Forget burpees — this 3-move CrossFit workout strengthens your entire body using dumbbells

Man in squat position holding two dumbbells between legs
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You just need this 21-minute workout and three killer moves to torch muscles across your whole body. This dumbbell-only workout seriously raises the game for marrying simplicity and intensity. 

Of the best CrossFit workouts, the routine below is one of my favorites and lasts for just seven rounds and 21 minutes. The EMOM (every minute on the minute) includes three moves that you'll repeatedly battle every three minutes, and you can scale the reps and weights to suit your ability, but we strongly advise learning the three full-body exercises below before trying the workout. 

However you scale it, there’s one guarantee — this one will take you to the pain cave. Here’s how to do it. 

Watch the 3-move dumbbell CrossFit workout

The YouTuber sergefitness posted this CrossFit-style workout to their page; we just couldn’t resist it. The EMOM workout format keeps you accountable and limits how much rest you can take by giving you a set number of reps to complete every minute.

Grab a set of the best adjustable dumbbells, and check out the video below to see the exercises in action. 

Minute 1: 7 dual dumbbell devil press

Minute 2: 14 dual dumbbell reverse lunges 

Minute 3: 7 hang clean and jerks

During the first minute, perform seven dual dumbbell devil presses, then rest for the remainder of the minute. On the next minute, perform the 14 dumbbell reverse lunges, then rest, and on minute three, perform the hang clean and jerks. Continue for 21 minutes (seven rounds).

The devil press gets its name for good reason — it’s a beast. Try to stick to dual loading, but if you prefer, you could use one dumbbell and alternate. You can check the video for tips on your form, but we also cover how to do the devil press here, plus tips for nailing dumbbell lunges.

Common mistakes

We’re only human, so it’s common to pick up mistakes here and there. The devil press catches people out a lot; try to bend your elbows as you drive the weights up, and remember it’s not a dumbbell swing. Land your feet behind your hands with your heels down, then lift your chest and keep your back flat as you use your hips and glutes to help drive the weights overhead. Control the weights back down. You can bring them back through your legs before placing them on the floor — as shown in the video. 

Rack your dumbbells to your shoulders and lift your elbows to properly secure your weights before lunging. Your back knee should lower to the floor without smashing the ground beneath you, and you’ll split the reps seven per leg. 

You’ll finish the workout with a popular powerlifting exercise — the hang clean and jerk. The jerk differs from the push press, so remember to land the clean with bent knees, punch the weights overhead as you land under the dumbbells with knees bent again (known as “the catch”), then straighten your legs to standing. Bring the weights back to your shoulders with control, then drive them between your legs to set up for the next rep. 

These exercises are technical, but once you find your rhythm with them, they’re also great fun to learn. If you're familiar with the moves already, you could switch out for kettlebells or use a barbell where you can.

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Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.