What is snatch deadlift?


It is almost the regular deadlift from the platform but performed with a wide grip. Its technique consists of the same positions as the snatch pull but without the explosion, trap work, and heel rise. The snatch deadlift works great for increasing lower body and upper back strength but with no explosive component. 

Some weightlifters prefer a wider snatch grip since it is more comfortable for the lower back. 

Snatch grip deadlift is a basic exercise for snatch training in terms of strength, control, and balance. Athletes usually do snatch grip deadlift with heavier weights than the snatch which allows them to increase their strength significantly. Snatch grip deadlift can be also used with light weights in order to correct balance and body positions in the pull or as a tool for snatch learning. 


What muscles are involved in barbell snatch grip deadlift?


The snatch grip deadlift can be used to hit the following muscles:



upper back





Snatch grip deadlift benefits, compared to the traditional deadlift


Upper back work

The snatch deadlift involves almost the same muscles as the traditional deadlift. However, it puts more tension on the upper back rather than the lower part due to a wide grip. Thus, it comes in handy if you aim to strengthen this area. 


Increasing the range of motion

The snatch deadlift is an exercise longer than the traditional deadlift. A wider grip means that you have to drive your hips more backward to perform the movement. It targets your hamstrings and upper back more specifically and can be helpful to progress in other exercises, including traditional deadlifts. 


Improving hip mobility

A lower starting position also improves hip mobility which is a vital movement in our daily life. 


Additional variety 

In order to keep progressing, you have to do the same exercise for several weeks. It is usually reached by adding kilograms, reps, or sets week by week. However, linear progress will come to an end one day. Once it happens, exercise variety can be used to break through a strength plateau. 

It also helps you psychologically. Any changes in usual exercises make training more interesting. It may seem obvious, but training joy is critical for sticking to a program for a long time. 


Deadlift progress 

Basically, the snatch deadlift is a more complicated variation of the traditional deadlift. 

Firstly, a wider grip makes you bend more downward to grab the bar. A low starting position means a longer range of motion which helps to enhance the lower part of the deadlift. 

Apart from that, a wide grip makes an athlete lift a weight higher to reach the lockout. Compared to the regular deadlift, in this variation, the final bar position moves further up. 

Such an increase in the range of motion makes the snatch deadlift more difficult than the traditional option. 


Snatch progress

The snatch deadlift is very similar to the snatch. Therefore, it is often used by Olympic weightlifters as an accessory exercise. It serves both to increase training volume and correct technical elements. In order to improve the proper snatch mechanics, you should do the snatch deadlift with eccentric pace, pauses, or partial movements. 


Grip strengthening 

It goes without saying that the deadlift strengthens the grip. Meanwhile, the snatch deadlift can take your grip to another level in case you regularly do it without straps. A wider grip puts the wrists at an angle that doesn’t allow all fingers to cover the bar, compared to the traditional deadlift. If you do such additional holding work for weeks and months, it will definitely boost your grip strength.  


However, the snatch deadlift has a few downsides. 

Though it is a great deadlift and snatch variation, this exercise has a few cons as well. 


Grip difficulty 

As was stated before, a wider grip in the snatch deadlift puts the wrists on the bar at an angle. It means that it is difficult to fully cover the bar with fingers and, thus, harder to hold it. 

Grip strength often turns out to be a limiting factor in the snatch deadlift. Therefore, you have to lift lighter weights (that may not initiate adaptation) or use straps for regular sets. 


Lighter working weights 

Athletes tend to lack upper back strength and, therefore, bend their spine. 

If you struggle with this problem, you should decrease working weights compared to the regular deadlift. 



Let’s look at all parts and elements of this exercise in more detail. 


Basically, the snatch deadlift copies the snatch up to the power position. The movement starts at the platform and lasts to the full trunk extension. In this exercise, the emphasis is put on critical positions and speed. 


Starting position 

If you are a novice athlete, choose a rather lightweight so that you can confidently handle 8-12 reps. 

Then, make sure that the position is correct. For this exercise, you need to hold the bar with a wide grip. The arms must be stretched throughout the whole movement. The toes and knees should point out in the same direction.

In order to find the proper hand position, take a test with a PVC pipe. Raise one of your hands and put the other one to the side parallelly to the floor. The angle between your arms should be 90°. Put your hands down and you will have the proper snatch grip. 

Place your feet so that the bar projection is on the toe phalanges. Use the shoulder-width stance and keep the mid-foot balance. Grab the bar with the snatch grip. Look in front of yourself, open the chest, and squeeze the shoulder blades. Arch the back and keep the shoulders over the bar. 



Once you set up, start working with your legs: push them against the platform and stay flat-footed. Keep the shoulders right over the bar. Your chest and hips should move simultaneously. The bar should travel as close to the shins and thighs as possible till you stretch the hips and knees. It is important to keep the arms straight and relaxed throughout the whole movement up to the full extension. Return the bar slowly to the starting position. It is 1 rep.


Who needs the snatch deadlift? 

No matter what your weightlifting experience is, snatch dl is a must-have exercise in a training program.


If you are a beginner 

It is worth practicing the snatch deadlift in order to learn the main positions and angles from the platform up to the power position. 


If you are an experienced athlete

The snatch deadlift is a great exercise within the preparatory and transition periods for building your strength reserve. 


Athletes from other sports

Strength work during the off-season is an essential part of reasonable training for American football, basketball, tennis players, boxers, etc. They all use squats and deadlifts as their basic exercises. Also, they often do the snatch deadlift from the hang position or knee-level blocks if they don’t want to overload the back. 


Functional Fitness 

Fitness athletes use this exercise to develop strength in the snatch. 


Snatch deadlift variations

There are plenty of snatch deadlift variations. It is worth choosing them according to your needs and training peculiarities. 


Paused Snatch Deadlift

You can vary a pause position and its length (2-6 seconds) to complicate the exercise and focus on a particular point. Usually, it is made at the lift-off, below or above the knees, at the power position, or at the lockout. In order to make the exercise even more difficult, try adding a few pauses both during the upward and downward movement. For example, if you work on your technique, a 2-3-second pause at the knee level allows you to feel the feet balance, fix the leg and back position, relax the arms and after that accelerate the bar and do your best in the explosion. 


Deficit Snatch Deadlift

This variation teaches an athlete to ‘endure’ the pull, constantly accelerate and reach the highest amplitude. This exercise is essential for athletes with weak back muscles who struggle at the lift-off or just lack physical strength. 


Block Snatch Deadlift

A shorter range of motion allows you to concentrate on the second pull and balance.