Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches Workouts, Benefits and Technique Tips

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches Workouts are an excellent way to improve your power, skill, coordination, strength and conditioning.

Benefits of Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches are great for all athletes, whatever your current ability level. The movement requires less technique, mobility, and skill than the barbell snatch, yet offers the benefits of improved explosive power, single arm (unilateral) coordination and strength.

The barbell snatch can take years of practice to even reach a half decent standard, so the single arm dumbbell snatch is a safer substitute, as well as being a hugely effective exercise in its own right.

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches will identify weaknesses and imbalances in your movement and strength. They enhance shoulder, back and grip strength, and can easily be combined with other exercises to form workouts and complexes that will test and improve your metabolic conditioning, skill and strength whilst fatigued and health in general.

These benefits will easily transition into other outdoor activities such as climbing, kayaking or ghyll scrambling for example.

Muscles Worked by Dumbbell Snatches

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches recruit many muscles when performed correctly. The shoulders, triceps, back and scapular muscles are all important for generating power and stabilising the movement.

The larger back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, traps, and scapular stabilising muscles all help to generate force in the pulling phases of the snatch. The shoulder stabilisers support overhead control and the rhomboids help to balance the shoulder blades and allow maximum shoulder strength and stability.

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches also target the posterior chain that runs down the back of your body. The glutes, hamstrings and erectors are all tested and improved by this explosive movement.

How to do Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches

  1. Place a dumbbell on the floor and stand with your feet either side, shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outward.
  2. Let your right arm hand down between your legs. Breaking at the hips first then bending the knees, squat down and grip the dumbbell with your palm facing your body (pronated grip). Keep the elbow fully extended.
  3. Inhale and brace your core, grip and glutes.
  4. Explode and extend your hips, knees and ankles (triple extension). Keep your arm straight (fully extended)
  5. As your hips, knees and ankles reach full extension, shrug your shoulder (with the arm that holds the dumbbell)
  6. Flex the elbow and drop your body beneath the weight of the dumbbell. Drop to a quarter squat position as you keep pulling the weight upwards with your arm
  7. Once the arm holding the dumbbell is under the dumbbell, extend the elbow quickly to push the dumbbell up and the body downward under the dumbbell.
  8. Catch the dumbbell in the overhead position. Find your balance and fully stabilise the movement
  9. Stand up into the fully extended position whilst keeping the dumbbell balanced overhead
  10. Exhale and stay in full control as you lower the weight
  11. Repeat

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches can be performed as a Squat Snatch or Power Snatch. In the squat position the athlete must catch the dumbbell in a squat position and break parrallel. In the power position the dumbbell can be caught with the knees less bent. See the video below for more information.

Training Tips for Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches

The arm that is not performing the Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch can be used to balance the movement and keep the body stable.

Depending on the workout you may alternate between arms as you perform Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches. You can switch hands when the dumbbell is on the floor, in the hang position or during the descent.

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches Workouts

WORKOUT 1

5 Rounds for Time

  • 2 Right-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (2-second pause at the bottom)
  • 2 Left-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (2-second pause at the bottom)
  • 2 Right-Arm Dumbbell Overhead Squats (2-second pause at the bottom)
  • 2 Left-Arm Dumbbell Overhead Squats (2-second pause at the bottom)

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written for 5 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Overhead Squats is completed.

Intended Stimulus

Although the loading may not be relatively heavy, the fact that we are spending more time under tension and holding the bottom of the squat will have that effect. The loading should be something moderate that we can still hold the bottom for. If overhead squats are your nemesis, don’t miss out on this one, let’s turn it into a strength!

Scaling

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 second Squat Hold
  • 5 Jumping Squats
  • 5 Jumping Lunges (per leg)
  • 5 second Squat Hold

Snatch: If we are working on the skill of this movement, receive in the power position and then continue to squat down. If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from using one arm, only use the good arm. If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from going overhead with one arm, but we can still use it, perform a Clean (you could do this with both arms too if needed).

