Sumo-Dead-High… WHAT?

Okay masters, I’m going on record to say this is by far, one of the most pointless movements that is unfortunately, a staple in Crossfit.

It’s even taught as one of the nine foundational movements at the L1 Certification.

The issue is that this movement does nothing to assist or supplement ANY other movement within a training realm and does far more harm than good.

But wait Mike, won’t this improve my Deadlift?


Nope. The position in which the SumoDead puts you in, won’t benefit your hip extension, nor will it assist you in getting a stronger Deadlift.

I’m all for pushing the boundaries and trying and inventing new movements, but ask yourself this.

Before you ever heard of the wretched SDHP, did you hear of any Powerlifters, Olympic Lifters or professional Athletes,  talk about how much they can SDHP?



You haven’t, because its a useless filler movement that gets thrown into a wod or program with no rhyme and certainly no reason.

I have yet to meet a coach that could give me a legitimate reason to utilize a SDHP in a program.

Not one has ever broken it down for me and made me go ” ohhhh, fuck, I totally agree with you on why I would want to program this”

The SDHP is great at one thing.

It will assist in some nagging shoulder issues and at the masters level, your joint health should be a huge focus in your training, outside of recovery and mobility (oh and getting strong as fuuuug)

When you think about movements, you must consider the why!

Why are you doing x sets for y reps on week 4 at x %, but week 6 you are at xyz at x%?

From the moment I saw a SDHP being performed, my exact reaction was “What the hell are they doing?”


Nothing about the SDHP adds ANY value to any other movement which for me, makes this a useless based element and needs to go away and just stop being programmed.

Some of the main movements that you typically will see in Crossfit are the Deadlift, Clean, Snatch, Backsquat, Front Squat, Overhead Press, Overhead Squat, which are all fantastic movements that you should train to be competitive in Crossfit. But with that, you must also train your accessory based movements to compliment and strengthen those lifts. 

Keys for any accessory movements

*assist the main lifts in said program *dead,squat,ohp, snatch etc*

*strengthen weak areas

*build muscle

*avoid any type of strength imbalance

I also don’t program Olympic lifts, so if you are looking for advice on that, check out my main man Mike Vaccaro who will be handling the Olympic Programming for our online based clients going forward. 

Here are a few examples that are fundamentally sound to improve each lift. 

Deadlift Accessory – Box Jumps, Seated Box Jumps, KBS, Glute Ham Raise, Band assisted Pulls, Romanian Deadlifts

Squat – Glute Ham Raise, Speed Squats w/bands and or chains, goodmornings, pause squats, hip thrusts

Overhead Press – Dips, Band Pushdowns, Neutral Grip DB Press, BB Roll Outs, Hanging Leg Raises, Back Raises

But wait Mike! What can I add in it’s place if my box programs them in for my wod’s?

Well, I’d say that a fantastic and safer replacement would be a KBS, in fact, I’d rather see you do a Zumba class than to EVER perform a SDHP again.


I also only program Russian style Kettlebell Swings for a multiple of reasons (which I will write about in a later article)

Remember guys, it’s YOUR body, listen to it.

Don’t feel like you are any weaker than anybody else because you decide not to RX a wod. If SDHP’s are in your wod and you want to hit them, just use caution.

If you want to sub them out, then sub them out.

If your coach has a huge issue with this, so be it.

Do what makes YOU feel better bottom line.

In closing I just would recommend you always ask WHY when you are doing something within a training program.

If your coach says any of the bottom phrases, I would seek out a new place or coach that has more than two cents worth of thought.

“Because I said so”

“Because it’s what’s on the HQ site”

“Because it’s awesome”

“Because they will make you stronger”

And if you are interested in learning more about our online masters program, head over to the private Facebook group and request to join.

Lot’s of info coming up over the next couple of weeks.

Tear It Down