The snatch grip Romanian deadlift is a great and challenging deadlift variation that combines the RDL with a wide snatch grip. It’s an incredible posterior chain exercise that merges the best qualities of both lifts.
It’s a popular exercise with many strength sports athletes and different kinds of weightlifters (both power and Olympic). It’s a great tool to increase your pulling strength, target your glutes and hamstrings, and to engage your upper back more.
Muscles worked by the snatch grip Romanian deadlift
The snatch grip Romanian deadlift is a great tool to train and strengthen all of the muscles in your posterior chain. It’s a mixture of the snatch grip and the Romanian deadlift. Thanks to the RDL elements, it will heavily load your glutes and hamstrings, and thanks to the wide snatch grip, it will give you that extra contraction and engagement in your upper back (your lats and traps to be more precise).
Primary muscles worked:
Secondary muscles worked:
- Latissimus dorsi
- Spinal erectors
- Core muscles
- Stabilizer muscles
Snatch grip Romanian deadlift benefits
It will help you improves your posture. Bad posture is usually the result of weak or underdeveloped posterior chain muscles. Strengthening those muscles will help you fix and improve your posture. Now, this exercise is ideal for that because it’s a large compound exercise that focuses heavily on all of those muscles.
It will improve your pulling strength. The snatch grip Romanian deadlift is a great exercise to increase your pulling strength. What makes it such an effective pulling strength exercise is that it’s quite a challenging and demanding lift on your body and your posterior chain.
The exercise has increased upper back involvement. Thanks to the wide snatch grip, this RDL variation engages and contracts your upper back muscles more than any other deadlift variation. It places a greater focus on your lats and trapezius by activating them more and by forcing them to work harder to keep your back straight and to keep your shoulders from rolling in.
It targets your hamstrings and glutes more. Thanks to your legs being nearly straight throughout the exercise the lift will engage your hamstrings and glutes more. Also, there is a larger degree of hamstring stretching.
The exercise has many other benefits as well like:
- It will increase your conventional deadlift and other exercises, that rely on pulling strength, like the snatch and clean.
- It will train your core and stabilizer muscles.
- It’s a great lift for muscle hypertrophy, especially for building your lats, traps, and hamstrings.
- It will help you prevent injuries by strengthening your posterior chain muscles.
- It’s a great lift to help you improve the connection between your lower and upper body.
- It will help you learn and improve your hip hinge.
- It can be used to develop your gripping strength.
How to do the snatch grip Romanian deadlift
Step-by-step exercise guide:
‘You have two options when it comes to the setup. You can either start with the barbell resting on a rack or start by first deadlifting the weight off the floor.
From the rack:
- Set the rack to an appropriate height and rest the barbell on it. It should be about hip height.
- Load the barbell with your desired weight.
- Stand in front of the bar. The bar should be as close to your body as possible.
- Grasp the barbell in a wide double overhand snatch grip. Both of your hands should be positioned around the last rings of the barbell.
- Push your shoulderblades together, engage your core, keep your back straight and lift the weight off the rack with your legs.
Off the floor:
- Stand in front of the barbell with your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed forward.
- The bar should be directly over the midpoint of your feet.
- Bend down and grasp the barbell in a wide snatch grip. Both of your hands should be positioned around the last rings of the barbell.
- Drop your hips.
- Makes sure that: your shoulders are over the barbell, your back is straight, your head is in a neutral position.
- Engage your core and lift the weight up.
How to perform the exercise:
- Start by bending your knees slightly.
- Make sure both of your feet are pointing forwards.
- Roll your shoulders back to draw your shoulder blades together and to engage your upper back.
- Engage and tighten your whole core and midsection.
- Inhale and push your hips backward and let your torso naturally hinge forwards. Don’t actively lean forward with your upper body, it should be the result of your hips hinging.
- Keep your back straight and your head in a neutral position.
- Keep the barbell close to your body and thighs. Also, make sure the bar is moving in a straight path.
- Keep hinging from your hips and lowering the barbell until you feel a strong stretch through your hamstrings or until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a second.
- Exhale and start pulling your torso back up. Push your hips forward and use your hamstrings and glutes to bring the bar back up.
- Once you are up, lock your hips and re-do this movement for your desired repetitions.
Tips and recommendations
- Choose the right grip width. Play around with and test different grip widths before you start adding serious weight. Both of your hands should be near the last rings of the barbell. Either your index finger should be on it or your pinky, depending on your height and your personal preferences.
- If necessary, use weightlifting straps. You should use lifting straps if your grip strength is a limiting factor while performing this exercise, and strengthening your grip isn’t your goal. It will allow you to focus more on the exercise itself rather than holding on to the bar.
- Use lighter weight. Definitely start off with lighter weights when first trying the snatch grip Romanian deadlift out. Before adding weight get used to the lift and learn proper form. Even then, be cautious while increasing the weight of the barbell. Going too heavy will start to diminish and break your form, and the exercise will become less effective, and the risk of injuring yourself will grow.
- Initiate the lift with your hips. The movement should originate from your hips. You should be pushing your hips back and let your torso bend forward naturally. Doing so will assure that the bar will move in a straight path and keep closer to your body. Leaning forward with your body (not pushing your hips back) will also tilt your weight center forward and place a lot of stress on your spine.
- Don’t bend your knees too much. There should only be a slight bend in your knees. You should keep them slightly bend for the entire exercise and not let them bend more.
- Keep your upper body engaged. Throughout the exercise keep your upper body engaged. It will help you achieve and maintain proper form and help you avoid injuring yourself. To do so push your shoulders backward to draw your shoulder blades together.
- Keep the barbell close to your thighs. If you let the barbell move away from your body and your thighs, the weight will start pulling and straining more your upper body rather than your hamstrings and glutes. Also, it will place more stress directly on your spine and lower back. To avoid this from happening keep your upper body and arms engaged and your shoulder blades together.
- Don’t go too far down. How far down you can lean/ bend will be determined by your individual mobility and your flexibility. If you aren’t flexible enough and try to lower yourself too far down, your back will start to round, and you won’t be able to keep a neutral/ straight back.
- Keep your neck in a neutral position. Do not arch your neck by looking upwards or down, keep it in a neutral position. Otherwise, you will place a lot of stress on your spine.
- Keep the weight distributed evenly on your feet. Don’t let your weight shift to your heels, and try to keep it distributed on your whole foot.
- Keep your elbows locked out. Otherwise, you will be placing too much tension on your biceps, and you risk hurting them and even tearing them.
- Keep your core engaged. Keep your whole midsection engaged and tight for the whole exercise. It will help you maintain the proper form throughout the lift.
Single leg snatch grip Romanian deadlift
The single-leg Romanian deadlift incorporates another challenging aspect into the already difficult exercise. It’s performed while balancing your weight on a single leg. That takes the whole exercise to a whole new level of difficulty.
It has all the same benefits that the ordinary snatch grip Romanian deadlift with the additional benefit of working your core and stabilizer muscles extra hard and by improving your overall balance.
Start by either deadlifting the weight up from the floor with a snatch grip or by picking the barbell off a hip height rack whit the snatch grip.
How to do:
Place one leg a little bit behind the other one and shift your weight on to the leading foot. Brace and engage your core and abs. Engage your upper back muscles by rolling your shoulders back. Slowly start to lift the other foot up while pushing your hips back and hinging your torso forward. Make sure to keep your back straight and your head in a neutral position. Keep lowering the weight like that until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or until you are parallel with the ground. Hold for a second and then extend your hip and return back to the starting position.
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