The Top 31 Devils Press Workouts

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Full disclosure: as someone who isn’t the biggest fan of the Devil, this isn’t the most fun article/set of workout descriptions I have ever written.

That being said, it seems like you can’t look anywhere anymore without seeing devil’s presses programmed, whether it be in CrossFit class programming, qualifier workouts, or in full-scale competitions.

The devil’s press is a tough exercise and I won’t be surprised to see it programmed in the CrossFit Open sometime in the next year or two.

May as well get used to doing them now!

Today, we’re going to present a brief primer on the devil’s press exercise (and most popular variant) before diving into the top 31 (thirty-one! See! The devil’s press really has gotten popular!) Devils Press workouts of all time.

The Devils Press CrossFit Exercise…in a Nutshell

If you hate dumbbell snatch movements, really hate double dumbbell movements, and absolutely hate burpees…then the devil’s press CrossFit exercise is just right for you! Combing all of these movements into one, hellacious undertaking, each rep feels like an epic battle of good vs. evil.

(Unfortunately, evil has won out a lot of times I have performed these (literal) bad boys!)

Everyone’s favorite Functional Bodybuilder, Marcus Filly, does a great job of modeling this movement in one of his famous demo videos:

The only real issue I have with Filly here is that he doesn’t look like he’s struggling…like…at all.

I don’t care if he is a former CrossFit Games athlete…this isn’t realistic! (at least for mere mortals like me!)

Regardless, with each rep, you’re going to want to make sure you have a firm grip on the dumbbells (you have to go where they go!) and as you kick back and come down, ensure that there is enough space between the dumbbells for your chest to touch the floor.

As you come up, rise no higher than a hinged position (there is no point in standing all the way up, only to have to bend back down to initiate the movement), allowing the dumbbells to swing back and through the legs. Use their returning momentum, combined with your body’s rapid ascent/hip opening up, to propel them up and over your head. Make sure the arms are locked out and…start again.

There you have the devil’s press CrossFit exercise….easy…right?

Maybe Mr. Filly will be nice enough to show us one of the most common variations of this one:

The Single-arm Devil’s Press is arguably easier than the standard variety. After all, you’re only hoisting one dumbbell with each rep. However, the alternating nature and imbalance between performing the ground movements with one weighted arm and one unweighted arm can make stabilizing efforts more difficult.

Also, in my experience, a heavier single dumbbell is often programmed than one would use in the standard, two dumbbell format (Ex. 50-pound dumbbells vs. a single 55-pound dumbbell).

Notice how even Filly had to change his shorts and shoes between filming these (probably got all sweaty or something)…they are harder than he makes them look!

Top 31 Devils Press Workouts

Now that you’ve essentially received your “basic training” on the most satanic movement in CrossFit, it is time to put your knowledge of the devil’s press exercise to the test. Without further ado, we present the Top 31 Devils Press Workouts:


devils press workouts

Equipment: Dumbbells, air runner

A very non-devilish-named workout here, if you’ll remember, Heracles was actually the son of Zeus and Alcmene.

(I say that in a manner implying that I actually knew who Heracles was 10 seconds before writing this!)

As it is, this “god-like” WOD throws in another, somewhat obscure movement into the mix…the man maker!

Who would have thought that a child of the gods would spend soooo much time with dumbbells…on the ground? There might be some symbolism here, but I doubt it.

Hank’s Mustang

Equipment: Dumbbells, barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack, plyo box, air runner

Who doesn’t love a good chipper WOD from time to time? Especially one that kicks off with 10, gut-punching devils presses?

To be honest, you really need to focus on that middle portion on the pull-up bar. Between the strict pull-ups (which can kill your arms and shoulders) and the strict toes-to-bar (which will blow your core up) don’t be looking ahead to the second set of devils presses and run.

Trust me…nobody wants to be that person writhing in again underneath the pull-up bar.

The Signature

Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack

I don’t know whose “signature” this is, but you’re gonna have to get through those devil’s presses really fast.

Like, really really fast.

I mean, maybe, like 10 a minute (without stopping!) and then still having the headspace to knock out 17 chest-to-bar pull-ups each minute.

Good luck…I sure as heck ain’t signing that!