Squat: If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from squatting, receive in the power position (1/4 squat or higher).

WORKOUT 2

Every 3 minutes (for 6 Rounds) in 18 minutes

  • 6 Burpees
  • 18 Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • 7 Toes-to-Bars
  • 9 Goblet Squats (50/35 lb)

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written in 3 minutes for 6 rounds. Record the time it takes to complete each round. You have 3 minutes to complete all 4 movements. Rest during whatever time is left after you’re done. For example, if it takes you 2 minutes to complete all the movements, you have 1 minute to rest before the next interval starts. Repeat this interval every 3 minutes until you have completed 6 rounds (i.e. this workout will be 18 minutes total).

Score is the time of the slowest round.

Scaling

The recommended weight for the dumbbell snatches and goblet squats is 50 lbs for men, 35 lbs for women, but scale accordingly. If you cannot do Toes-to-Bar, do Knees-to-Elbows or Hanging Knee Raises. If you don’t have a Pull-Up bar, do V-Ups on the ground.

WORKOUT 3

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 150 Jump Rope Single-Unders
  • 20 Weight Box Step Ups (50/35 lb, 24/20 in)
  • 20 Toes to Bar
  • 20 Weight Step Back Lunges (50/35 lb)
  • 20 Dumbbell Snatches on alternating arms (50/35 lb)

On a 20-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock.

Man performing dumbbell box step overs.
Keep grinding ©Luis Lopes

Scaling

Change:

Single Unders to Jumping Jacks

Toes to Bar to Knees to Elbows or Sit Ups

With the Box Step Ups, Lunges and Dumbbell Snatches, simply reduce the weight and the height of the box if necessary.

WORKOUT 4

For Time

  • 400 metre Weighted Run (35/25 lb)
  • 20 Dumbbell Hang Squat Cleans (2×35/25 lb)
  • 15 Devil Presses (2×35/25 lb)
  • 50 Russian Twists (35/25 lb)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches on alternating arms (35/25 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 6 rounds. Before starting the workout, complete the buy-in of 65 seconds moment of silence.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Russian Twists is completed.

Scaling

Lower the weight for the dumbbells. You should be able to move through all exercises with speed but it should be a challenge at the same time.

SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL SNATCHES WORKOUT 5: RUN CARRY JUMP

3 Rounds for Time

  • 400 metre Run
  • 200 metre Dumbbell Front Rack Carry (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with right arm (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with left arm (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Burpees to Target

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Burpees is completed.

Interested in the history of running? Learn more about how athletes broke the 4 minute mile mark.

Intended Stimulus

We are looking to be finished with this little ditty in under 13 minutes today. Our 400m runs should be fast relative to our ability (you can also row 500m or bike 800m if you have them) and take under 2 minutes each round. The 200m dumbbell front rack carry could be performed with a kettlebell as well if you want, but it should be pretty quick and take us under :90 to complete as we are only using one dumbbell. However, if you want to use two, dial the distance to 100m. Lastly, the burpees to target should be taking us under :40 per round to complete. Hammer down on this one!

Scaling

3 Rounds for Time

  • 400 metre Run
  • 100 metre Walking Lunges
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with right arm (reduced weight)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with left arm (reduced weight)
  • 10 Burpees to Target

Run: If running 400 meters will take us over 2 minutes consistently to finish, run 200 meters. If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from running, either row 500m, or bike 800m if you have access to them.

Dumbbell Front Rack Carry: If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from using one arm, only use the good arm.

Burpee to Target: If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from going all the way to the ground on the Burpee, just go to the top of the Push-Up. If we have an injury or limitation that prevents us from jumping, just step up to standing.

WORKOUT 6 – PARTNER WORKOUT

10 Rounds for Time (with a Partner)

  • 4 Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 20 Alternating Dumbbell Squat Clusters (45/35 lb)
  • 13 Box Jump Overs (24/20 in)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with right arm (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatches with left arm (50/35 lb)

Time Cap: 40 minutes

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 11 rounds. Only one athlete works at a time. No minimum work required.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Box Jump Overs is completed.

