Whatever your aim is when you step through the doors of the gym, the dumbbell snatch is a move that can help you get there. It’ll boost your strength and power, work muscles all over the body, and get your heart pumping faster too. The only reason not to do it, in fact, is if all the dumbbells at your gym are in use – in which case do the kettlebell snatch instead.
While the move might look complicated when you first see it done, you’ll find that once the dumbbell is in your hand it all flows together easily. In terms of technique, that is – your muscles will be working overtime.
The move first works your lower body, primarily the hamstrings and glutes, and then hits your shoulders and triceps particularly hard in the second half of the exercise. Your core muscles will be working throughout to keep your body stable as you move explosively from down to up.
How To Do The Dumbbell Snatch
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in an overhand grip. Sit your hips back and lower into a squat, letting the dumbbell hang down to touch the floor directly beneath your chest. Your back should be straight and you should keep your chest and head up.
Return to standing and lift the dumbbell explosively using your legs and back. Once it reaches the level of your hips, start pulling the dumbbell up with your arm, using the momentum created by your legs. As the dumbbell reaches shoulder height, quickly flip your elbow underneath the weight and press it overhead, locking out your elbow. You shouldn’t be struggling to press the weight – it should be an easy extension of the move, with most of the work done by your legs to create momentum during the first stage of the lift. Try using a lighter weight if you find you have to press the weight mostly with your arm.
Reverse the movement to return to the start, moving more slowly than in the explosive lifting phase. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.