A Warm Place

Equipment: Dumbbells

I feel like the real “warm place” they’re alluding to here wouldn’t allow that 60-second rest…but what would I know about…hell?!

(don’t answer that!)

I don’t care if everything else is pretty manageable, that is a long farmer’s carry each round. Then getting right into dumbbell push presses afterward…I pray for your grip.

Nevermind. That 60-second rest does belong there…it might be the worst tease of all time (and it’s not like you even get to “enjoy” it on the third round!)


Equipment: Dumbbells, air runner

Oh man…if this isn’t a sickening devil’s press workout, I don’t know what is!

As difficult as it probably is to block out those runs, you pretty much have to here. Instead, take these “easy” (well, not the second one…you have to try hard on this one) and go for an EMOM approach on the devil’s press CrossFit exercise. As long as you have some time to kill, doing 4 every minute is a manageable goal (and if you’re fast enough, you’ll still finish under 40 minutes!)

I don’t know who Eleanor is…and I don’t think I want to know who she is, either.

2023 Battle 4 Bar Qualifier WOD 2

Equipment: Concept 2 rower, pull-up bar/rack, dumbbells

I took part in almost one round of this…


My ceiling is a bit too low for bar muscle-ups so I got to rush through those first three movements.

(Actually, I was guaranteed to qualify so I didn’t really try that hard. Sue me.)

As it is, this one doesn’t look too hard. I mean, the guys who did it probably made it look harder than it actually is (I mean, remember how easy Marcus Filly made those single-arm devil’s presses look)? One of the hardest devil’s press workouts of all time? You be the judge!

Anikha Greer

Equipment: Jump rope, dumbbells

Like The Signature above, the time cap is the real “devil” (ha!) here.

Don’t get me wrong, wall walks are tough and 120 reps with a heavy dumbbell is really tough, but doing 4 rounds of all of that…in twenty minutes? I think even Anikha is perplexed!

Will Lindsay

Equipment: Dumbbells

Good news: only 3 devils presses each round!

Bad news: 10 rounds

Really bad news: doing those devil’s presses (as well as the dumbbell lunges and air squats) in a weighted vest.

Yeesh! It’s like that old football adage “when you pass the ball…3 things can happen…and 2 of them are bad.”

Mad respect to everyone attempting this hero WOD when you’re facing those odds!

Devil’s Paradise

Equipment: Dumbbells, barbell, bumper plates

Definitely has that Kalsu feel, doesn’t it?

(and by that, I mean that haunting, “oh gosh, it’s almost time to do those burpees again, please make it stop!” feeling)

Thankfully, you get to choose the weight on those devils press CrossFit exercise reps and, even if you go heavy, I would argue that 50 of those are much more manageable than Kalsu’s 100 thrusters.

That being said, I fully expect someone to challenge me to do this workout with, like, 100-pound dumbbells!

Ellie Turner

Equipment: Air runner, dumbbells

This is another one of those crazy time cap style workouts that the devil seems to love.

I mean, those 200-meter runs shouldn’t be too hard, but getting those devil’s presses and box step-ups every other minute…gosh, man. Even Ellie thinks it’s nutty!

Captain Tom

Equipment: Dumbbells, jump rope

I’m of two minds with this one. On the one hand, I can always appreciate WODs named after yours truly.

On the other hand…do I really want to be associated with devil’s press workouts?

Even at 10 rounds, I can live with this rep scheme, at least “Part A”. However, the 100 burpees to finish things up…I don’t think anyone is looking forward to that.

Training Think Tank Throwdown WOD 25

Equipment: Assault Bike, jump rope, dumbbells

The gents at Training Think Tank think that AI is coming for my job.

…can they promise me they’ll take it??!!

Well…I’ve obviously buried the lede with this one…just look at that workout. Doing that once would make me cry, but going through that four times…?!

We aren’t even halfway through, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this will be the all-time worst devil’s press workout of all time.

Assuming you’re not actually in hell, please set a time cap for yourself on this one…please.


Equipment: Dumbbells

Well…at least we probably have a new contender for a spot on the top hotel workouts with this one. I mean, all you need is one oddly-weighted dumbbell, a tiny bit of space, and the desire to do a bunch of obnoxious, single-armed dumbbell exercises.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider this to be “chaos”, especially when the real chaos was just a tad more intense.

