Dumbbell Only CrossFit Workouts – Introduction
No matter how long you’ve been doing CrossFit, at some point, you are going to find yourself at home and unable to get to your CrossFit box.
You may look around your home, and the only thing you can find is dumbbells.
The good news is, that’s all you need.
While you might be used to lifting a heavy barbell in your box, you’ll be surprised at the workout you can get from dumbbells.
Before you jump into these dumbbell-only CrossFit workout routines, keep in mind that you are going to move a high volume in a short amount of time.
Therefore, most of the workouts are going to be fast.
Why Should I Consider a CrossFit Workout with Dumbbells?
Dumbbells are the perfect alternative to a barbell when performing classic CrossFit movements.
Dumbbells can be used for any movement that calls for a barbell.
When you replace a barbell with a pair of dumbbells, it provides you with a new stimulus, and you need to know how to work with new movements.
You can use dumbbells anywhere, including your home or on the road.
What to Know Before I Start Dumbbell-Only CrossFit Workouts?
While this is an obvious statement, it needs to be said anyway.
If you want to perform dumbbell workouts, you need at least one dumbbell.
However, you should have two.
Also, you should have dumbbells in a few weights.
For some movements, you will be able to use heavier weights, but you’ll need lighter weights for other movements.
Therefore, when you are selecting the weight, you want to pick the right weight for your body size, skill, and ability.
You’ll have to buy some if you don’t already have dumbbells.
You want to choose dumbbells that are of good quality and feel comfortable in your hand.
When you select weights that fit comfortably in your hand, the workout is safer, and you’ll get a better workout.
Of course, you don’t want to purchase the most expensive weights, but keep in mind you get what you pay for.
Dumbbells come in just about every weight you can imagine.
If you’re a hardcore CrossFit athlete, the standard competition weight is 50 pounds (22.5kg) for males and 35 pounds (15kg) for females.
Also, if you want to focus on MetCon training (aka Metabolic Conditioning training), you want to use 50/35 pounds.
However, if you want to focus on isolation workouts, you should have a range of weights.
To avoid spending money on many different dumbbells, you might consider buying adjustable dumbbells.
These dumbbells allow you to add or remove weight from one handle.
Unfortunately, while they are cost-effective, they aren’t the most practical or compatible with CrossFit workouts.
Benefits of CrossFit Workout with Dumbbells
If you are considering CrossFit workouts with dumbbells, you already know there is value when performing exercises with them.
Dumbbell workouts are excellent for building muscles, strength, and power, especially when you perform these workouts for time.
In addition, dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment with which you can train.
Using dumbbells allows you to focus on unilateral movement.
This means that your hands and arms move independently from one another.
This releases a neurological response that is powerful and allows you to get fitter and stronger.
When you use barbells, you are performing bilateral movements.
Both of these types of movements are beneficial.
Identify muscle imbalances
You can hide weaknesses when you perform movements with a barbell.
Dumbbells, on the other hand, you just can’t hide!
Instead, they only highlight your deficiencies.
It doesn’t matter if you are deficient in strength, stability, and mobility; dumbbells will show them.
Dumbbells also highlight and help treat your muscle imbalances.
If you find that during a workout, after a certain number of reps, one arm is fine, but the other arm won’t move at all.
This is how you know that you have an imbalance in your strength.
However, the more you train with dumbbells, the more balance your body will find.
The more balanced you are means, the less likely you are to get injured over time.
With only one set of dumbbells, you can get a fat-burning, muscle-building workout in.
What’s even better is dumbbells don’t take up a lot of room, and you can store them in random places like under a bed or in a closet.
8 Best CrossFit Workouts with Dumbbells
When you are interested in trying out some of the best CrossFit workouts with dumbbells, start with these exercises.
#1. Hotel Hell
This workout tends to be a personal favorite for those who enjoy doing dumbbell workouts.
The key to this workout is to keep the weight light.
Also, this workout is for time, which means you want to go as fast as possible.
How to do it:
- 5 Burpees (at the top of each minute)
- 100 Dumbbell Thrusters (35lbs male/25 lbs female)
You start with the five burpees.
Then you complete as many thrusters as possible with the rest of the time in the minute.
At the top of the next minute, you do five burpees.
You continue to do this until all 100 thrusters are finished.
#2. Painstorm XV
This workout is aptly named because it’s going to hurt.
However, this workout is for time, so you want to move as quickly as you can to finish the workout.
This workout is seven rounds.
