If you’re a CrossFit enthusiast or a curious newcomer, you might have heard of an exercise called the “Devil Press” (aka “Devil’s Press”). But what is a Devil Press in CrossFit, and how do you do it? In this blog, we’ll break down this popular exercise, covering everything from set up, to execution, to tips for efficiency. Plus, we’ll explain why you should be excited for the days you see this programmed at your box. Let’s dive in!



What is a Devil Press in CrossFit?


The Devil Press is a dynamic and intense movement comprised of a dumbbell burpee followed by a double dumbbell snatch. Check out this video from Opex Fitness for a quick visual demonstration. The Devil Press’ multi-step execution and total-body engagement incorporates elements of both weightlifting and cardiovascular training. This results in a fusion of strength and endurance, making the Devil Press a staple in many CrossFit workouts.

Woman lifting dumbbells - What is a Devil Press in CrossFit? CrossFit LPF in Coconut Creek, FL



How to Perform a Devil Press


The Set Up:

Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you. They should be positioned where your hands would go if you were doing a burpee. Make sure that, when your hands are placed on the dumbbells, your chest can touch the ground between them.


The Movement:

The Devil Press begins by placing a hand on each dumbbell and dropping down into the bottom of a burpee. After your chest touches the ground, press your shoulders back up. Then, jump your feet up towards your hands without letting go of the dumbbells. From here, brace your core and swing the dumbbells between your legs, as if beginning a hang dumbbell snatch. Then, explosively extend your hips, using the momentum this creates to snatch the weights overhead in one swift motion. The rep is completed once both arms are fully locked out overhead.



Tips for Improving Your Devil Press


Cycling Reps:

Connecting one devil press to the next, or “cycling” the reps, is a great way to smoothly transition through a set. After locking your arms out overhead at the end of your first rep, re-bend your elbows and begin to lower the dumbbells back down. As the bells pass your chest, hinge at the hips and swing the bells back towards the ground. Set them down in the starting position, keeping your hands on the bells. From here, you can seamlessly jump your feet back to begin the burpee portion of your next rep.


Core and Glute Engagement:

One mistake commonly made when performing this movement is forgetting to engage your core and glutes. We DON’T want to round our backs forward as we bring the dumbbells from the ground to our hips. We also DON’T want to over-arch our backs as we raise the bells from our hips to the overhead position. To prevent this, we need to brace with our core and engage our glutes.

  • To properly brace, fill your belly up with air like a balloon before you start to move the dumbbells. Then, tighten your abs and initiate the snatch, maintaining this pressure and muscle activation as you move through the exercise. This combination locks your spine in place to keep it straight and safe throughout the rep.
  • Engaging our glutes will help further prevent over-arching. When you extend your hips to stand up from the hinged position, squeeze your glute together. This will allow your hips to generate that explosive power, rather than your back, which is safer and more efficient.



Because the Devil Press is a multi-step movement, make sure you are breathing multiple times throughout each rep. There’s no mandatory way to breathe during this movement, but you should pick a breath pattern and stick with it. For example, you can inhale as you hinge down to initiate your burpee and exhale as you lower your chest. Then, breathe back in as you press your shoulders up, and breathe out as you jump your feet in. Finally, inhale as you brace to initiate the dumbbell snatch, and exhale as you propel it overhead. This will ensure that your brain and body have the oxygen they need to keep moving.  Remember that this is just ONE example of how you can breathe efficiently. Find whatever works best with you and maintain it throughout your set!



Benefits of Devil Press


Full-Body Engagement:

Devil Press engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, core, chest, shoulders, and triceps. This comprehensive activation leads to improved overall strength and conditioning.


Cardiovascular Endurance:

The rapid pace of Devil Press elevates the heart rate, turning it into an effective cardiovascular exercise.


Functional Fitness:

Devil Press mimics real-life functional movements, which is what CrossFit is all about! The ability to lift objects from the ground, get on and off the floor, and execute an overhead press reflects the demands of everyday activities. Practice them with the Devil Press!


Time-Efficient Workouts:

CrossFit is known for its efficiency, and Devil Press is no exception. In a single movement, athletes target various fitness components, making it an ideal choice for those looking to maximize their workout in minimal time.





In the dynamic world of CrossFit, the Devil Press stands out as a challenging and effective exercise that delivers a potent combination of strength and cardio benefits. Whether you’re a veteran CrossFit athlete or someone exploring new fitness avenues, incorporating Devil Press into your WODs can elevate your training to new heights. You can see when they’re programmed into our workouts at CrossFit LPF by visiting our website and clicking the grey “WODs” circle in the bottom left corner of each page. Come give them a try with us!