Barbells got you down? Want to try some variants of your favorite WODs or some dedicated dumbbell CrossFit workouts? Oh boy do we have a list for you today!
Table of Contents
The Top 32 Dumbbell CrossFit Workouts
There is a bit of variety in these dumbbell WODs. CrossFit Open workouts, adapted “CrossFit Girls” and Hero workouts, CrossFit competition workouts…truly something for everybody.
2017 CrossFit Open Workout 1
Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box
The form breakdown from the accumulated fatigue of this workout resulted in it being given a colloquial name:
Possibly the most infamous dumbbell snatch WOD of all time, anyone who has given this one a go knows how sore their back felt after those 150 dumbbell snatches!
You can slow down a bit and really focus on bending the knees and limiting the hinge, but you just gotta get into that 75th percentile (or higher!), don’t you?
Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, dumbbell, kettlebell
On first glance, Lima gives off strong Linda vibes. Those 225-pound deadlifts are right in line with what most people use for Linda.
Hate bodyweight bench pressing and big clean sets? You’ll be happy to know that the deadlift weight is where the Linda comparisons end! After about the 3rd set, those dumbbell snatches are going to be more tedious than difficult and everyone should be able to do the goblet squats unbroken.
The best part about Lima? Like any kind of “countdown” WOD after the 3rd round, you’re just about halfway done!
2022 CrossFit Quarterfinals WOD 1
Equipment: Dumbbells, bumper plates
If you can do some variety (likely kipping) of handstand push-ups, this one starts pretty manageably.
Then the second round gets “tricky”.
…and the third round…those strict handstand push-ups might be the least of your concerns.
It is a bit harder to find data on some of the more…ambitious movements (in this case, the strict and deficit handstand push-ups) so your times to beat on this one come straight from the CrossFit Quarterfinals Leaderboard! Needless to say, these guys are the elite of the elite!
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack
The dumbbell thruster has a little bit of a learning curve for those new to the movement. Make sure you do a few practice reps before tackling this one.
2022 CrossFit Open Workout 1
Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box
Coming out of Corona lockdowns, CrossFit HQ opened the Open with a limited-equipment WOD that anyone with a box, a dumbbell and a wall could enjoy!
This dumbbell snatch workout really comes down to wall walks. If you’ve been working on these and have your rhythm/cadence down, you can make quick work of these before jumping into the manageable DB snatch sets. If you haven’t…at least you get to rest on your stomach for a bit between reps!
Equipment: Dumbbells, weighted vest
Will Lindsay is one of those workouts that would be deceptively hard on the legs in a “normal” setting. 220 weighted lunges steps and almost 200 squats.
When you put it like that, sounds pretty hard, doesn’t it?
Fortunately (unfortunately?), Will Lindsay isn’t conducted in a “normal” setting.
You have to wear a 20-pound vest.
Don’t forget about those 30 devil’s presses, either. Their name will feel more appropriate with each passing round!
Equipment: Dumbbells, weighted vest
One of the hardest things about this one? Finding that 70-pound vest. Apparently, they can go significantly heavier than that…so…you have no excuse for not wearing one for Westy!
I would suggest approaching this one as an EMOM, being prepared to drop the reps when things start to get too ridiculously hard. No shame in going, like 10, 10, 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2.
(I don’t even know if that adds up to 100…if you get in trouble for cheating reps, don’t blame me!)
2017 CrossFit Open Workout 2
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack
To be more clear, those walking lunges have to be in the front rack (I think you actually can do them overhead…if you prefer that sort of thing!)
WOD doesn’t seem as fun now, does it!
You obviously want to drop your dumbbells before your last clean, perform the last clean, and get right into the walking lunges. I know some ambitious folks will try to do big sets of cleans and jump right into the lunges. I advise against this because that is a long time to be holding on to heavy dumbbells.
You’re gonna need all of your grip for those big toes-to-bar and bar muscle-up sets.
Equipment: Air runner, dumbbells
Please push yourself on these….please! You only have a mile to run and if you commit to it, you can do those burpee deadlifts unbroken (the weight isn’t that heavy).
A deceptively “full body” WOD.
2022 CrossFit Age-group Quarterfinals Workout 1
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, dumbbell
At this point, I think everyone has done a 50-pound (or 35-pound) snatch. If you’re reading this, I would venture to guess that you have done a dumbbell snatch WOD or two!
Now try those with a dumbbell that weighs 20 pounds more.
Whoa….that escalated quickly!
And think, this is the weight for the old guys (like me).
Thankfully, if you have to break the snatches, you give your abs a few more seconds to rest after the big toes-to-bar sets!
2018 CrossFit Regionals Workout 5
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, Assault Bike, dumbbells, plyo box
This is the dumbbell WOD that made everybody hate dumbbells.
FIFTY box step-overs with SEVENTY (70) pound dumbbells in each hand (and that was only the midpoint of the workout. Athletes still had to do some messed up stuff before and heavy dumbbell stuff after!)
