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Snatch Grip Rack Pull Exercise Form Guide with Video & Pictures

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How to Do Snatch Grip Rack Pulls
Exercise NameSnatch Grip Rack Pull
Also CalledWide Grip Rack Pull
Primary MusclesErector Spinae, Lats
Secondary MusclesHamstrings, Glutes, Upper Traps, Forearms
FunctionStrength
MechanicsCompound
ForcePull
Required EquipmentBarbell, Power Rack (or Blocks)
Optional EquipmentLifting Straps, Bands, Weight Lifting Belt
ExperienceIntermediate
Rep Range5-8
Tempo1-1-X-1
VariationsSnatch Grip Block Pull, Clean Grip Rack Pull, Snatch Grip Rack Pull with Band
AlternativesSnatch Grip Deadlift, Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlift

Snatch Grip Rack Pull Instructions with Pictures

1. Starting Position

  • Position the safety spotters so the barbell starting position is just below your knees. I recommend using safety strap spotters if you have them. This reduces noise and protects the bar better when setting the weights down.
  • Add on weight plates as needed. Be sure to put on weight clips to secure the weight.
  • Use a wide grip. The traditional snatch grip width is whatever width your hands need to be at so that the barbell is at your hip crease when standing straight up. You can narrow the grip width somewhat if this causes too much wrist strain — or if your pinkies are too close to the safety spotters, as you don’t want to pinch your pinkies when bringing the bar down.
  • For heavier weights, and especially if doing 5+ reps. This will ensure the bar doesn’t slip and will keep the focus on your upper back and glutes/hamstrings.
  • Your feet should be positioned anywhere between hip to shoulder width apart. Your feet should be directly under the hips, pointing straight ahead.
  • When bending to the bar to get into athletic position, begin by hinging at the hips and slightly bending the knees. Your shoulders, knees and toes should be in vertical alignment.
  • Pull the slack out of the bar bringing your chest up, retracting your shoulder blades and engaging the lats by pulling the bar into your shin.
  • Your spine should and head should be neutral now, and throughout the movement.
  • Your body should be tense just prior to initiating the movement.
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Setup - Grip Width and Stance Width
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Setup - Front - Chest Up
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Setup - Front - Full View

2. Concentric Movement

  • Initiate force through the movement by pressing your feet into the ground, as if to push the bar away from the floor.
  • Squeeze your glues and hamstrings hard, driving your hips forward.
  • Maintain a strong and flat back, do not pull with the arms or back, rather move naturally as the hips extend.
  • Continue to extend the hips forward and move the bar upward until standing upright. Keep the bar against your legs the entire time.
  • Exhale as you get to the top of the range of motion.
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Concentric

3. Midpoint

  • Squeeze the glutes and quads.
  • Slightly pull outwards on the bar isometrically to engage the lats.
  • Do not arch or lean backwards, the body should be upright and tense.
  • Pause for no more than a second before lowering the bar back down.
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Concentric / Midpoint - Side View

4. Eccentric Repetition

  • Hinge the hips backward.
  • Do not move through the spine, the back should remain flat and tensed.
  • Lower the weight slowly with no rapid or jerking motions.
  • Continue the eccentric component until the bar is resting on the rack
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Eccentric
Snatch Grip Rack Pull - Eccentric - Front View

5. Repeat

  • Maintain tension even when the bar is resting on the spotters.
  • Your back should remain tensed and flat.
  • Do not change grips.
  • Inhale sharply just prior to initiating the next rep.

Common Snatch Grip Rack Pull Mistakes

MistakeSolution
Arching at the top of the liftFocus on contracting the glutes, quads and rhomboids at the top of the lift, finishing with a strong, flexed position rather than arching or leaning back.
Pulling with the back and arms rather than using force through the groundLock the arms in place and retract the shoulder blades, maintain tension in the back and focus on extending the hips to move the weight.
Looking down at weights causing loss of postureKeep the eyes looking straight ahead, looking down can lead to kyphosis and poor posture.
Putting hands too wideYour grip should be wide, but not so wide that it causes wrist discomfort or puts your pinky at risk of getting pinched on the safeties. If you’re using a bar with IPF powerlifting knurl rings, use them as a guide. Most people will do well with their index or middle finger on the knurl ring when first starting out. You can try going wider if desired, after you get the hang of the exercise.

Snatch Grip Rack Pull Tips

  1. Always look straight ahead, not down or up.
  2. Retract your shoulder blades to maintain a strong back and integrate the rhomboids.
  3. Remember to keep your lats engaged. Imagine pulling the bar apart and pulling the bar toward you. Ensure it’s always against your legs.
  4. Focus on pushing through the floor with your feet to drive the weight up, rather than pulling it with your back.
  5. Inhale just prior to lift, then exhale at the top of the concentric portion.
  6. Don’t over-arch your back at the top of the lift. Instead, focus on staying in a neutral, but tense position.
  7. Lower the weight to the rack in a controlled fashion, not overly slow but with no rapid or jerking motion. Let the bar settle before starting the next rep.

Is the Snatch Grip Rack Pull Right for You?

The Snatch Grip Rack Pull is a fantastic lift for several reasons and can have many benefits. It is an excellent exercise for building strength in the mid to upper back area, a critical muscle group both for effective pulling in exercises such as deadlifts and cleans, as well as balancing pressing work.

The snatch grip rack pull is also a great exercise for developing power and speed in the power position of the snatch and finishing power in the deadlift. The partial range of motion makes it ideal for working with heavier weights using a shorter range of motion.

It is not ideal for beginners. Novices should first master the fundamentals of the hip hinge and pulling motions to build a foundation of strength and technique.

2 thoughts on “Snatch Grip Rack Pull Exercise Form Guide with Video & Pictures”

  1. Thanks, training for 100 metre race at 75 years old.
    Would this be a good exercise for me with lighter weights for my race? Thanks in advance for your response.

    William Samuel
    Laval, Québec, Canada

    1. If programmed correctly with the rest of your routine — Yes, the snatch grip rack pull could definitely benefit you for high intensity athletic event like that. Training posterior chain explosiveness with this exercise using light weight should translate to more explosiveness on the track. Good luck.

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