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Build Bigger Muscles and Solid Strength with the Snatch Grip Deadlift

Explode your posterior chain strength.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Snatch Grip Deadlift.

What is the Snatch Grip Deadlift?

The Snatch Grip Deadlift is a lesser used but highly effective Deadlift variation that involves gripping the barbell with a much wider grip.

A broader grip presents new challenges for the back and core muscles, as well as the body and mind collectively.

Although the name comes from the Snatch lift, performed by Olympic Weightlifters and Functional Fitness athletes, other lifters should not feel like the movement is not for them. It can be highly beneficial for many different individuals to include it into their training.

The wider grip also creates a longer range of motion.

Muscles Worked by the Snatch Grip Deadlift

The exercise works the:

  • Lats
  • Glutes
  • Traps
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Core and Abs
  • Rhomboids
  • Lower Back and Spinal Erectors

The body is challenged is much the same way as a conventional Deadlift.

It will provide significant improvements to your posterior chain and core. Glutes and hamstrings will propel the bar and there is a big amount of hip extension.

The quads have to work hard because of the lower starting position.

Benefits of the Snatch Grip Deadlift

This unique exercise has many effective benefits.

Rich-Froning Snatch grip deadliftSource: Rehband
Train for success

Excellent Upper Back Strength and Hypertrophy

The wider grip targets the upper back muscle groups in a punishing and highly efficient way. The lats, traps, arms, grip and rhomboids must all balance and support the weight in a way that they are not used to (with the exception of seasoned Olympic Weightlifters).

The longer bar path creates more time under tension. This equates to increased muscle growth.

Enhanced Lower Body Strength and Hypertrophy

Like all types of Deadlifts, the lift will construct solid lower body strength and musculature.

The longer range of motion, extended time under tension and difficulty of the exercise are all excellent lower body muscle and strength building factors.

An Uncommon but Effective Accessory Exercise

Despite its numerous merits, not many people use the Snatch Grip Deadlift.

Now that you understand how it works the body, and you will learn all of its benefits and the proper technique, you will have a valuable new training tool to include in your programming.

It can also be useful when you hit strength plateaus, as it will stress your body in new ways and improve other aspects (such as grip) that might not have been such primary focuses beforehand.

Variety Helps you Enjoy Training

One of the most underrated and important parts of working out is enjoying it. If you are having fun then you will be much more likely to continue and stay disciplined.

The variety offered by the Snatch Grip Deadlift will contribute to your enjoyment of your training. Learning a new movement (if you have not tried it before) is fun and challenging and beneficial.

It will Augment your Traditional Deadlift Strength

The increased grip, posterior chain and core strength that you will earn from this new variation will help to improve your regular Deadlift.

The Snatch Grip variation is harder, so once your work on it, returning to the traditional version will feel easier as you will have become stronger.

It Builds a Vice like Grip

Tia-Clair Toomey deadliftSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
Tia on fire

The movement will drastically strengthen your grip. Many people find the lift hard to begin with because it will show you exactly how weak or strong your grip really is. There is nowhere to hide.

Make sure that you perform it without straps if this particular benefit is one of your priorities.

How to Do the Snatch Grip Deadlift

Use the following instructions to perform the Snatch Grip Deadlift properly:

  • Adopt the same stance that you would for your Conventional Deadlift. Feet slightly closer than shoulder width apart, toes pointed a few degrees outwards
  • Position the barbell over the midfoot (as you look down)
  • Bend at the waist, reach down and grip the barbell with a wide grip. If you’ve never tried it before, placing your index fingers on the knurl marks is a great place to start
  • Bend your knees and move your shins into contact with the barbell (make sure it doesn’t move)
  • Establish a straight back and a proud chest
  • Inhale and tense your core, glutes and grip
  • Lift the bar by dragging it up against your body (as you would for a Conventional Deadlift)
  • Fully extend and pause
  • Slowly lower the bar to the starting position
  • Exhale
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Snatch Grip Deadlift Training Tips

Test the width of your grip.

Play around with different widths when you first get acquainted with this movement. This will help you to understand how it affects your muscles and which grip feels the best for you.

Why is the Snatch Grip Deadlift Harder?

The lift is harder because it demands impressive grip strength, more mobility in the knees, ankles and hips and better back strength.

Other Considerations for the Snatch Grip Deadlift

Grip

Grip strength can easily become a limiting factor when it comes to this exercise. If you want to load up the weight and concentrate on the load and overall stimulus then can use straps to eliminate the possibility of failure from grip strength.

However, if you do want to enhance your grip then find your limit, train at that level and continue to try and push it even further so that you improve.  

Lower Weights

No lifter can Snatch Grip Deadlift more than they can Deadlift.

Make sure you manage your expectations and train accordingly.

Snatch Grip Deadlift Common Mistakes

Make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot by making any of these mistakes.

Bar Away from Body

The barbell should stay in contact with your body. A failure to do this will result in an inefficient bar path and a weaker body position in general.

Hips Rising too Soon

If you set the hips too low in the first place then they will probably rise too fast during the movement itself.

In this position, too much of the weight of the body rests behind the barbell, making it harder to lift.

You can remedy this by pinning your hips in place as soon as your shins make contact with the barbell when you set up the exercise

Snatch Grip Deadlift Variations

These variations are excellent ways to create a similar stimulus in your training.

Pause Snatch Deadlift

With this variation, pause once you have lifted the barbell off the floor. You can experiment at different heights for varying lengths of time.

This will drastically improve your body positioning and technique.

Snatch Grip Deadlift with Deficit

This will add even more length to the bar path and work your back and posterior chain even harder.

Banded Snatch Grip Deadlift

Here you can work on power output and force.

Snatch Grip Deadlift Alternatives

These alternatives can be substituted in when you want to mix things up.

  • Snatch Grip Bent Over Row
  • Snatch Grip Bent Over Pendlay Row
  • Overhand Grip Deadlift
  • Overhand Grip Deficit Deadlift
  • Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlift

Snatch Grip Deadlift FAQs

Expand your knowledge.

How do I Stop My Shins Getting Cut and Bruised?

This can be caused by the hips starting with a position that is too low. To remedy this, lock them in place during the set up as soon as they touch the barbell.

Sometimes the shins can get cut and bruised even if this isn’t the case. If this is a problem for you wear thick socks or shin guards.

What is the best Grip Width for Snatch Grip Deadlift?

It should be the same as your Snatch grip width. If you do not Snatch then start with both index fingers on the knurl marks on the barbell. Adapt that to find what works best for you.

Your grip should be set so that the barbell rests at your hip crease and not the thighs when you are standing at full extension.

Are Dead Stop or Touch and Go Reps Better for Snatch Grip Deadlifts?

Dead Stops are best. However, CrossFit® athletes may want to practice their touch and go movement as it will be applicable for workouts.

Learn More

Try the Reverse Grip Pulldown and the Behind the Neck Press.

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