You can choose whichever versions you’re into the next time you want some “chaos” in your life. Devils press CrossFit variety or not!

Tom Showalter

Equipment: Concept 2 rower, barbell, bumper plates, dumbbells, plyo box

I’m starting to get a little concerned…another Tom workout.

…and this one isn’t even that, like, rugged.

To be fair, by the time I would get to those 35-pound devil’s presses, I’d probably be pretty happy that I’m not doing them with the 50-pound varieties.

I’m still worried about the name, though…


Equipment: Dumbbells, plyo box, jump rope

6-12-48…easy enough to remember, right? 5 rounds of this is pretty reasonable too, right?

There has to be a catch somewhere…

I can live with 30 devils presses and 60 box jumps….but those double-unders, though…could definitely be a tripping point for me.

…but if you’re good at double-unders and want to try a manageable devil’s press workout, this is probably the one for you!

Stephen W. Groves

Equipment: Dumbbells, plyo box, jump rope, Concept 2 rower

So…remember what we just went over with Chatterjee above? Well, pretty much the same thing applies here. I mean, that row is just waiting around for you…


But up until that point, just see what I just wrote above and you’ll be on the right track.

Emerald Sword

Equipment: Dumbbells, climbing rope

“Rope climb pull-ups”…wasn’t expecting to see those show up on this list, but here we are. In case you forgot how to do them (and were going to use that as an excuse not to do this workout), I present to you (and I’m sorry that it has to be Pearce, but it’s a good demo) this gem:

I don’t know what the “emerald sword” is, but you’re ready to wield it now!


Equipment: Air runner, dumbbells

I didn’t want to have to link “old blue eyes” with the devil’s press CrossFit exercise, but I don’t make the rules.

What’s worse…45 and 32.5-pound dumbbells…who actually owns these?

Sinatra was prophetic with this one:

Ruck at Home WOD 5

Equipment: Air runner, ruck

Oh, man…the “Ruck at Home” series! Who doesn’t want to work out exclusively with the runner-up of the epic ruck vs. weighted vest showdown?!

The “problem” with this one? You gotta be really disciplined to go as far as you really can on that “max distance run” (especially goof balls like me who have, like, 55 percent chance of hurting themselves on the turnaround every time).

Also, I can assure you, that 30-pound ruck definitely feels tougher than a single 30-pound dumbbell would feel. The devil is in the details…


Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack

Gosh, man. These 45-pound dumbbells are driving me crazy! Thankfully, that 7-rep scheme definitely has some heavenly numerology to really help you exorcise those devil’s presses (and those 45-pound dumbbells).

At only 70 total reps, I think everyone should be able to make it through this one without too much of a hitch…but the devil can surprise you sometimes…

Row to Hell

Equipment: Concept 2 rower, dumbbells

Subtle, isn’t it? I mean, I get the pun on words here, but does anyone really want to row all the way to hell?

…and is hell really only 2,000 meters away…?

(well, to be fair, I’ve felt like I was in hell before after a tough 2,000-meter row!)

Really, the only question you have to ask yourself needs to be “how fast can I go and still manage to get through 3 big sets (ideally, 12, 10, 8) of devil’s presses…quickly?”

Only you can answer that, but I’ll bet you won’t be setting any 2k time trial records!


Equipment: Wall ball, ski erg, dumbbells, air runner

EMOM? Check

Built-in rest period? Check

Nothing ridiculously crazy looking? Check

Gonzalez…I think I love you!

The only real wrench in the system is that you’re using a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell on the devil’s presses…

…get over it.

A whole minute to rest between a short run and a small set of wall balls each round? Sounds more like something from above rather than a devil’s press workout below!

Gut Check

Equipment: Dumbbells

Yeah….”gut check” is right. All 180 reps of this one include you either being on your gut or the disgusting feeling of things flowing around in your gut.

For once, a non-demonically-inspired workout on this list lives up to its name!

Like many of the others, I would suggest taking on an EMOM approach to this one. Even at 5 reps per minute for the first two movements gets you through those in 18 minutes and 10 burpees a minute will get you through the entire thing in under 30!

Pedal with the Devil

Equipment: Assault Bike, dumbbell

I can only assume that the creator of this workout was:

  • A cyclist
  • A Van Halen fan

Seems reasonable, right?

