Deadlift assistance day

This week I've been tuning into the live feed of the 2011 IPF World Masters Powerlifting Championships taking place in St. Catherines.  It has been truly inspirational to see friends and training partners lifting for their country and taking home medals.  As with the Junior/Sub-Junior Worlds that took place last month, I was struck at how many lifters at the World Championship level pull their deadlifts sumo style.
A video from 2008 of me doing a 495lb sumo deadlift in training.  I was about 270 (roughly 40 lbs heavier than I am now) in this video.

That 495 lb sumo deadlift was my high-water mark for the sumo style deadlift.  I've always been a comparatively poor squatter so the sumo deadlift was never the ideal format for me.  Still, after seeing so many top lifters using the style, I thought today I'd give it a shot.  If nothing else, the training variation would be beneficial and the reduced load would give my back a rest.

My sumo sets went like this:  135X5, 225X5, 315X3, 405X3, 455X2, 475X1.  In my final set, I tried to pull the 475 for a double but the second rep was unsuccessful.  A very humbling experience compared to my top conventional deadlift of 606 lbs.  Still, it revealed my weaknesses and for that it was a good day.

I moved next to some half squats with a narrow stance.  I've read that half squats can have good carryover to the conventional deadlift so I decided to do them after the sumo deads.  Again, despite only going down to a point about 3" above parallel, my quad weakness made these very difficult.  Right now, I actually feel stronger taking them to below parallel so I can get my hips and hamstrings into the action.  I think the significant difficulty I'm having with these will actually provide some beneficial carryover to the mid-point of my squat in addition to helping my speed off the floor in the deadlift.

Training movements that highlight weaknesses is tough on the ego but I'm hopeful that improvements will carry over into better competition lifts.  I aspire to reach the heights of my friends lifting in the World Championships but I need to get significantly stronger to do that.

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