The Devil Press: How To, Tips and Tricks

Table of Contents

As fitness enthusiasts, we are always on the lookout for challenging exercises that deliver maximum results.

Enter the devil press, a popular and highly effective devil press CrossFit exercise that combines elements of a burpee and dumbbell snatch for a full-body workout.

If you’ve ever wondered how to do devil press in CrossFit, then you have come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything from the best techniques to variations that will keep your workout routine fresh and exciting.

devil press crossfit

Key Takeaways

  • Devil Press is a versatile full-body exercise in CrossFit, combining a burpee and dumbbell snatch.
  • Proper hand and feet placement is an essential component of good form in the devil press.
  • Mastering the technique requires understanding and practice of each movement segment.
  • Beginners should build foundational strength using simpler exercises before advancing to the devil press.
  • Variations such as the single-arm devil press can help address muscle imbalances and offer an alternative challenge.
  • Strategies for increasing strength and endurance include scaling up weights, increasing reps, and implementing timed circuits (such as EMOMs).
  • The devil press can be tailored to all fitness levels by adjusting the weight and number of repetitions.

What Is the Devil Press and Why Is It So Effective?

The devil press CrossFit exercise is recognized as a potent, compound movement within the CrossFit community due to its full-body engagement and utility in improving various aspects of physical fitness.

Notably effective for its incorporation of a burpee with a dumbbell snatch, this exercise demands strength, coordination, and power from the primary muscle groups and stabilizer muscles.

It is regarded as a functional exercise because it offers the benefits of both strength training and cardiovascular endurance within a single movement.

Discovering the Power of the Devil Press CrossFit Exercise

As a compound exercise, the devil press targets multiple major muscle groups simultaneously.

It begins with a push-up position on the dumbbells, transitions into a burpee, and culminates with a snatch motion, propelling the dumbbells overhead.

This complex sequence not only improves muscular strength and endurance but also reinforces functional movement patterns applicable to other exercises and daily activities. To illustrate its effectiveness, consider the following table, highlighting the key muscle groups involved:

Muscle GroupFunction
QuadricepsProvide stability and power during the burpee and snatch
HamstringsContribute to the hip drive required for the snatch movement
GlutesAssist in propelling the body upward during the burpee and snatch
TricepsEngaged during the push-up and overhead press portion of the snatch
PectoralsActive during the push-up phase and stabilize the dumbbells overhead
DeltoidsInvolved in the overhead pressing motion of the snatch
AbdominalsCrucial for maintaining midline stability throughout the movement
devil press crossfit

Exploring the Compound Nature of the Exercise

Given its compound nature, the devil press is particularly effective in promoting functional fitness and enhancing athletic performance across the board. It challenges the body to coordinate many different muscle groups at once, resulting in more efficient movement patterns and better muscular synergy. This translates to enhanced performance in other effective CrossFit workouts and functional movements outside the gym environment.

Understanding Its Popularity in Functional Fitness Regimes

"The devil press combines the best of both worlds: strength and cardiovascular-endurance training."

The popularity of the devil press in functional fitness regimes can be attributed to its comprehensive nature, providing both strength and cardiovascular benefits.

The dynamic execution of the movement, from a prone position to a standing overhead position, makes it a versatile exercise adaptable to a variety of workout intensities, ultimately contributing to improvements in overall functional mobility and movement efficiency.

As a result, it’s no surprise that the formidable devil press continues to gain traction as one of the top effective CrossFit workouts today.

Mastering the Devil Press Technique for Optimal Performance

To achieve optimal performance in the devil press, it is crucial to master its multi-step technique. Each movement segment must be carefully understood and connected in a smooth, seamless manner. We will break down the key steps involved in performing the devil press, ensuring you can execute this powerful CrossFit exercise efficiently and safely.

  1. Start position: With dumbbells placed at shoulder width on the ground, assume a standing position with feet hip-width apart, ready to grasp the dumbbells.
  2. Plank: Lower yourself into a squat, grab the dumbbells with a neutral grip, and jump back into a plank position, maintaining a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Push-up: Perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the dumbbells and then pushing back up, keeping elbows close to your body.
  4. Burpee: Jump your feet back to the squat position, bringing them outside your hands, while maintaining a firm grip on the dumbbells.
  5. Snatch: In a swift motion, use the momentum generated from your hips to swing the dumbbells upwards until your arms are fully extended overhead. Ensure your elbows lock at the top of the movement.

Consistent set-up and a powerful hip drive are critical for efficient execution of the devil press. When first learning the exercise, we recommend practicing the movement with light weights to solidify your technique and minimize the risk of injury.

"Practice makes perfect. Mastering the devil press technique takes time and dedication, but the rewards in increased strength, power, and endurance make it well worth the effort."

