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Snatch Grip Deadlift

March 5, 2013

The snatch grip deadlift is one of Jason Cholewa’s favorite exercises, and for good reason.

The deadlift is often used in bodybuilding circles to increase upper and lower back musculature.  Utilizing the snatch grip increases the load placed upon the muscles attaching to the scapula (trapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, teres) and the latissimus dorsi.  As some anecdotal evidence, observe the upper back development of Olympic lifters.  How does your back development compare to the girl below?

olympic lifter back

In strength training, the deadlift is used to develop the muscle of the lower posterior kinetic chain.  Because  the snatch grip requires greater mobility and brings the load through a larger ROM the movement increases the work required of the hamstrings and glutei.  Training for increased force production in the hip extensors via the snatch grip deadlift should then result in greater improvements in sprinting and jumping than a traditional or sumo deadlift.

Determining Grip:

Hold a wooden dowel over head.  Grip it such that the dowel is placed about 6-10″ away from the top of the head.  This is the grip width you will use.

The Set Up:

Place the bar over the shoelaces and take a stance approximately hip width apart with the feet slightly pointed outward. Bend at the knees and hips such that the hips set up slightly higher than the knees, and the shoulders are directly over the bar.  Keep the elbows extended at all times.

The Pull:

Keeping the lower back neutral, drive off the heels to pull the bar off the floor.  The hips and knees should extend at about the same time – if you find yourself bent over with the knees almost fully extended then you are not allowing the hips to do the work.  As the bar passes over the knees drive the hips forward to complete the lock out.  Drop the weight (if possible) and repeat. Perform sets of no more than 5-6 repetitions, and treat each repetition as a separate set (do not bounce the bar off the floor).

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