Exercise You Should Be Doing: Snatch Grip Deadlift

I love the deadlift more than most bros love their pets. It’s by far and away my favorite lift, because it’s easily the best damn lift you can do in the gym. It’s superior when it comes to packing on size, strength, and turning you into a fucking monster.

But sometimes to get better at the deadlift you need to take a break from your normal deadlifting set up and start trying a few different things. Trying different variations helps prevent overuse injuries, as well as trains different movement qualities, turning you into a bigger and stronger bro in the long run.

One of my favorite deadlift variations? The snatch grip deadlift.

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The snatch grip deadlift is by far and away one of the more difficult variations out there. In fact, your first few times trying it there’s a strong chance you’re going to feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.

It may not feel like it at the time, but that’s actually a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re hitting various muscle groups all at once, and in a way that you’re not used to.

Why you should be doing the snatch grip deadlift.

Aside from the obvious benefit of cycling through movements to make yourself stronger and more resilient, the snatch grip deadlift is a kickass lift for developing upper back, trap, and grip strength.

Forcing yourself to perform the lift with a snatch grip engages the lats and traps far more than a typical deadlift set up, because you’re not at a mechanical advantage to handle the weight like you are with a conventional or sumo deadlift set up.

By performing a few reps the lats and upper traps have to deal with the constant tension of weight in ways they aren’t used to, and they have to respond by getting jacked. Which first means they’ll probably be sore.

On top of that, you’ll notice right away that your grip absolutely sucks, unless you’re like me and spend 3-4 hours a day jerking off. This is for the same reasons. You’re not at a mechanical advantage, and your forearms suddenly have to perform far more work than they’re used to.

Pull more off the floor.

One of the biggest strength benefits to performing the snatch grip is how much stronger it will make you off the floor. You’re not going to snatch grip deadlift near as much weight as you might with a conventional deadlift due to increased demand on the forearms and upper back, but there’s also more range of motion you’ll have to deal with.

That increased range of motion forces the butt and hamstrings to work more, and it forces you to get better at pulling weights a farther distance. If you’ve ever done deficit deadlifts or other increased range of motion work, you know just how powerful that can be.

When you come back to deadlifting you’ll find yourself ripping the bar off the floor faster than ever before, and you should find that the lift feels much shorter and quicker than you remember. This is a good thing. Take advantage of it by pulling a massive PR.

Forgo deadlifting for 4-6 weeks in favor of the snatch grip deadlift in your next program. It’ll take some getting used to, and you won’t be able to lift as much weight. But you will get bigger and stronger because of it.

Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.