How to do it:
- 10 Man Makers*
- 20 Dumbbell Deadlifts
- 30 Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches (15 on each arm)
- 40 Single Arm Overhead Lunges (20 in each arm)
- 50 Dumbbell Swings
*To Perform Man Makers:
You start with a dumbbell in each hand and your body holding at the top of the pushup position.
Then, you pull yourself down into the pushup and pushup again.
When you’re in the top of the pushup position, you pull your right arm into your chest and put the dumbbell back on the ground.
Then do the same with the left arm.
After that, you perform a full squat clean with one dumbbell in each hand.
When your hips are fully extended at the top of the front squat, you press the weight overhead with your shoulders in an active position.
That’s one rep!
#3. Dumbbell DT
This is a version of DT that’s specifically intended to be completed with dumbbells.
This workout is five rounds for time, and like many others, it should be fast.
You want to hold on as long as you can.
This should be a ten-minute workout.
You want to hold yourself to two minutes per round.
If you have only one dumbbell, you should complete all five rounds on one side, then rest for two minutes.
After the two-minute rest, you should complete five rounds on the other side.
How to do it:
- 5 Rounds for Time
- 12 Deadlifts
- 9 Hang Power Cleans
- 6 Push Jerks
Elizabeth has a rep scheme that should look familiar to CrossFit athletes.
In addition, you may have a set of rings at your house, which will be perfect for this workout.
However, if you don’t, or you aren’t proficient at ring dips, substitute box dips for them.
While they’re called box dips, you can use a nightstand or other stable surface you have that is between 24 to 36 inches tall.
If you don’t have a surface that will work, you can do close-grip push-ups instead.
No matter which one you use, you’ll feel the burn in your triceps.
How to do it:
- 21-15-9 (rep scheme)
- Dumbbell Squat Cleans
- Ring Dips/Box Dips/Close Grip Push Ups
#5. Dumbbell Downfall
This workout is for time, so you want to move as fast as you can through the reps.
For this workout, if you don’t have the prescribed weight for your dumbbells, use the weights you have.
This workout does include toes to bar.
If you don’t have a stable and sturdy bar at home you can use, you can always perform V-ups instead of toes to bar.
If you don’t think you can perform toes to bar safely, you shouldn’t risk it.
Again, don’t risk it!
How to do it:
- 5 Man Makers (45 pounds male / 25 pounds female)
- 10 Dumbbell Lunges (45 pounds male / 25 pounds female)
- 15 Toes to Bar
- 20 Burpees
#6. Freight Train
This workout uses a heavy weight.
However, if this weight is too heavy for you to perform thrusters safely, pick a lighter weight.
Don’t injure yourself trying to perform these movements – please.
If you haven’t done a workout that combines thrusters and burpees before, prepare yourself because this is going to hurt.
Any workout with the combination of thrusters and burpees is a tough one.
Unless these are your two favorite movements, you are going to have to push through them.
How to do it:
- 20 Dumbbell Thrusters (50 pounds)
- 15 Burpees
- 30 Air Squats
#7. Dumbbell Demons
This workout is for time and also uses a heavy weight.
Dumbbell snatches can be challenging.
Again, if this weight is too heavy, then you should scale back to a weight that you can use without hurting yourself.
How to do it:
- 5 Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches (75 pounds male / 40 pounds female)
- 10 Dumbbell Lunges (75 pounds male / 40 pounds female)
- 15 Sit-ups
- 20 Burpees
#8. Jason Khalipa’s Push/Pull Workout
For this workout, you want to try to keep your heart rate low.
However, you should know that your arms are going to give up on you.
It won’t be long before they are completely thrashed.
This is a longer workout.
You should expect it to take at least 20 minutes.
If you are a beginner or not an elite CrossFitter, it may take longer.
Don’t come out of the gate hot, and try to get in as many reps as possible.
You want to focus on high-quality reps.
It’s important to focus on form.
If you feel like your form is starting to go south, you should slow down and fix your form before continuing.
This workout is four rounds.
You work on each movement for one minute before moving on to the next movement.
How to do it:
One minute for each movement.
Rest for one minute between each set.
- Max Thrusters
- Max Bent Over Row
- Max Burpees
- Max Hang Snatch
Dumbbell Only CrossFit Workouts – Wrapping Up
When you are considering performing a CrossFit workout with dumbbells, you should know that you can continue to gain muscle mass while using dumbbells.
You should know that the best way to do this is to continue increasing your weight.
Every couple of weeks, you want to increase your weight by about five to ten pounds.
If you don’t increase the weight, you will hold steady at your current muscle mass.
You don’t have to give up on working out just because you can’t make it to the gym.
All you have to do is try one of these fantastic WODs above at home the next time you want a muscle burner!
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