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Dumbbell Variations of Olympic Lifts

If you're a fan of Olympic weightlifting, you're likely familiar with the barbell variations of the snatch and clean and jerk. However, what do you do when you don't have access to a barbell or are working around an injury? Enter... The Dumbbell!


Dumbbells are a versatile piece of equipment that can be used to add variety to your training and also serve as a substitute for barbells when needed. So whether you're an Olympic Lifter looking to add variety to your program, or you're interested in incorporating unique and beneficial movements into your regular training, these are a few exercises to utilize.

First, let's discuss why you might want to use dumbbells instead of a barbell. One reason could be that you don't have access to a barbell or a proper lifting platform. Maybe you're working out at home or traveling and don't have access to a gym. Another reason could be that you're dealing with an injury and need to modify your training. Dumbbells can be a great alternative in these situations.

Now let's talk about the different variations you can do with dumbbells.


Dumbbell Snatch

The dumbbell snatch is a great exercise for building explosive power and strength in your hips, legs, and upper body. Here's how to perform it:

  • Begin with the dumbbell on the ground between your feet. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your toes should be pointing forward.


  • Squat down and grab the dumbbell with one hand, keeping your back straight and your chest up.

  • Explosively stand up, extending your hips and knees, and pull the dumbbell up towards your shoulder.


  • As the dumbbell reaches shoulder height, quickly rotate your elbow around and press the weight overhead.

  • Lower the weight back down to the starting position and repeat on the other side.



Dumbbell Clean and Jerk

The dumbbell clean and jerk is another great exercise for building explosive power and strength in your hips, legs, and upper body. Here's how to perform it:

  • Begin with the dumbbell on the ground in front of you. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your toes should be pointing forward.


  • Squat down and grab the dumbbell with one hand, keeping your back straight and your chest up.

  • Explosively stand up, extending your hips and knees, and pull the dumbbell up towards your shoulders.


  • Once the dumbbell is shouldered, keep the chest upright as you dip to begin the jerk.

  • Explode through the legs while extending the arm toward the ceiling and receive the load in a split, lunge-like, stance.

  • Lower the weight back down to the starting position and repeat.



Dumbbell Overhead Squat

The dumbbell overhead squat is a great exercise for building stability and mobility in your shoulders, as well as strength in your legs. Here's how to perform it:

  • Begin with the dumbbell overhead, with your arm fully extended and your palm facing forward.

  • Squat down, keeping your heels on the ground and your chest up.


  • As you squat down, keep your arm extended overhead and your palm facing forward.

  • Squat as low as you can while maintaining proper form, and then stand back up.

  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.



Dumbbell Split Snatch

The split snatch .... Here's how to perform it:

  • Begin in the same starting position as the snatch and clean with the dumbbell held between the legs with the arm straight.


  • The extension will be identical to the snatch, pulling the elbows up and transitioning into the turnover of the wrist and finishing with a locked out arm.


  • The key difference is in the catch: you are going to receive the weight in a lunge, similar to the jerk


  • Effectively, this exercise combines the snatch and jerk into one movement, making it a great and unique choice for developing power and athleticism.


Final Thoughts

Dumbbell variations of the barbell Olympic lifts are a great way to add variety to your training and substitute for barbells when needed. They can also be a great option when dealing with an injury. Give these exercises a try in your next workout and see how they can improve your strength and explosiveness!


Interested in learning more about these movements? Inquire about online or in person training programs by emailing: TheCoaches@Mach1Barbell.com



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