Well, the complexity can get a bit overwhelming. It’s a compound movement, meaning it combines multiple exercises into one. That’s part of what makes it so effective, but it also means there are plenty of ways you can unknowingly get it wrong.
“The snatch is a really great, explosive, and powerful full-body move,” says session trainer Kat Atienza. “But it has many complicated parts.”
According to Maillard Howell, owner of Dean CrossFit and founder of The Beta Way, a dumbbell snatch involves three separate elements. “The snatch is a dynamic movement that requires a highly developed sense of proprioception, technique and explosive speed that results in the weight going overhead,” Howell previously said Good + good. Proprioception is having a sense of where our bodies are in space, technique relates to proper form and explosive speed, well, you get it.
But no fear! Lots of intricate parts means all you have to do is disassemble the dumbbell snatch step by step. At latest The right way Atienza video shows you where mistakes can be made during this step and what you should do instead.
Here’s how to do the dumbbell snatch
1. Hinge, do not squat
The first segment of this movement is similar to a deadlift. That said, to get your hand on the floor so you can pick up your barbell, you should bend at your hips, not your knees (although you should only keep a small, soft bend in your knees). Atienza recommends mastering this hinge section first. You should feel your hamstrings engage if you do it right.
2. Pull, don’t curl
You may be tempted to use your biceps for the second part of this exercise. But to get the barbell into the next position next to your collarbone, you want to pull the barbell straight up your body so your elbow is extending sideways from your shoulder. The work should be in your core, not your biceps.
3. Straight, not inclined
Sometimes when people start pulling the barbell over their head, Atienza sees things get really shaky. To pull it up there, some people push the weight overhead and lean to the side. Instead, this is supposed to be a continuation of the move in part two, so you pull it right over your head. There is some speed in this move, but you should still be able to control the weight.
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