Single Arm DB Snatch for Mountain Biking

Here is a video demo I just shot on how to do a single arm DB snatch. This is a great exercise that lets us get some of the power developing benefits of Olympic style lifts without having to spend a lot of time on the technical aspects of the traditional snatch and clean.

Power development is crucial for mountain bikers. This exercise will help you pedal harder and bunny hop higher on the trail.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Chris says:

    Hey James, what’s your view on a bilateral version of this exercise. I know certain coaches talk about the torso strength and stabilization value of the unilateral DB snatch, and I do incorporate both this and a Uni DB hang clean into my programme, but do you think there is a place for a two hand version. To add extra weight and develop some more power or should I really start to learn some Olympic lifting (which is something I definitely want to learn to really master eventually) and keep using this unilateral exercise for its own specific merit.

    Rock on!

    Reply • March 3 at 1:39 pm
    • bikejames says:

      @ Chris – there is definitely a place for double arm lifts. I like to use a Snatch with a narrower clean grip from the hang position as it is easier to learn and implement. The regular clean and snatch are great but unless you have good coaching they can be tough to do right and minimize.

      Reply • March 5 at 12:43 pm
  2. Maxwell says:

    One more data point: this exercise seems to have an almost immediate effect on some chronic shoulder issues …your results may vary.

    Reply • March 6 at 6:48 am
    • bikejames says:

      @ Maxwell – Yeah, if you have shoulder issues then this may not be the best exercise for you…

      Reply • March 8 at 1:07 pm
  3. Rick Beauchamp says:

    Chris, 2 yrs ago I was riding a trail when I pulled the front of the bike up to get over a small rise when I heard a snap in my shoulder. I ripped the tendons in my shoulder, totally seperated my supraspinitas, tore my labrum and bicep muscle. When I was training for the 2008 season I totally focused on aerobics and no weight training. I took a year off to rehab my shoulder and even after that year with a good therapist and a great surgeon I still had some discomfort in the shoulder. I did this excercise 2 times and my shoulder feels better then it has in a long time. I know that if I had done this and the other excercises before that season, I would never have had the accident I had. Keep up the good work…


    Reply • March 15 at 4:17 pm
  4. Simon says:

    Hey James: May be pointing out the obvious here, but often the difference between cleaning a climb and not is the ability to use a sudden burst of power to muscle over a rock or root, even when you’re already working hard. In your opinion, is the ability to do this best trained by this kind of power exercise (snatch, swing, etc), or just by getting stronger?

    Also, how do you reconcile Rick Beauchamp’s comment with Maxwell’s?? Cheers

    Reply • November 28 at 8:22 pm
    • bikejames says:

      Like everything else it kind of depends. Power is just strength applied quickly so if you don’t have the strength base in the first place you can’t get very powerful. In addition, you can start to max out your strength-to-power ration in which case you need to get stronger as well. However, for most riders you need to work on both at all times. Doing some power exercises and a strength exercise in the same workout is what you want.

      As for the difference in experience with bad shoulders, it really depends on if you have a mobility or stability issue. If you have a mobility issue (which I think you and Maxwell have) then you won’t be able to get into the right position at the top which will result in impingement and pain. If you have adequate mobility but just lack stability in the shoulder (which sounds like Rick’s situation) then this exercise can be helpful. Not all dysfunction is created equal…

      Reply • November 29 at 9:23 am

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