Risqat doing a dumbbell snatch

Move of the week: snatches to build explosive power and strength

Posted by for Workouts

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: dumbbell snatches. 

A snatch may be associated with Olympic weightlifters who throw huge barbells overhead, but it’s actually a great move for everyone to include in their training. That’s because it requires you to be explosive – moving quickly through a large range of motion. That skill is transferable to all walks of life and sport,  maintaining your ability to spring into action whenever needed. 

What is a dumbbell snatch?

The dumbbell snatch involves taking a weight from the floor to over your head in one smooth lift. 

The exercise is great because:

It’s a compound move: it works pretty much every muscle in the lower body, core and upper body.

It improves power and strength: you have to be explosive to move a weight through such a large range of motion. 

It builds stability and co-ordination: as you work one side at a time with heavy load and speed. 

What muscles does a snatch work?

A snatch works your whole body, but particularly targets:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Abdominals
  • Shoulders (rotator cuff, deltoids)
  • Back (traps, lats, spinal erectors)
  • Triceps
  • Biceps

How to do a dumbbell snatch

  1. Place a dumbbell on the floor between your legs.
  2. Roll your shoulders back and down, engage your core before hinging at the hips and bending your knees to grab the dumbbell in one hand. 
  3. Press through your heels to stand, moving your hips forwards and straightening your legs and pulling the dumbbell off the floor.
  4. As the weight comes to your collarbone, your elbow should be bend so it is in line with your shoulders.
  5. Then straighten your arm above your head. 
  6. Bend your elbow to lower back down to shoulder height, and hinge at the hips and bed the knees to lower the dumbbell to the ground. 

Images: Stylist

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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