Most regular gym goers are familiar with the deadlift and regularly incorporate them into their routine; if you don’t then you should be.
There are several variations of the deadlift, with each having their own benefits and properties. One variation is the Snatch Grip Deadlift. A fantastic exercise that can add size to your hamstrings, glutes, upper back, and traps. The most obvious difference between this variation compared to any other is that wider grip and foot stance.
Let’s have a look in more detail…
Benefits of the Snatch Grip Deadlift
To put it in simple terms, the snatch grip can target several large muscle groups in addition to your lower body.
✓ Posterior Chain
The typical conventional deadlift is great for developing your back muscles over your lower body, because of the shorter range of motion in the hip and knee joints. Using the snatch grip, you engage the muscles in your legs more because your hamstrings and glutes start off in a deeper position which increases the range of motion.
✓ Upper Back & Traps
If reverse flyes aren’t increasing the muscles mass in your rear delts, and the classic shrug isn’t benefitting your trap growth by much, then you may consider adding in snatch grip deadlifts into your training routine if you haven’t already.
The wider grip puts more stress on the upper back, traps, and rear delts. Pulling the barbell from a slightly elevated position allows for a heavier load, while keeping proper form, rather than pulling from directly off of the floor.
How To Perform The Snatch Deadlift
Don’t let your ego get in the way of performing this exercise with proper form when adding more weight to the bar.
Keep your chest up in order to avoid your back rounding out. When starting this exercise, it’s important to start with a weight that is relatively light to prevent injury and improper form. When the upper back begins to fatigue, the shoulders will try to take over and the lower body will want to round out.
It’s best to increase volume (amount of repetitions) before increasing weight. The amount of weight that is added to the bar, should be increased after you have worked up the mobility and strength in your upper back.
As mentioned earlier, the wider grip is the most obvious difference between the variations of deadlifts. When first performing this technique, people often make the mistake of widening their grip too much. This causes more tension in the back and makes the weight feel as if it is actually heavier than it is, creating more difficulty during the pull of the exercise.
You may also notice that your grip may slip as well. To prevent this, you can use the hook grip technique. This is performed by placing the thumb in-between the barbell and other fingers, instead of usually being placed over the fingers. Due to the awkwardness of this grip, it’s not generally meant to be performed for moderate to high repetitions. Use this grip technique for fewer amounts of reps.
Find what is most comfortable and effective for you. Not everyone will use the exact width of grip, or technique because heights and limb lengths will always differ between person to person.
You know that the snatch grip hand positioning is wider, so what about foot placement?
Start off by standing in a similar position to a standard, traditional deadlift with the barbell over your mid-foot and close to the shins. The stance should not be as wide as it would be if you were to perform a squat, but also not as narrow as a traditional deadlift stance either.
Point your toes out very slightly to open up the hips, so that it’s easier to drop down into a deeper position. This foot positioning eases strain on the knee joints and helps keep proper back posture as well.
Take Home Message
One common mistake that is made during deadlifts, is when people start the exercise by driving their hips up instead of using the power with their legs. Another mistake is rounding of the back during lifts. Just like any other exercise, proper form is crucial. If you have difficulty within your flexibility, to get into correct form, position the barbell higher up and start from there. Over time, reduce the height of the bar until you can perform from off of the floor efficiently.