When it comes to getting stronger there seems to be a ton of focus on accessory lifts. Sometimes I feel that lifters almost put too much effort and focus in the accessories. I usually tell lots of lifters that the accessories can be great, but don’t kill yourself on them, and that the focus should be on mastering the main lifts while training the appropriate intensity and volume with great technique. The accessories are there for some extra volume to work your lifts without putting the same amount of stress on everything, and helping out the areas of your body that could use more work.
When it comes to deadlifting there is a lot to be said for utilizing the lats correctly in conjunction with leg drive. Even though many people still believe the deadlift is a pull, it is more of a push with the legs than a pull. Many lifters make the mistake of initiating the movement by pulling the bar with the lower back then following through with the hips.
The Snatch grip deadlift is a great accessory to teach how to engage the lats so that the upper and lower torsos become one, then the legs can do the work they need to do. IF the legs are moving the bar should move as well. Most people get caught up by lifting the hips first then the bar moves. The Snatch Grip will put more stress on the upper back and quads. If done correctly you will feel your quads fire up on the deadlift and you will learn what leg drive is all about.
The other benefit of this lift is that you will use loads that are much less than your working sets of standard deadlift. I usually start people with 50%ish of their 1RM for sets of 6-8 repetitions. Whether you pull sumo or conventional the snatch grip can provide benefit.
A couple things to note;
- Your stance may be slightly wider than your conventional stance.
- Your hip position will be slightly lower, just make sure your knees are behind the bar.
- Keep your lower back strait, don’t arch or round your back
- Engage your lats and keep the bar next your body
- Your grip may be taxed a bit. If you need straps go for it.
- Put your arms out wider. Depending on your arm length etc Start with your pinky on last line on the bar and you can progress to having you pointer finger on the line. This may not be comfortable, but it is effective. As I heard Pavel Tstatsouline say in a workshop once, “your comfort is not my concern.”
- Keep your lower back strait and drive with your legs completely. Start light enough that this is a no brainer.
Also for those not competing in the sport of powerlifting, I like programming the sumo as a main lift for weeks at a time without any “regular” deadlifts. Your upper backs and lats will never feel this awesome after doing some awesome snatch grip training.
I will be covering the deadlift, the snatch grip and other great accessories in great detail at my upcoming workshop on July 14, 2018 at Tucson Strength.