Movement Standards

Dumbbell Squat Clusters: For this combination, athlete must perform a Squat Clean directly into a Thruster. Athlete will only use one Dumbbell and complete the prescribed reps with alternating hands.

Scaling

  • Switch rope climbs with bent over dumbbell rows
  • Reduce the weight of the dumbbells
  • Change the Box Jump Overs to Box Step Ups

WORKOUT 7 – SPRINT INTERVAL

8 Rounds for Time and Reps

1 minute of:

  • 200 foot Shuttle Run
  • Max Dumbbell Snatches with alternating arms (2×50/35 lb)
  • Rest 1 minute

There are two scores to this workout:

Score 1: Total run time across all 8 sets.

Score 2: Total thrusters completed across all 8 sets.

Rope climb during single arm dumbbell snatches workout.
Push your limits ©Luis Lopes

Movement Standards

Shuttle Run: One hand and foot must touch the line on each of the turns. A 10-sec penalty will be added for each line you do not touch. You must stay within a 4′ wide lane for each of your runs. A 10-sec penalty will be added each time you go outside of the 4′ wide line. ⁣

Scaling

Scale dumbbell loading as needed.

SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL SNATCHES WORKOUT 8

For time

  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Deadlifts
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Cleans
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Strict Presses
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Push Presses
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Jerks
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Swings
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Sumo Deadlift HIgh-Pulls
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches (Left Hand)
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches (Right Hand)
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Man Makers

Use one pair of Dumbbells (55/35 lb) throughout

Use the same pair of dumbbells throughout. Originally the workout was designed as “choose your own weight.” If you’re looking for an Rx weight consider 50/35 lb.

One man maker consists of a dumbbell push-up, two renegade rows (one per arm), and a squat clean thruster.

Score is the time on the clock when the last repetition of Man Makers is completed.

Movement Standards

Most of the weighted movements (Deadlifts, Cleans, Strict Presses, Push Presses, Jerks, Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls, and Man Makers) are intended to be done with two Dumbbells.

Scaling

Reduce the weight of the dumbbell.

WORKOUT 9

7 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Man Makers
  • 20 Dumbbell Deadlifts
  • 30 Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (15 per side)
  • 40 Single-Arm Overhead Lunges (20 per side)
  • 50 Dumbbell Swings

Use one pair of dumbbells throughout (pick your own weight)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 7 rounds. This workout was originally intended to be a “choose your own weight” adventure. If you’re looking for an Rx weight consider 35/25 lb.

One man maker consists of a dumbbell push-up, two renegade rows (one per arm), and a squat clean thruster.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Dumbbell Swings is completed.

Scaling

Chose a lighter dumbbell.

Tips & Strategy

Settle in for a long workout (intermediate athletes should finish in 50-90 minutes) by picking a pace that you can maintain for that amount of time. In other words, don’t do the first 10 Man Makers unbroken. Do one, rest a second, do another, etc. For the rest of the movements, break up the reps into very manageable sets.

Go slower than you think you need to for round one. See if you can hold that pace for the next 6 rounds.

SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL SNATCHES WORKOUT – 10

For Time

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Reps of:

  • Alternating Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • Press Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Perform 10 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches and 10 Press Ups before moving on to 9 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches and 9 Press Ups and so on.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Press Ups is completed.

Scaling

Lower the weight of the dumbbell for the Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches.

Perform the Press Ups with the hands in an elevated position (on a box or the wall) to scale them.

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches are a great exercise to use if you want to improve your power, strength and coordination. They are effective for outdoor fitness as it is easy to carry a dumbbell outside to train. With many transferable and functional benefits for healthy movement and a stronger, functional body, add the above workouts into your training and challenge and develop your body in new ways.

Want to get fitter? Try these Lower Abs, Back Squat and Home Workouts.