15 Full Body CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts

CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts are a great way to expose weaknesses in your movement, mobility and unilateral strength. Add the following workouts into your training program and become a better athlete.

CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts

The 2017 CrossFit Open saw the return of dumbbells and Regionals from the same year featured them heavily, having no barbell exercises at all.

There is a strong emphasis on dumbbells within Crossfit, so make sure to master these exercises now, as I’m sure you will start to find them more often in your own programming. CrossFit dumbbell workouts also allow you to train all the planes of movement that your body works through. This is tremendously important and will allow you to significantly improve your mobility and strength throughout a variety of different movements.


Think about the exercises you do. Squats, thrusters, deadlifts, clean and jerks, pull-ups, handstand push-ups; in all these movements the weight is transferred up and down along a straight line. All these movements occur along the sagittal plane. The sagittal plane divides the body into two symmetrical halves – left and right.


The plane that divides the body into front and back is called the coronal plane. Movements along this plane are sideways movements, such as lateral lunges.


The final and most disregarded plane is the transverse plane, which divides the body into top and bottom halves. We move along this plane when we twist and turn our bodies, like when we look around before crossing the street.

Transverse movements are predominant in sports such as tennis, golf, rugby and gymnastics, the movements of crossfit almost exclusively happen along the sagittal plane. Whether your goal is general fitness, functional strength, or athletic achievement, you should train along all planes.

CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts are a great way to build strength, muscle and power.

Unilateral Training: Dumbbells are among the most potent and versatile pieces of equipment you can train with. When you use dumbbells instead of a barbell, you’re working on unilateral movement rather than bilateral movement. That is, your hands/arms have to move independently and freely from one another, eliciting a powerful neurological response that’ll get you stronger and fitter.

The barbell is good at hiding your weaknesses, too. But the dumbbells? They show no mercy. They highlight where your deficiencies are in strength, stability, and mobility.

leg workoutsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Physiological Benefits: Dumbbells are also great at diagnosing and treating imbalances. For instance, you may find that on the eighth repetition of a Strict Dumbbell Shoulder Press, your right arm is fine, but your left arm won’t budge.

That shows you that you’ve got a strength imbalance – your right side is stronger than your left. The good news is that the more you train with dumbbells, the more balance you’ll bring to your body. The more balanced you are as an athlete, the less likely you are to get injured over time.

CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts


8 Rounds For Time
200 meter Run
11 Dumbbell Burpee Deadlifts (2×60/40 lb)

2. CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts – NICK

12 Rounds For Time
10 Dumbbell Hang Squat Cleans (2×45/35 lb)
6 Handstand Push-Ups on Dumbbells

dumbbell arm workoutsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc

3. CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts – HELTON

3 Rounds For Time
800 meter Run
30 Dumbbell Squat Cleans (2×50/35 lb)
30 Burpees

4. CrossFit Dumbbell Workouts – PAINSTORM XV

7 Rounds for Time
10 Man Makers
20 Dumbbell Deadlifts
30 Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatches (15 per side)
40 Single-Arm Overhead Lunges (20 per side)
50 Dumbbell Swings
Use one pair of dumbbells throughout (pick your own weight)
With a running clock, as fast as possible perform 7 rounds of the prescribed work in the order written. This workout was originally intended to be a “choose your own weight” adventure. If you’re looking for an Rx weight consider 35/25 lb.

One man maker consists of a dumbbell push-up, two renegade rows (one per arm), and a squat clean thruster.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Dumbbell Swings is completed.

Dumbbell Workouts for TimeSource: Photo courtesy of Australian CrossFit Championship

Tips and Strategy

Settle in for a long workout (intermediate athletes should finish in 50-90 minutes) by picking a pace that you can maintain for that amount of time. In other words, don’t do the first 10 Man Makers unbroken. Do one, rest a second, do another, etc. For the rest of the movements, break up the reps into very manageable sets. Go slower than you think you need to for round one. See if you can hold that pace for the next 6 rounds.

15 Challenging CrossFit Home Workouts you can do with Zero Equipment


15-10-5 Reps for Time
Dumbbell Thrusters (2×10 lb)
Air Squats

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