Snatch Grip Deadlifts – Effective Torture

Don’s new most/least favourite exercise

Over the years I’ve discovered a few exercises that have proved somewhat of a revelation in my training. These exercises may not look like anything special at first but their effect quickly earns them a place in my rotation of exercises.

Normally these exercises are supplemental exercises that have had an unusually powerful effect on my performance in the core lifts like squat, bench press and deadlift.

My newest exercise that I love to hate is the snatch grip deadlift off a platform with a slow eccentric.

I’ve shamelessly stolen this exercise from my Powerlifting coach Sebastian Oreb who has borrowed it from Charles Poliquin who probably read about it in some Russian text book.

To perform this exercise.

1. You’ll need a sturdy block or flat plates approximately 5 – 10cm high to stand on. I tend to use a block that is only about 5cm, this seems to be plenty!

2. Warm up with a couple of easy sets of deadlifts and then a set or two of snatch grip (hands outside the outer marks on an Olympic or powerlifting bar)

3. Throw on your straps and then load the bar to about 40% of your best deadlift. If this seems too light then just wait.

4. Strap on to the bar and stand on the plates, get your hips really deep and your chest up and your lower back as extended as possible.

5. Breathe in and lift the bar as you would for a normal deadlift.

6. At the top of the movement breathe out and then breathe in again, get your chest up and your shoulder blades together with your back arched.

7. Proceed to lower the bar with a 4-5 second eccentric

8. As soon as the bar touches the ground lift it again, breathe out and in and repeat for sets of 5-6 reps

By the end of the 6th rep your back and legs will probably be screaming at you. If not then add 5kg and do another set and keep going until you’ve done 6 or more sets.

Here is me doing a set with about 120kg (about 45% of my best deadlift) somewhere inside a workout that called for 10 sets of 6. The form here is not super strict (I need to work on my back extension) but you can get a good idea of the set up and general idea of the lift.

Snatch Grip Deadlifts

I would have posted one of the later sets from this workout as the weight got up a bit but I was also working pretty hard and had removed my shirt and no one needs to see me here in just a pair of tights, kids might be watching.

Evidence from the powerlifters I know that have been using this exercise indicates that you will only get to about 50 – 60% of your best deadlift if you are doing this correctly.

So what’s so great about this exercise.

This exercise is a powerful assistance exercise for both the squat and deadlift and anything that requires a strong and stable posterior chain (so things like running, pack marching etc).

There are several factors that contribute to this effectiveness.

1. The extended range of motion from standing on a 5 – 10cm platform hits your legs very hard. Your quads, glutes and hamstrongs will get a lot of work.

2. Your entire back from your traps to your glutes will get an incredible workout and will bulk up like you started taking something illegal.

3. This will lead to a huge increase in your ability to keep your torso rigid when it is loaded through the arms or across the back.

In my case this fixed my traditional weak point in the squat of folding like napkin in the middle when the loads got high. Now I can keep my torso rigid and instead fail because my legs run out of gas (more on fixing that later on).

So if you like to lift heavy things or you need your back to be strong and tough for your job I highly recommend doing this exercise at least twice a week for 6 sets of 6 with about 50% of your max deadlift. You will hate me for it but your back will thank you!


This entry was posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 at 19:56 and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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