The Best Exercises You Could Ever Do: Dumbell 180 Snatch

It’s been a while since I showed a “Best Exercises” post, so in honor of some of the amazing things viewed this past weekend at the NBA All-Star weekend, including the slam dunk championship, but definitely not the pro-am game with Bieber’s awkward jumper, I wanted to give something that would show some power, speed and agility.

Yeaaaaah….. my hops ain’t nuthin like that. I can usually grab the rim, even in my old age of 29, but if I could ever get my big ass over the rim, I’d probably wind up pulling the entire backboard over, kinda like Shaq did in his rookie season.

…..or not. Let’s face it peeps. I’m as ground-bound as it’s gonna get. Why you gotta make me look bad, NBA athletes?? With your millions and millions of dollars, crazy hops and fancy tattoos!! Freakin jerks, that’s what you are!!!


Here’s the exercise:

Dumbell 180 snatch

What it does: build speed, power, dynamic balance, and control through the snatch movement. Essentially, if you move the weight in anything but a strictly vertical line, you’re going to wind up propelling yourself into the nearest wall or figure competitor. Only one has the chance of ending in anything less than pain and humiliation, but that all depends on the wall.

How to do it:

Ensure the direction of rotation is from right to left if holding in your right hand, and from left to right if holding in your left hand. Rotating the other direction will make the shoulder stabilizers work stupidly hard, and the possibility of ripping a rotator cuff is much higher, so just don’t try it. During the moment of maximal momentum (say that five times fast!!!) between the second pull phase and the catch phase, push through the toes and cause a rotation to the body, and finish the catch at the same instant your feet hit the floor. A lot of control is required here, so start with lighter weights to get the technique. I’m using a 60 pounder here, but on days where I’m properly warmed up I can comfortably pull 85s and 90s with no problem.

Why the hell would you do this?? For one, it looks bad-ass, and everyone in the gym will stop and stare at you with awe, admiration, and sexual desire. Trust me.

Second, if you train for sports or activities that require maximal power output in a controlled manner (ie. every single non-endurance based sport, not including Crossfit, Jason.), this is a good ‘er. Similar to performing olympic lifting, but with a rotational component that is commonly utilized in pretty much any team sport, this movement combines power with control in a way that not many can replicate. Give it a shot, you may notice a little more hair sprouting on certain areas, and members of the opposite sex (or the same sex, who am I to judge??) juuuuust might be drawn to you like you have a powerful electro-magnet in your shorts. But more than likely it will be bodybuilder wanna-be’s asking you if that works your traps while their weight belts hang loose around their waist and their hairlines receed in front of you from all the excess testosterone in their weight gainer shakes. Just make sure they stop doing their curls in the squat rack.

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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2 Responses to The Best Exercises You Could Ever Do: Dumbell 180 Snatch

  1. Mike Groth says:

    Dean –
    love the website. your content is very solid, and you do a great job infusing your own comedic style into the mix, which is crucial for individuals like myself who have severe ADD. I actually have a fitness blog myself, started about a month ago if you’d like to take a peak, I provided my website url. I like the db snatch, great for generating vertical unilateral power, but adding this rotational component to me suggests a shift in the risk:reward ratio. In what athletic populations would you think this exercise would benefit? I guess I could see volleyball, football wide recievers, and perhaps basketball players, but damn, it looks like even you, the carioca king, struggle with this lift a tad. your thoughts?

    • deansomerset says:

      Struggle?? How dare you even insinuate such a thing!!! Just kidding. That’s what I get for pulling a 60 without warming up before and without doing at least a practice set. The fiancee was filming and she had her “WTF is he doing, I’m gonna be late for the Young and the Restless, look at my watch and maybe he’ll hurry the hell up” look, so I wanted to get in and get out. My bad.

      There is always an element of risk involved with any dynamic movement like this, but teach it in a progression such as DB snatch –> light DB 180 snatch –> progressively heavier DB 180 snatch, and the risk will be limited as the person becomes used to the movement. I’ve had people on day one throwing down some pretty impressive 180s, and then there are those who I would suggest cutting off their own arm in an impersonnation of 127 Hours before trying this out.

      As for those who would benefit from it, any athlete that has to incorporate any type of rotational power and control would benefit from this. I’ve had football players (almost all positions), soccer players, hockey, wrestlers, and racket sports players going through it with no problems. I wouldn’t want to use it too much with volleyball, as their sport has little need for rotational movements, mostly linear.

      I’ll check out your site and leave random comments all over your posts.

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