Below is a table that outlines common mistakes to avoid when performing the devil press and their respective solutions. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can ensure proper form and prevent injuries during your workouts.

Rounding your back during the plankEngage your core and maintain a neutral spine from head to heels
Flaring your elbows during the push-upKeep elbows tucked in close to your body
Using only upper body strength during the snatchIncorporate a powerful hip drive to generate momentum for the dumbbell lift
Rushing through the movementFocus on precise execution of each step and prioritize technique over speed

In summary, mastering the devil press technique involves understanding each movement segment and connecting them smoothly.

A consistent set-up and powerful hip drive are essential, and practicing with light weights initially can help ensure proper form and prevent injury.

By dedicating time and effort to refine your technique, you will soon see significant progress in your strength, power, and endurance, as the devil press becomes an integral part of your CrossFit exercise routine.

Essential Tips for Perfecting Your Devil Press Form

As you venture into the world of devil press workouts, perfecting your CrossFit form is crucial for both optimal performance and injury prevention. Focusing on proper hand and feet placement, as well as transitioning smoothly between movement phases, will help lead you to success in hitting your fitness goals. In this section, we will provide valuable pointers to set you on the right path.

The Importance of Proper Hand and Feet Placement

Initiating your devil press workout with the correct hand and feet positioning will ensure a smooth and efficient execution of the exercise. Start by positioning your dumbbells at shoulder width apart and place your feet slightly behind them. Gaining a neutral grip on the dumbbells will provide stability and control as you execute each movement.

Remember to avoid common mistakes like swinging the dumbbells too low or utilizing an improper hand position, as these can lead to poor technique and increased risk of injury.

standing dumbbell overhead press

Transitioning Smoothly between Movement Phases

Making seamless transitions between the push-up, burpee, and snatch phases of the devil press is imperative for both efficiency and safety. To achieve this, be sure to:

  1. Understand the specific mechanics of each movement.
  2. Maintain a strong midline during the swing phase.
  3. Coordinate your hip drive with the dumbbell lift to propel the weights overhead.

Mastering these components will contribute to a powerful and dynamic execution of the devil press workout, raising your form to new heights. Through dedication and consistent practice, you will notice improvements in your technique and reap the rewards of your efforts.

Building Up to the Devil Press: Foundational Exercises

Before attempting the devil press, it is essential to establish a solid foundation by incorporating fundamental exercises into your training routine. By focusing on these foundational exercises for CrossFit, you can develop the necessary strength and conditioning required to perform the devil press safely and effectively. In this section, we will discuss the exercises you can include in your workouts to build up to the devil press:

  1. Burpee
  2. Dumbbell shoulder press
standing overhead press dumbbells

Remember to always prioritize proper form and technique while practicing these exercises, as this will minimize the risk of injury and promote progression.


The burpee is a classic full-body exercise that engages numerous major muscle groups, from the quadriceps and glutes to the pectorals and triceps. It serves as the base movement for the devil press and can help you build cardiovascular endurance, explosive power, and coordination. To perform a burpee, follow these steps:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down and place your hands on the ground.
  3. Jump your feet back to a plank position.
  4. Perform a push-up.
  5. Jump your feet back to your hands.
  6. Explosively jump upwards, extending your arms overhead.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press serves as the foundation for the snatch component of the devil press. It targets the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps, providing essential upper body strengthening crucial to the devil press. To perform a dumbbell shoulder press, follow these steps:

  1. Select a pair of appropriate dumbbells and sit or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level with your palms facing forward.
  3. Press the dumbbells upwards until your arms are fully extended overhead.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

By regularly practicing these foundational exercises for CrossFit, you will develop the strength, conditioning, and technique necessary for the complex devil press movement. As you progress, continue to challenge yourself with advanced variations and gradually increase the weight to facilitate your journey towards mastering the devil press.

Devil Press Variations to Challenge Your Workout

The devil press is an effective and versatile exercise that can be adapted to different levels of difficulty to suit individual needs and goals. When you’re ready to take on new challenges and enhance your workout routine, experimenting with devil press variations can help you push your fitness limits and improve your functional capabilities. One of the most popular variations is the single-arm devil press.

"By incorporating the single-arm devil press into your workout routine, you can increase your training intensity while improving your overall functional mobility and balance."

Single-arm devil press workouts not only boost your strength and endurance but also enhance core stability and balance.

This variation requires greater engagement and focus from the stabilizing muscles, taking your workout intensity to a higher level and helping you build an even stronger foundation for more advanced devil press exercises.

Plus, the single-arm variation adds an element of asymmetrical training, forcing each side of your body to work independently and thereby promoting balanced muscle development.

