Movement Technique: Horizontal- vs. Vertical-Grip Dumbbell Snatch

This week I’ve been writing some variations in technique for the five major lifts. So far I have covered,

  • Low-bar vs. high-bar back squat.
  • Sumo vs. conventional deadlift.
  • Close-grip vs. wide-grip bench press.
  • Split jerk vs. squat jerk in the clean & jerk.


Admittedly when I started writing this series, I didn’t know what technique variations I was going to write about regarding the snatch. As I put more thought into it, I realized that the vast majority of our readers wouldn’t benefit much from going into the specifics of different snatch pull techniques.

Snatch Pull Phases


So instead, I decided to write about the two different hand positions of a dumbbell snatch–something that would probably be of more benefit to our readers. When it comes to the dumbbell snatch, you can either pick up the dumbbell with a horizontal grip or a vertical grip.

The horizontal grip mimics the barbell snatch better than the vertical grip. Two of the major benefits to a horizontal grip is that you can keep the dumbbell closer to the body and you can recruit the same sequence of muscles in the second and third pull of a barbell snatch.

Vertical-Grip vs. Horizontal-Grip

The vertical grip will mimic more of a kettlebell swing as the path of the dumbbell will loop around the body. This is the preferred method of most athletes because you can recruit more of your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and low back). Additionally, when the dumbell is overhead, a vertical grip feels more natural as the weight must be placed directly over your shoulder.

Takeaway

The horizontal grip in the dumbell snatch mimics more of a barbell snatch. The vertical grip mimics more of an american kettlebell swing. Either way is correct and preference should be given to whichever feels more natural.

However, if you were to do a double dumbbell snatch, I would recommend doing only the vertical grip. Placing the dumbbells horizontally between your legs in a dumbbell snatch would require that you start in a sumo stance–something that wouldn’t be optimal to driving weight overhead.

Tyler

Daily WOD

I’m challenging you right now to workout 50 days in-a-row. Here is your workout today.

Day 34 (of 50)
For Time:
30 DB Vertical-Grip Power Snatch
30 Sit Ups
30 Box Jumps
30 DB Shoulder to Overhead
30 Box Jumps
30 Sit Ups
30 DB Horizontal-Grip Power Snatch

Other “Movement Technique” Articles In This Series:
1. Back Squat: High-Bar vs. Low-Bar
2. Deadlift: Conventional vs. Sumo
3. Bench Press: Close-Grip vs. Wide-Grip
4. Jerk: Split vs. Squat
5. Snatch (DB): Horizontal-Grip vs. Vertical-Grip

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