You know that when the 10th place guy in a regional workout is getting time-capped that the WOD is not screwing around. If you have access to 70-pound dumbbells b. are a mortal, I would suggest opting for the age-group quarterfinal workout from above!
Equipment: Air runner, wall ball, Concept2 rower, sandbag, dumbbells
35 minutes is a long time for an AMRAP, even if a good amount of time is eaten up by bookend half-mile-plus runs. As it is, you’ll probably end up doing about 1,000-meters of Farmer’s Carries before it’s all said and done!
1,000 meters of Farmer’s Carries…definitely a nominee for one of the best dumbbell CrossFit workouts in my book!
2023 SAPT Games Qualifier “Chipper”
Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, jump rope, pull-up bar/rack, dumbbell
30 dumbbell snatches is nothing to get too worried about…when done as one big set.
After a bunch of pull-ups, barbell snatches, and double-unders, though…I can tell you from personal experience that they’re a bit more difficult to close the dumbbell WOD off with!
(On a personal note, the bright side of the dumbbell snatches was they were the only portion I did unbroken!)
The unofficial pre-2018 CrossFit Open workout, 18.0 was a good warm-up for the “fun” to come that year. The dumbbell snatches were decent pre-cursors to the DB clean-and-jerks in 18.1 and burpees over the dumbbell are neat alternatives to the barbell version of the movement.
The main problem? You can move pretty fast through a 21,15,9 WOD. 18.1 was…well…check it out for yourself next!
2018 CrossFit Open Workout 1
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, dumbbell, Concept2 rower
A 20-minute AMRAP to start the CrossFit Open…at least we all got to find out pretty quickly whether we were in shape or not!
The dumbbell clean-and-jerk is a somewhat rare move and for most people, this was their first time attempting it. Thankfully, it has a quick learning curve and this workout became more about the rowing calories (at least for me it did!)
Outside the Box
I see the name of this workout and the devil’s presses and immediately think of Alice in Chains and “Man in the Box”.
(I can accept that I am the only person in the world making the grunge-dumbbell WOD connection).
Keep moving through the presses and use the squats as equal parts rest and sprint periods. That second part may not make sense, but once you get to the second or third round of these, you’ll understand.
You have a little more than 2 football fields worth of overhead walking lunges, but I still think that the “Elite” time is do-able for many people. Consider that each DB is about 10 pounds lighter than in a standard workout and there are only 4 rounds.
There is a good chance I’ll run out to do this…and come back to report a 15-minute finish!
Equipment: Dumbbell, Concept2 rower
What a lethal combination of movements…
This leads to quite the paradox, as well: are you happy because you can “pace yourself” through the 25-minute AMRAP or sad that the only end in sight is the 25:00 on the clock?
Either way, try to “rest” during the row. That’s about your only shot at making this one somewhat tolerable!
2018 CrossFit Open Workout 3
(note: the times in the women’s scores in the lower percentiles are the times it took each percentile to get to the first ring muscle-up.)
Equipment: Jump rope, barbell, bumper plates, gymnastics rings, dumbbell, pull-up bar/rack
The 2018 CrossFit Open did not start with “easy” WODs, but both were pretty manageable.
Then 18.3 dropped…
As you can probably quickly see, the snatches are the easiest part of the workout. And guess what…in each round of 464 reps you get to do…20 of them!
Maybe it isn’t fair to call this one of the classic “dumbbell CrossFit workouts ” but be honest with yourself: you need to practice all of those other movements too, don’t you!
This is a total copy of Kalsu…just with dumbbells.
Do I (or does anyone else) care? Absolutely not!
Who doesn’t want to do one of the hardest (the hardest) workouts in all of CrossFit from the comfort of their resort hotel gym?
2019 CrossFit Open Workout 3
Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box
As much as the previous year’s 18.3 threw a lot of people (yours truly, included!) 19.3 was lamented throughout much of the CrossFit community.
Except for a tiny group of weirdos who had patiently waiting for strict handstand push-ups to bust into the Open.
(I’m one of those weirdos…what a glorious workout 19.3 was!)
The dumbbell was put down after a manageable set of overhead lunges only to be picked up again for the unique (and big!) set of weighted box step-ups. Interestingly enough, that “dumbbell WOD appetizer” doesn’t do much in this one to affect the final score. That comes down to whether you don’t have handstand push-ups…
…or if you do. 🙂
2019 Atlantic Games Qualifier 1
Equipment: Wall ball, dumbbell, pull-up bar/rack
A pretty straightforward dumbbell snatch WOD, this one reminds you that you’re never as fresh on Round 4 as you are during Round 1. Those final 4 bar muscle-ups felt just as difficult as the first 10!
The wall balls are the silent killer here, though. Quite the stimulus to do 32 reps of wall balls and snatches each round right before big sets of bar muscle-ups!
Equipment: Dumbbell, bumper plate
The dumbbell sit-ups and Russian twists are the real X-factors here.
When does anyone do these specific movements with dumbbells (and at those weights?) Who does these movements?!
At least the workout is appropriately named. I honestly don’t think I’d make it through this one without experiencing a serious gut cramp.
