The dumbbell snatch demonstrates and develops explosive athletic power (the movement is described in detail in my article in issue 54 of the CrossFit Journal [February 2007]). While the movement is dynamic, explosive, and can be a real barn burner, it can also be made suitable for new or less developed athletes.
As a refresher, I restate the Rutherford Postulate: "As the group increases in size, the complexity of the workout diminishes." Unless you have associate trainers all around you, or a group of very experienced, well trained, and skilled athletes, it is difficult to coach complicated movements and unwise (and often impractical) to orchestrate a workout that involves five, six, or seven different exercises and/or pieces of equipment.
I typically teach the dumbbell snatch by first introducing and drilling the muscle snatch, the slower, less dynamic precursor to the dumbbell snatch. The point here is to teach the athletes the proper path the dumbbell will travel and to begin to ingrain the movement pattern before we ramp up the speed and power (and weight). Again, this is described in the February issue.
Here are the basics of how I teach the single-arm dumbbell hang power snatch in a large group:
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The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.