How to Do a Dumbbell Snatch

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The phrase “Olympic weightlifting” might sound a little scary, mainly because it implies that you should be lifting weights at an Olympic level – a prospect that is, of course, daunting. But in fact, it’s not about competing at all.

It’s actually just a way of describing some of the lifting movements that weightlifters perform. And when you think about it, most sports or fitness activities are also done at the Olympic level – swimming, running and soccer to name a few.

Admittedly, some of the moves performed by Olympic lifters seem difficult, especially the barbell snatch. If you haven’t heard of the exercise, you might recognize it – it involves moving a barbell from the floor to an overhead position – and very quickly.

It’s not just a move Olympians should practice. If you’re even slightly interested in weightlifting, the barbell snatch is a great way to test and improve your strength, as it’s a full-body movement that involves a lot of technique.

“A snatch is characterized by taking the bar off the floor and overhead in one motion,” says Danielle Ren’e Gaskell, personal trainer and co-owner of CrossFit Tooting and CrossFit Streatham gyms. The movement begins in a position similar to a deadlift and ends in a squat position with the barbell lifted above your head, similar to an overhead squat. It may seem like the upper body is doing all the work, but it’s actually a full body movement that targets many areas of the body, including the glutes and hips.

But before moving on to them, it is better to have a good understanding of the basics.

How to Do a Dumbbell Snatch

The barbell snatch is a technical movement made up of different parts. Despite this, the bar needs to move quickly from floor to ceiling, as this is how more experienced lifters create enough power to move heavy weights from floor to ceiling.

Combining the different technical elements is an important part of getting to this point and practicing each part of the snatch separately is a good way to perfect your form and improve at this time.

Here’s how to do a barbell snatch step by step, according to Gaskell:

  1. Place a plate on each side of the bar and lay it on the ground.
  2. Stand with your feet under the bar, shoulder width apart.
  3. Hinge your hips and bend your legs slightly to reach your arms and grab the bar. They should be wider than your feet and positioned so that if you stand with the barbell hanging just across your hips.
  4. Keeping your arms straight with your chest lifted, lift the bar off the floor past your knees and toward your hips, letting the bar brush your hips.
  5. When the bar reaches your hips, the movement should speed up. Quickly shrug your shoulders and bend your elbows so they point toward the ceiling, moving the barbell to chest height. Your heels can lift off the ground to support the weight.
  6. Spread your elbows and extend your arms to push the bar overhead as you bend your knees to lower yourself into a squat. Your feet should jump as you lower so that you land a little wider than when you started the movement.
  7. Hang low and keep your arms locked above your head. Press down on your feet and stand up straight.
  8. Lower the bar to your chest and then to the floor.

How to Perfect the Dumbbell Snatch

“The snatch is a technically difficult move, so it requires a lot of consistency,” says Gaskell. “Weightlifting is very much about what’s going on in your head as well as what’s going on physically and confidence is a big thing, which comes with practice.”

You can also practice moves like overhead presses and overhead squats to improve your barbell snatch. Ensuring your technique is correct with the dumbbell snatch is also crucial for safety and form – if the body is in the wrong place under the bar it can disrupt the movement.

For this reason, it might be a good idea to refer you to an Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit class, or contact a personal trainer, so they can help you with your form.

How to modify the barbell snatch for beginners

If you’re new to the snatch or weightlifting in general, start by practicing a barbell snatch with a PVC pipe (they have these at most gyms – ask a trainer if you don’t). are not sure) rather than with a dumbbell. This will allow you to learn the mechanics of the movement without any weight pressure.

  1. When you start using a barbell and adding weight to it, be sure to gradually increase the weight to avoid injury and bad technique habits.
  2. You can also try grabbing with a dumbbell or kettlebell, if the thought of using a barbell still intimidates you.
  3. How to do a dumbbell/kettlebell snatch:
  4. With your feet shoulder-width apart, place the weight between your legs.
  5. Hinge your hips and lean forward slightly to take the dumbbell in one hand, keeping your chest lifted.
  6. Lift the weight through the midline of your body, keeping the weight close to your body.
  7. When the weight reaches your hips, raise your shoulders and bend your elbows up to face the ceiling to bring the weight up to chest height.
  8. From there, stand on your tiptoes and jump up to powerfully move the weight above your head, extending your arm so it’s completely straight. Your knees should be slightly bent to stabilize your body, but you don’t have to squat completely.
  9. Repeat the movement on your other arm.



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