“The snatch is an old-school powerlifting movement that has experienced a renaissance over the past few years thanks to CrossFit,” Jason Bell, trainer at YG Studios, says. The snatch forces you to use speed and momentum to lift a weighted bar from the ground to an overhead deep-squatted position, then drive back up to a standing position with arms extended overhead. It sounds like a gnarly maneuver, and it is, especially when it comes to your knees. “[The snatch] is terrible for the knees, elbows, lower back, and shoulders,” Bell explains. And you need all of those joints!
Bell suggests breaking down the exercise into two parts: “All of these same muscles can be worked safely, more effectively, with proper weight and no momentum by simply splitting it into two movements: the deadlift and the seated military press.”
“Aside from wreaking havoc on your shoulders -- even when you execute them correctly -- dips serve no extra beneficial purpose that a slow and controlled push-up couldn’t do,” explains Josey Greenwell, a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor. “Most gym-goers, especially men, read that dips pack on the size and add extra mass to the chest, when in fact most perform a dip incorrectly and only engage their triceps, failing to truly isolate the chest.” The end result is an incredible amount of strain on the shoulder joins.
As an alternative, Greenwell recommends performing a variety of push-ups -- wide grip and close grip -- to hit all the muscles typical dip machines target. “That way, you can adjust your hand positioning from a wide to close range, as well as your tempo from fast to slow, really engaging your chest for that ‘burn’ effect you’re looking for,” Greenwell suggests. “If it’s mass you want, there’s nothing better than an incline barbell bench press to really add that sought-after ‘thick’ look to your chest.”