The Dumbbell Snatch


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Dumbbell Snatch

Muscle Groups Targeted:  Glutes, Hamstrings, Trapezius, deltoids, and Levator Scapulae

Importance: Excellent total body exercise to help build the entire posterior chain, as well as challenging your cardiovascular system.

Proper Form:

  • You may begin this exercise with the dumbbell on the floor, or in the hang position (where you are holding the dumbbell while standing in an upright position with a fully extended arm)
  • Grip the dumbbell with an overhand grip and your feet slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Bend your knees and drop your hips toward the floor with your torso close to an upright position so the tension is not placed on your spine, but rather your legs
  • You should have a slight arch (forward) in the lower back
  • Initiate the movement by extending the knees, driving hips forward, and pulling the dumbbell toward the ceiling while shrugging your shoulder
  • During this time, you should also be moving onto the balls of your feet
  • During your pull, your elbow should remain above the dumbbell until the dumbbell reaches slightly above shoulder height
  • Upon hitting that point, you must rotate at the elbow and begin to re-extend your arm as the momentum you generated from your pull continues to carry the dumbbell to the top position
  • You should catch the dumbbell in the top position directly above your shoulder with a locked out elbow and your arm slightly behind your ear
  • In the catch position, you should receive the dumbbell with a slight knee bend before extending to top position
  • At this point, your palm should be facing the opposite direction as it was when you started
  • In a controlled manner, lower the dumbbell to the front of your shoulder and then back down to the start position


  • Keep the dumbbell as close to your body as you can throughout the movement
  • Use your hips!
  • Bend with your legs, not your back when reaching down to initiate the movement

Sample Workout:

  • 20 alternating dumbbell snatches
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 45 second plank
  • 250 meter row

Do 5 rounds of this to put your cardiovascular endurance to the test!