Video Demonstration

While you may not see the Squat Snatch at your local gym, it is a popular exercise in many CrossFit boxes.

This lift will develop your explosive power, speed, improve coordination and stability. It also increases your mobility and flexibility.

The Squat Snatch is classified a compound pulling exercise.

In this article, we will cover how you do the exercise with video, image and a written step by step description.

The different equipment you will need. Muscles that this exercise will work.

Benefits you get by using this exercise. Also, some training tips to make sure you are not making some of the more frequent errors commonly made.

Dumbbell Squat Snatch How to Guide

Image Example

Man showing how to do the Dumbbell Squat Snatch

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip and move your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards. Place your arm with the dumbbell in front of your thigh with the palm of your hand facing toward your body.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 2: Push your hips back and bend at the knees squatting down. Keep your arm straight and your shoulder in line with the dumbbell. The dumbbell should be hanging between your knees. Now quickly extend at your hips and knees pulling the dumbbell upwards. Continue pulling the dumbbell upwards with your arm by shrugging your shoulders. Your elbow should pull up and to the side.

Step 3: Pull yourself under the dumbbell and catch it with your arm extended overhead while moving back down into a squat position. The crease of your hip needs to go lower than your knees to be at proper depth. Complete the lift by raising out of the squat with your hips and knees fully extended with the weight over your and arm still fully extended.

Congratulations you have completed one repetition. Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch arms and repeat.

Difficulty Level

The Dumbbell Squat Snatch is an intermediate training method.

Equipment Required

To perform this lift, you will need a dumbbell. If you do not have a gym, you should look into getting adjustable dumbbells.

An adjustable dumbbell is the most cost effective way to allow you to continue to increase the weight.

Muscles Worked

The Snatch is a full body workout that trains multiple muscle groups in your upper and lower body.

The muscles used in your lower body are your Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes and the calves.

The upper body muscles used in the Squat Snatch are your primarily your Trapezius and the Deltoids.

Benefits of the Dumbbell Squat Snatch

The Squat Snatch is a full body workout and functional training exercise. Doing this exercise will make tasks in your daily activities easier to complete.

You can use this exercise to increase your strength when you use it with a heavy weight and low repetitions.

You can also use it with a lighter weight and higher repetitions to help work on your cardiovascular endurance. CrossFit centers commonly employ Olympic lifts in this way.

However, when you do this do not let your form break down.

Once you feel your form is not 100% correct, you need to stop performing the set. Since this is such an advanced exercise, any breakdown in form creates a high chance of injury.

Training Tips

Try to keep the dumbbell as close to your body as you can.

When you are at the top of extension, perform a shrug.

At full extension, pull your body down under the dumbbell. Do not push the dumbbell up overhead.

You need to catch the dumbbell in the bottom of an overhead squat. Have your arm fully extended over your midline to help keep your balance.

Make sure that the crease of your hip goes below the knees when performing the squat.

Keep your core engaged the entire time you are performing this lift.

  • Variations of the Dumbbell Squat Snatch

  • Barbell Squat Snatch

  • Kettlebell Squat Snatch

  • 2 Arm Squat Snatch


Using full body movement like the Snatch will help you to find and strengthen any weak spots you may have.

When you are first learning this action, you need to use a very light weight to reduce your chances of injury.

While you can employ these lifts for conditioning professionals like Tsypkin and Rippetoe suggest using alternate training methods for conditioning.

They advise you to instead do some "Push the Prowler, sled drags, run some hills, or do some sprints." use these with High-Intensity Interval Training to create the maximum metabolic effect.

Not only are these exercises safer and lower the chance of an injury.

They are also shown to create a higher metabolic effect than Olympic lifting with high reps.

However, if your goal is to compete in the sport of CrossFit using high reps will be required and should be practiced.

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