  1. Start in a high plank position with a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Perform a push-up while maintaining a strong grip on the dumbbell.
  3. Jump your feet toward the dumbbell and lift your chest while keeping the other hand extended on the ground for support.
  4. Perform a snatch with the dumbbell, driving it from the ground to an overhead extension in a single explosive movement.
  5. Lower the dumbbell to your shoulder and bring it back to the ground, completing one rep.

By introducing different devil press variations into your workout, you can maximize your gains in strength, speed, and endurance – and maintain your motivation to keep working hard. Remember always to prioritize form and safety, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the full benefits that the versatile devil press has to offer.

single arm devil press

Amplifying the Benefits: Incorporating Devil Press into Your Routine

Integrating the devil press into regular workout routines can be done through strategies aiming for increased strength and endurance. By scaling up the weight, increasing repetitions, or implementing timed circuits, you can amplify the exercise’s benefits and allow yourself to tackle progressive challenges.

Strategies for Increased Strength and Endurance

Various methods can be adopted to effectively incorporate the devil press exercise into your fitness routine. These methods not only help improve your overall performance but also push your body to the limits to maximize gains. Here is a list of some common strategies:

  • Scaling up the weight
  • Increasing repetitions
  • Implementing timed circuits (such as EMOMs)

Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) workouts are an excellent way to structure your devil press routine. These time-based circuits not only keep you motivated but also ensure that you are consistently pushing your limits. Here is an example of an EMOM workout:

EMOM for 10 minutes:
Minute 1: 4 Devil Presses
Minute 2: 8 Burpees

Tailoring the Intensity for All Fitness Levels

The devil press can be modified for all fitness levels by adjusting the intensity of the workout through the use of different weights or varying the number of repetitions. Beginners are encouraged to start with lighter weights to focus on technique before moving on to more challenging variations. This ensures a safe and progressive development of strength, speed, and cardiovascular endurance.

Fitness LevelRecommended WeightNumber of Repetitions
BeginnerLight (10-15 lbs)35
IntermediateModerate (20-30 lbs)6-8
AdvancedHeavy (35+ lbs)9-12

By utilizing these strategies for fitness and tailoring the intensity of the devil press exercise for your level, you can effectively incorporate the movement into your routine and enjoy the extensive benefits it offers for strength, endurance, and overall performance.


The devil press has established itself as a highly effective and challenging CrossFit exercise that blends the benefits of strength training, explosiveness, and cardiovascular endurance. Learning how to do devil press in CrossFit with proper technique and form is crucial for reaping its numerous advantages and preventing injuries.

By incorporating this powerhouse movement into your workout routine, you can experience impressive physical gains across multiple muscle groups. Remember to start with manageable weights, gradually increasing intensity as your abilities progress. Introduce devil press variations to keep your training fresh and challenging, allowing you to develop a greater mastery of this functional fitness staple.

In conclusion, when approached with dedication and proper form, the devil press has the potential to significantly enhance and diversify your fitness regimen. Stick to your goals, leverage the various devil press benefits to your advantage, and become an even stronger and more resilient athlete.


What exactly is the devil press exercise?

The devil press is a compound CrossFit exercise that combines elements of a burpee and dumbbell snatch, engaging multiple muscle groups in a full-body workout. It is known for its intensity and effectiveness in developing strength and cardiovascular endurance.


Why is the devil press so effective in functional fitness regimes?

The devil press is popular in functional fitness routines due to its compound nature, targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It involves both strength training and cardiovascular movements, improving overall functional mobility and movement efficiency.


How can I master the devil press technique?

Mastering the devil press technique involves learning each movement segment, starting with proper hand and feet placement, transitioning smoothly between movement phases, and ensuring a strong midline during the swing phase. Begin with lighter weights and progress as your technique improves.


What are some tips for perfecting my devil press form?

To perfect your devil press form, pay attention to your hand and feet placement, maintain a neutral grip on the dumbbells, and focus on smooth transitions between the push-up, burpee, and snatch phases. Avoid common mistakes, such as swinging the dumbbells too low or using an improper hand position.


Which foundational exercises should I perform to build up to the devil press?

Incorporate simple burpees and dumbbell shoulder presses into your training routine to develop the foundational strength and conditioning required for the complex devil press movement. These exercises will help you progress towards the devil press while minimizing the risk of injury.


Are there any variations of the devil press I can try?

One popular variation of the devil press is the single-arm devil press, which uses only one dumbbell and helps address muscular imbalances. You can alternate arms or use the same arm for multiple reps to adjust the difficulty and focus of the exercise based on your individual goals.


How can I incorporate the devil press into my workout routine?

Integrate the devil press into your routine by using strategies that increase strength and endurance. You can scale up the weight, increase repetitions, or implement timed circuits such as EMOMs (every minute on the minute). Modify the intensity according to your fitness level for a continuous challenge and improvement.