A snap elbow is thrown horizontally along the same axis as a hook. Power and speed are generated in the same way using good body mechanics. The only difference between the two is the striking distance and the position of the guard hand. The guard hand is held above the face on the forehead with the forearm protecting the head from retaliation. The striking arm can be held with the wrist bent down in a relaxed manner to better facilitate full range of movement. The snap elbow gets its name form the fast snapping motion of its execution.
The down elbow is thrown from an above the head position in a down ward arc in an effort to either circumvent the opponents guard or take advantage of body position. The down ward motion also allows one to put his body weight on to the strike. Note again that the rear hand protects the head and face.
The upward elbow follows the opposite arc than the down ward elbow. It also is ideal for splitting between the guard of the opponent. Body mechanics resemble the uppercut with legs and body adding lift to the arms strike.