This is a great explosive exercise for the entire body.
It's fairly simple to learn and do...I find the 1 arm dumbbell snatch to be WAY easier to learn than the Olympic barbell snatch. Plus, when you don't have bumper plates that you can drop on the ground from overhead without cracking your floor, the dumbbell version of the snatch (or kettlebell) gives you a good option.
This is a KILLER exercise for athletics.
If you want to build power out of a crouch or split position, this is perfect and more applicable than a barbell movement. When you think about it, it's rare in any sport that you have your feet set beside each other like with a regular Olympic lift. You're more likely to be in a split position like with this exercise.
From a muscular standpoint, explosive training hits the Type 2b muscle fibers, which are designed for power and explosion. This type of training also helps tune your nervous system for firing more motor units at once, which helps build strength via motor learning.
Also, because you're performing this with just one arm, you'll put great demands on the core in terms of not only exploding the dumbbell off the ground but stabilizing the core during the exercise and also while holding the dumbbell overhead at the end of the movement.
Start with a moderate weight dumbbell (I started with a 65 lb dumbbell the first time I did it) until you learn the movement.
Get into a modified split squat position. When I say modified, it won't be a classic position where your torso is upright and your back knee is near the ground.
In this version, your right leg is forward, you'll be gripping the dumbbell with your left hand, and your left leg is back and the knee is a bit off the ground. Your back leg should be exerting forward pressure on the floor, like a sprint start because when you explode out of the bottom, you'll be pushing up and forward with that back leg, too.
Brace your right hand on your right knee as you'll be pushing down hard on your knee to give even a bit more assistance to the upward explosion.
Get ready to explode up!
In one powerful movement, explode the dumbbell off the ground. Don't pop it off the ground...think of it is a powerful squeeze and explosion off the ground, using your whole body to accelerate the dumbbell up in the air.
At this point, you're primarily guiding the dumbbell but still using upper body muscles to help continue the upward movement. And, as I mentioned above, as your exploding the dumbbell off the ground, you're also pushing forward with your back leg, bringing it forward and into a standing position.
Come all the way to overhead lockout with the dumbbell and hold it for a few seconds.
Then set it back down on the floor and go again with the other leg forward.
I've also got a straight-on view of the exercise for you. In in this pic, you can more clearly see how I've got my hand on my knee to lend upper body help to the explosion out of the bottom.
Set the dumbbell down and repeat on the other side.
The first time I tried this, I was really impressed with how well it worked not only my legs but my core and posterior chain as well (the muscles down the back of the body).
This development of power out of a split squat position makes it a GREAT exercise not only for athletes but for anybody who wants to develop more athletic power and capability.
This exercise can also be very easily done with a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell, if you prefer. You'll get the same benefits from it (and possibly more because of the unique demands of the kettlebell snatch).
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