Snatch-Grip Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The snatch-grip Romanian deadlift is simply a wider grip variation of the RDL that allows greater range of motion and changes the demand on the back and shoulders in keeping the bar close to the body.
With your feet in the pulling position and holding the bar in a snatch grip, set your back tightly in a complete arch. Bend the knees slightly and maintain this same slight degree of bend throughout the exercise. Hinge at the hips as far as you can without losing any arch in your back, then return the trunk to vertical. Keep the bar as close to the legs as possible without scraping throughout the motion.
The snatch-grip RDL serves the same purposes as the standard RDL—it strengthens the back arch along with the glutes and hamstrings, and strengthens the lats and shoulders because of the effort to keep the bar close to the legs with the shoulders in front of the bar. With the knees remaining bent throughout the motion rather than straightening at the top each time, the RDL emphasizes the glutes slightly more than the SLDL. The snatch grip allows a greater range of motion for flexible athletes, but also changes the demand on the back and shoulders and how the bar interacts with the legs to be more suited for preparing for the snatch.
Sets of 3-6 reps are most common. Weights usually start around 50% of the lifter’s best back squat and may be far heavier.
The snatch-grip RDL can be done with more bend in the knees to be able to handle more weight for increased back arch strengthening. It can also be done without lifting straps for more grip strength work, or standing on a box, plates or similar to allow greater range of motion for extremely flexible athletes.