Essential Dumbbell Exercises CrossFit Athletes Must Master



  • Begin the exercise by forcefully extending the hips, knees, and ankles (commonly called the triple extension).
  • The dumbbell should slide up the thigh, or remain very close to the thigh, as it accelerates upward.
  • The elbow of the arm holding the dumbbell should remain extended as the knees, hips, and ankles are extending.
  • As the lower body joints fully extend, rapidly shrug the shoulder of the arm holding the dumbbell. The elbow of the arm holding the dumbbell should be extended and pointed out to the side during the shrugging movement.
  • As the shoulder reaches its highest elevation, flex the elbow holding the dumbbell to begin pulling the body under the dumbbell. The dumbbell should pass as close to the torso as possible.
  • Continue to pull with the arm holding the dumbbell as high and as long as possible.
  • The arm that is not holding the dumbbell should remain on the opposite hip or be held to the side.
  • Because of the triple extension of the lower body and the pulling effort of the upper body, the torso will be erect, the head will be tilted slightly back, and the feet may lose contact with the floor.


dumbbell exercises
Rich working on his snatches

Dumbbell Snatch Complex

  • 3 Power Snatch
  • 3 Snatch
  • 3 Overhead Squats

“worked up to a heavy set and did 5 sets (100 lb. is the heaviest we had.)”


Dumbbell Snatch Complex. 3 Power Snatch 3 Snatch 3 Overhead Squats… worked up to a heavy set and did 5 sets (100# is the heaviest we had.) @thecrossfitmayhem @whatsrichdoing

A video posted by richfroning (@richfroning) on

When it comes to dumbbell exercises, training and optimal performance, never forget about the importance of good recovery:

4 Steps to Efficient Recovery after CrossFit Training

Your shoulders are complex, multi directional joints, so make sure you warm up properly before you try any of these exercises. These mobility exercises are also useful to help you strengthen and protect your shoulders, ligaments and tendons.

Scapular Health: 4 Banded Mobility Exercises to Bulletproof Your Shoulders

You can add these exercises in as accessory exercises at the end of a session, or bring them together into more of a bodybuilding style workout. Both are effective ways to incorporate them into your training.

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