That is a lot of Assault Bike calories, but the hardest part will probably be keeping all of the numbers straight in your head. Also, as nice as the descending rep scheme is…you have an ascending rep scheme at the same time.

…because, of course.

Hands Up

Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack

Okay…not sure why the women’s weights change between the exercises, but the men’s don’t, but whatever.

That aside, this is a decent little “mid-range” workout…definitely not a sprint, but with small enough sets and being only a few rounds, I could see a lot of people finishing in the 10-15 minute range.

Straight up, though, you gotta go unbroken on those toes-to-bars and you probably want to go bit on the devil’s press reps, too. Don’t want to do this? Then you may as well make this one into an EMOM.


Equipment: Dumbbells, jump rope

I’m not sure if this one actually has anything to do with the British healthcare system. With close to 100 devil’s presses, 200 and something weighted squats, and over 500 double-unders (heck, how did this one not make the list of top double-unders workouts??!!) I guess it might be someone’s definition of “healthy”!

I really…like…almost really want to bust out my tried-and-true trope once more and say “just make it an EMOM”.

I don’t think you’re going to be able to get away with that approach with this one. Those squats are going to take a toll, especially right after the devil’s presses. Plus, if you start losing your rhythm on double-unders after, say, the 400th rep or so, you’re screwed.

My advice? Just find some way to get this devil’s press workout done!

Monster Chipper

Equipment: Dumbbells, Concept 2 rower

To be honest, doing this on your own would be pretty tough…but by no means impossible. Looks like “The Evil One” decided to give us a bit of a reprieve by allowing us to tackle this one with a friend.

I suggest assessing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and splitting things up a la our “Fast Guy”, “Strong Guy” etc. profiles discussed in our top CrossFit partner WODs article. No reason to tire your 7-foot tall rowing champion out with a bunch of burpees and squats when you have a “bodyweight ninja” on the team!


Equipment: Dumbbells, plyo box, wall ball, pull-up bar/rack

I’m not sure what the symbolism here is. In fact, the lack of symmetry is actually making my OCD go crazy!

Your first two and last two exercises mirror each other, but then you have a bunch of wall balls and a few devils press CrossFit exercises. No idea what the significance is…

That being said, the beginning of this one is the trap. Get into a good rhythm on those step-ups (remember? like you did in that glorious 19.3 WOD!) and don’t screw your body up for the rigors to come.

Matthew Barker

Equipment: Kettlebell, dumbbells, jump rope, pull-up bar/rack, wall ball

I would actually argue that the devil’s presses are the least of your worries in this one. Those opening TGU’s will be tough and going right into the clean-and-jerks will be an immediate gut check.

As condescending as it sounds, try to get some “rest” on those planks!

House of Cards

Equipment: Ski erg, pull-up bar/rack, dumbbells

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…this one has “EMOM” written all over it!

To be fair, as an EMOM, this is still a good amount of work for what would be a 20-minute devil’s press workout. Plus, you’ll still have to keep things moving throughout the workout.



Equipment: Dumbbells, Concept 2 rower

25 minutes is a somewhat odd time for an AMRAP, but who am I to argue with the Devil?

(actually, I argue with him a lot…he sucks!)

The second two movements are a bit too intense (or would be too intense in a short time domain) to make this one into an EMOM so instead, maybe you try to go 3 rounds every 5 minutes. A total 75 devil’s presses, 300 weighted lunges, and 275 calories on the rower is nothing to sneeze at!

Are you Ready to Go “Running with the Devil”?

Yeah, I know we mentioned that Van Halen classic a little earlier in the article, but it is a good way to finish things off. If you’re looking to challenge yourself with some wicked hybrid of a burpee and dual dumbbell ground to overhead…then look no further than the devil’s press.

(and if you really want to do it like the song, make sure to do one of those devil’s press workouts that involve running!)

We still haven’t seen a devils press CrossFit Open workout (yet!), but I’m willing to bet that it’s only a matter of time until we do (heck, we’re doing friggin’ wall walks in the Open now!) You may as well spend a little bit of time “dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight” (i,e. practice the devil’s press every so often) so that you’re ready for it when the time comes!

If you would (understandably) like to try a workout that is slightly less demonic, check out our list of the top kettlebell WODs. They’re much better for the soul!

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Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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