Devil Press: Upgrade Your Workout With This Full-body Exercise

Work muscles head to toe with variations on the devil press – a challenging (and fun) compound exercise.

The devil press is a tremendously popular exercise in CrossFit and functional training circles. The reason? It works your whole body, and all you need is a pair of dumbbells.

It’s actually hard to find a muscle that this modified devil press doesn’t engage. Your core, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves are all firing. Phew! That translates to cardio endurance, explosive power and balance.

In saying that, it’s not a particularly easy exercise, which makes sense as to why its used so commonly in high-intensity routines. So if you want to master the technique, we break down the movement below:

How to do it

how to do the devil press
Maintain a neutral spine throughout the move. Photography: Tyler Joe.

 Step 1

 Squat low with feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells directly below shoulders and resting on the floor to start. 

how to do the devil press
Photography: Tyler Joe.

Step 2

Hinge at hips and swing both dumbbells between legs. Once the weights are behind you, contract glutes and thrust hips forward.

how to do the devil press
Photography: Tyler Joe.

Step 3

Raise dumbbells to shoulders, palms facing each other and keeping elbows narrow, as you stand upright.

how to do the devil press
Choose weights that enable you to complete the reps. Photography: Tyler Joe.

Step 4

Bend knees slightly, then power through legs to press dumbbells straight up overhead until arms are extended. Lower dumbbells to floor to return to start.

Plank power

Level up the exercise by jumping feet out to a high plank and back after returning to start.

Boost the Burn: Bring your chest to the floor to complete a burpee and rev heart rate and upper-body strength.

Important: This should be one fluid movement. Avoid pauses and maintain control of the weights.

Work it in: Add it to your full-body HIIT circuit. Do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) in 30 secs for 3 sets.

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