T Nation

Snatch-grip deadlift


Fellow T-Men,

Anyone use the snatch-grip deadlift as an accessory movement for conventional deadlift? I'm looking for a way to increase my off the floor strength, so I figured either snatch-grip DL or deficit DL (or a combination of the two) would be a good start. Has this worked well for anyone?

Today I did 3 sets of 3 reps after squatting, would appreciate a form check from anyone willing. It's roughly 50-60% of my conventional DL (at least compared to the most I've pulled). Snatch-grip DL begins at 3:45 in the attached video.


Very underrated excercise, -Charles Poliquin is a strong proponent, and the top Russian lifter Klokov seems to use it a lot.

Nothing wrong with using it as your main lift on deadlift day once in a while either.


I like doing what Ben Bruno talked about - doing the first few warm up sets for deadlifts with a snatch grip. This means that I've never really gone heavy on them - usually switch to a clean grip before I hit 225 - but I like them for what I do. They make my glutes burn after the first three reps though :wink:


Yes yes and yes.

I've also done what nighthawkz said, via Thib's continuous ramp concept. After warm-up, I do all of my deadlifting with a snatch grip until I can't do a solid set at my rep range, then switch to conventional to work the rest of the way up to my max.

I don't hit failure or a big grind on the snatch grip DL, but I get heavy on it in my work-up. It sometimes affects the amount you can get on your regular DL that day, but it's very useful tool and I like it better than doing them after regular deads a lot of times.

I've done the same thing with deficit deads--used as warm-up, stop when they get harder and move to off the floor pulling.

You can't go wrong assuming you have good enough mobility to get into a proper start position for them. I'd put snatch grip on one day and deficit pulls on the other. Or do speed pulls from a deficit with chains/bands.


Front squats look real good.

That's the same water bottle I have.

Back squats look ok, you start shifting forward as you get tired.

Snatch grip pulls look good. Look at your second set at 175--there's a point at which after you get your back tight, you start the pull but the hips go up first until they lock at a certain angle and then you break the bar off the ground. That's wasted motion.

Once the bar leaves the ground you do a great job of not letting the hips rise first, so it's a clean lift. But your set-up may benefit from getting DOWN to the bar instead of UP to the set-up. I mean, basically bend down and grab the bar in a stiff-legged position, set your back, then pull your hips down and back into the start position, then pull. This instead of sitting down, squatting at the bar, grabbing, raising your chest, and going.

When you do the latter sometimes you leave your hips too low in the start position and they rise up as in your set before the bar breaks the ground. You lose tension and you struggle more off the floor when that happens.

As I said, your actual pull looks just fine. Your mileage may vary as well, some people are just uncomfortable with the set-up I described.


Thanks! I feel very comfortable with front squats.

Any advice on the back squats? I just ordered my first pair of weightlifting shoes yesterday. I'm hoping those will help me stay more upright. I just started back squatting a few weeks ago so I'm still figuring out the feet position, angle, etc.

Thanks for the snatch-grip advice. I'll definitely try what you suggested this week. I do convention deadlift tomorrow, so I think I'll do my warm-ups from a deficit like you suggested and switch over near my top set.


You're upright most of the time, not a problem. Maybe a slight chest cave in the bottom, but not really definitive and certainly not bad. It's a balance point issue I think. My best simple advice for the back squats is just: pull your big toe off the ground and try to keep it off the ground throughout all the reps.


Great, thanks. I'll try that tomorrow. I rarely feel stable with back squat (and overhead press) in Vibrams, so I think the new shoes will help as well.


So I took your advice and did all of my DL warm-up sets from a deficit (conservative at first, just one plate). They felt great. I also did the top-down setup approach like you mentioned. I felt much tighter and I think my off-the-floor strength was better.

Let me know what you think? I set a big PR with 265x12, then I did three touch 'n go sets with 205 from a deficit.


Looks great to me brother. Glad the tips worked out for you. You'll get better at it as you get more used to the top-down approach but it works great for a lot of people, takes a little playing with but yeah. Great PR btw!


Man, decent form for 12 heavy reps is amazing. Keep doing what you're doing.


Thanks guys! I appreciate the advice and support.


Sorry for the double post.

Aragon - I finally got around to trying your technique with snatch-grip deadlifts and I had a terrific session. Previously, the most I had ever attempted pulling snatch-grip was 185 (as you saw in the previous video). Today, I worked up to a double with 265 (video above), and they felt great! Just wanted to say thanks again.


That's what I'm talkin bout! Helluva friggin PR man. That's the power of a technical tweak :wink:. Wish I could put that on a marketing resume... "instant 80 lb increase in deadlift" lol. I'm glad you found it useful mate.


Quick update, pulled 285x3 this week, pretty excited. Looking to get 3 plates in a couple months. I've also been using the stretch reflex for conventional and it has helped tremendously.

I also wanted to get a critique on my sumo deadlift. I tried it for the first time today, and it was pretty easy (with the exception of the first rep, which felt wobbly every time, even though I was starting from a dead-stop on every rep). I didn't want to start another thread so I figured I'd just post it here.