To kick off the discussion, the first thing to consider when switching from conventional deadlifts to sumo deadlifts is understanding that there is more to it than just widening your stance and trying to pull. Most people familiar with powerlifting already have this general idea, but a lot of people new to barbell lifting and sumo deadlifting tend to fall into this poor movement pattern, resulting in using the exact same mechanics and strategies to perform the lift as if they were pulling conventional… just with their feet a little wider.Let us paint a picture; the most common technique fault we see with lifters going from conventional to sumo is bringing stance out wide (mostly hip abduction) without giving much thought to foot, knee, and hip angle, and bringing their grip really narrow. This position tends to lead to more upper back flexion requiring more effort to overcome that spinal rounding at the top of the lock out, which also ends up making hip extension difficult. As loads get heavier with this technique fault described, we see people struggling before lock out in an overly flexed,...

Cassandra La Madrid is a Kabuki Strength coach who spends her time training and competing as a strongwoman and loving her bulldog Lilo. Cassandra has a BS in Kinesiology from Western Washington University and works in an outpatient Physical Therapy clinic. You can read more on her bio page. Oftentimes we hear clients and fellow athletes reporting that their warm up routine consists of 30 minutes or more of “stretching” or “rolling” or “smashing” their muscles, only to find themselves back to being “tight” the next training day or feeling little to no benefit in their performance. It’s not uncommon for people to go straight to general mobility drills when the time comes to “warm up” for training. It's very common for people to give little thought to stability or activation drills prior to their main movement or sport.Before you continue reading, let me say this early on in this piece: we are not saying to ditch all your mobility drills; some people are “tight” and they need to address it. This article was written to shine a light on the consideration of stabilization exercises in your training, particularly during your warm up. It was written to further expand on the concept that injury prevention and warming up to train isn’t just about decreasing tension and improving mobility… and that muscular tension to generate joint stability can actually serve as a benefit to your training.Historically, people have latched on to the idea that improving flexibility by stretching in your warm up reduces injury. But we have also learned that increased flexibility is not always desirable depending on the sport, and can actually hinder performance. Tension exists for a reason and our body is a highly adaptive system that will attempt to do what it needs to do to move through a...