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Best Deadlift for a Thick Yoke?

Which variation of the deadlift do you guys feel is the best for putting size on the back? Good ol’ conventional? Trapbar? I’m about to go see how well snatchgrip rack pulls work


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What an unexpected answer


I think arguments could be made for each version.

So, the conventional deadlift is more back-centric in general than a trapbar. With a trap bar, you have a shorter range of motion, and you engage the legs more. But because of the leverages on the trapbar, a heavier load can be used, which is arguably going to be better for yoke building, specifically. Then you have the opposite end of the spectrum with the snatchgrip pull. Out of all 3 of these choices, I ‘feel’ my yoke area working more on this lift than any of the others. It’s absolutely brutal. I’d recommend using straps for this version, assuming you’re not also performing this as grip work. I’m tempted to say that the snatchgrip would be my preference, then conventional and trapbar being essentially equal. But I can’t go all in on that, because I’ve never performed snatch grip deadlifts regularly in my own training. It just seems like the way to go to me. And the way I would do it would be to incorporate a shrug at the top, so using a slightly lighter load. I don’t know if that’s considered a high pull or a low pull… I think it’s low pull. But turning it into a more dynamic movement seems like it would be beneficial.

Snatch grip or reeves.

Best deadlift? The ones with a ton of weight and reps.

Snatch grips done with a moderate weight compared to your conventional, and a highish number of reps can indeed be absolutely brutal. I will frequently switch them off with conventionals as part of my training. They are great for building tightness and speed off the floor, and this seems to have a fair amount of carryover. They sure feel like they build muscle based on my soreness the day after (if that matters, lol). For what it’s worth, I’ve done them off blocks as well as off the floor, and off the floor seems to work best for me. It is effectively a deficit DL.

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With Farmer Walk handles, preferably with a 10-15m walk after the deadlift :laughing:

I’ll also second snatch grip/frames.

when you do them from blocks what height do you use? Would right above the knee be best for pure upper back purposes?

Don’t be that guy :stuck_out_tongue:

You may as well shrug at that starting position.

See I’ve never actually done rack pulls before so I don’t know. Keep in mind snatch grip from above the knee is a lot more ROM than a normal rack pull (edit: from above the knee) lol

Basically I’m trying to find the variation that gives me the full benefit to the upper back while limiting the amount of stress my lower back/ legs take since I’m squatting 4 days a week

I’ve used 4-6 inch blocks. From the floor probably recruits more legs, and requires more effort to get into position.

I would definitely start off using blocks if you’ve never done them before, and work your way down as you progress if you desire.

Any version will work. Not technically a deadlift but cleans are king for building the “yoke” in my opinion

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x2 Id consider cleans, also snatch grip high pull


Yeah I love these. A set up I was thinking of would be something like this:

A) SGHP ramp to a 1-3RM

B) Rack Pull (maybe snatch grip rack pulls) 4x6

C1) chest supported row: 3x6-8
C2) Lat pulldown/chins: 3x8-12

D) some sort of face pull/pull apart/ rowing ergometer

That routine will build your back. High pulls are amazing for the upper back. You probably won’t be able to do any actual snatch grip on the rack pulls because the pins will get into the way. You can do a wider than normal grip though, and it should be sufficient for just building the back. If it were me I’d probably do the rows for slightly higher reps since you’ll already be doing two heavy lifts in lower ish rep ranges.

This is a good point. I’ll probably up the reps to 10-12. Maybe work my way up to 5 sets

Do snatch-grip deadlifts from the floor. Use straps and go for higher reps. I’ve doner 225 X 20 beltless in the past without compromising my spine, its just in the nature of the lift that you have to use lighter weght than you could handle conventionally. I think the lift is much more difficult that deficit deadlifts and targets the upper/mid back much more than other DL variations.

You’ll hate it though