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15 Underused Dumbbell Exercises every CrossFit Athlete should Add into their Training (Suitable for Home WODs)

These underused Dumbbell Exercises are a great way to build strength, mobility, muscle and skill for CrossFit. 

Stuck at home with no chance of getting near a CrossFit box for some time? Don’t worry! It doesn’t mean the end of your workouts. In fact, think of it as a way of spicing up your current training regime. Incorporate some new movements and refine exercises that you’re already familiar with. All you need is a dumbbell (no barbells needed) to create a WOD to be proud of. Let’s take a look at some home CrossFit dumbbell movements you can do in your own living room, hotel gym, or backyard with just a single dumbbell.

Lift with your weakest movement and see what your limit is. Let’s say single-arm dumbbell snatch is one of your weaker exercises. Whatever weight you can manage 10-12 reps with should be the dumbbells category you buy, borrow, or make.

Browse through the following underused dumbbell exercises and find the ones that will help you achieve your goals. 

Underused Dumbbell Exercises

1. Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch High Pull

This is a unilateral loading approach to training speed through hip extension as well as incorporating some upper back and rotator cuff work in one movement. This can be an effective drill for athletes who are trying to learn the mechanics of the Snatch and need practice with timing of hip extension and upper body pulling engagement. The dominant movement here is an aggressive hip extension followed by the upper pull.

2. Single Arm Dumbbell Deadlifts

Taking conventional patterns like the deadlift and performing them with only one side of your body loaded is a quick and easy way to add in rotational strength work. The concept here is ANTI-rotation. With one side only loaded the body will have a tendency to want to rotate. By executing quality reps that are balanced and symmetrical you are in essence training your rotational muscles by NOT rotating.

3. Trap Three Raise

The trapezius muscle has multiple different actions. One of which is to depress the shoulder blade through the contraction of the lower 1/3 of the muscle. This is what we are aiming to train in this particular exercise. The goal is to keep the shoulder blade down while taking the arm through the demonstrated range of motion. Do not elevate the shoulder blade by contracting the upper trap.

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