Fast and Heavy
Equipment: Dumbbells, air runner
This is the type of dumbbell thruster WOD where I feel like if even an “intermediate” CrossFit athlete puts their mind to it, they’ll end up putting up and “elite” time.
Don’t get me wrong; those big sets of DB thrusters are no joke. However, if actually go “Fast and Heavy” (with emphasis on that first part), you won’t sandbag it on those runs. You can handle 1,200 fast meters, right?
2020 Romanian Throwdown Qualifier 2
Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, dumbbell, pull-up bar/rack
We talked about this one in our best deadlift workouts article…and things haven’t changed since then!
Those snatches are 55 pounds and over the course of 60 reps, I can assure you that it felt like 300 extra pounds of volume! All of this after doing 55, 2-plates-a-side deadlifts to kick things off!
To be honest, I don’t think any of the participating athletes posted an “advanced” time, yet alone an “elite” time. Personally, my chest-to-bar pull-ups go to hell (and did go to hell) after so much volume!
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack, air runner
An excellent staple for working out on the road (I actually completed this one a few weeks ago at the Hilton Resort in Playa Del Carmen…check out my gym set-up below!) this one makes you feel like you’ve done work,
Big sets of dumbbell squat cleans are the way to go (although even the lighter-than-normal 35’s get heavy pretty quickly on this one) and that last run (well, every run, really) is always going to be a bit of a bummer.
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, dumbbells
Yay! 10-minute AMRAP…
…ugh, 10-minute, dumbbell thruster WOD AMRAP…
You wanna get 11 rounds, don’t you? Well, prepare to get through each round in well under a minute.
…and you do want to do an “elite” number of rounds, on one of the most intense dumbbell CrossFit workouts, don’t you?
Dumbbell Barbara Ann
Equipment: Dumbbells, jump rope
Love this one for the handstand push-ups, dumbbell deadlifts, and built-in rest.
Hate this one because you essentially have to do each round in 1:15 to join the “elite” crowd.
Thankfully, you should be more than fresh when attacking each round and with these movements, you only really need to break up the deadlifts.
At 150 scored repetitions, this is one of the truly dumbbell entries of the best dumbbell CrossFit workouts.
Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box
The athletes took this one on to start the 2022 Fort Fight Throwdown in Belgrade, Serbia. Technically there was a Part B (after a brief rest period) that consisted of muscle-ups and heavy overhead squats.
I think this first part is more than enough work.
The WOD-specific single-arm dumbbell movements are unique and rarely practiced and the box jump overs…careful…
2020 CrossFit Open Workout 2
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack, jump rope
To be honest, this one gets a bit tedious. At 20 minutes, it kinda just…goes on…and on…and on…
That being said, there probably isn’t a better WOD for getting a lot of unbroken sets of dumbbell thruster practice.
(because that is exactly what you want in your dumbbell CrossFit workouts, right?)
The added bonus? If you’re bad at double-unders (like me!) each set of thrusters gets exponentially harder.
Find me a better way to spend 20 minutes!
Equipment: Concept2 rower, dumbbells
Yeah, you read that right…
200-meter Farmer’s Carries!
Holy grip, Batman! Holy forearms, Batman!
I think Catch Fire has been responsible for more supinated-gripped rowing sequences than any other workout or idiotic fitness fad. To be fair, how else are you expected to hold the handle when your forearms are pretty much erased?
Those 100-feet walking lunges? Somebody enjoys teasing us!
Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, dumbbell
For once today, we are not talking about dumbbell thrusters!
Instead…sets of unbroken barbell thrusters (and devil’s presses).
At only 10 minutes and 95-pounds on the bar, these shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for experienced CrossFitters. Unfortunately (fortunately?) we don’t have “elite” times for any of the workouts with devil’s presses. Fortify yourself before each set of thrusters at your own fitness detriment!
Dumbbell CrossFit Workouts – The Verdict
Some of these dumbbell CrossFit workouts are pretty manageable while others are…ambitious. No matter how hard they get, remember that switching in a dumbbell every now and then has benefits.
The dumbbell can be used to create different stimuli for familiar movements. This is especially apparent when doing single-arm dumbbell movements as opposed to the barbell movements (which always require both arms). Personally, I am much more adept at dumbbell snatches than I am at barbell snatches. Do enough dumbbell CrossFit workouts and you’re certain to find some “I’m better with dumbbells” movements.
If nothing else, we’re seeing more and more dumbbell movements in the CrossFit Open and other CrossFit competitions so better to start practicing now!
Need the perfect dumbbell to help you tackle literally any dumbbell movement in one of the dumbbell CrossFit workouts. Andrew Hiller and the Rogue Adjustable Dumbbell are on it!
You can make these dumbbells weigh anything you want. Need to scale one of the dumbbell WODs, just switch out a change plate.
(No excuse not to do one of the top dumbbell CrossFit workouts at this point!)
After all that, if you’re just not feeling a dumbbell workout, I can forgive you…as long as you do one of the top Assault Bike workouts instead!