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On the coveted list of “The Most Versatile Things Ever” are coconut oil, baking soda, and definitely duct tape. But there is one more to add to the list: dumbbells. These free weights may invoke nostalgia of the Arnold Schwarzenegger variety, but in 2017 — when both 17.1 and 17.2 featured the equipment — HQ reminded us that “dumbbells have been a frequently used piece of equipment since CrossFit’s inception.”

Not only are these handy weights Dave Castro-approved, but also think about it this way: With a jump rope, you jump. With a rower, you row. With a GHD, you cook your abs and maybe use the handles for tricep extensions. But with dumbbells — basically the lovechild of a barbell and a kettlebell — you can push press, push jerk, snatch, hang clean, clean and jerk, DB overhead walking lunge, goblet squat, DB step-up, DB thruster, bent over row, bench press, and bicep curl. Talk about constantly varied. Plus, dealing with two independent weights places more emphasis on unilateral strength, stability, and intramuscular coordination than the barbell.

So we decided to do some digging. Below, we rounded up eight dumbbell WODs from over the years to try at your box. Just make sure to adjust the weights as needed, especially the workouts from the Games and Regionals that were originally programmed for the Games and Regionals athletes. The dumbbell movements in all of the workouts below should be performed at high intensity, so if you cannot do more than three to five reps unbroken, lower the weight.

athlete doing dumbbells wods

8 Dumbbell WODs to Try at the Box

1. The 2013 Regionals Individual Workout #4: The 100’s

100 wall balls (20/14)
100 chest-to-bar pull-ups
100 one-legged squats, alternating legs
100 one-arm dumbbell snatches
Men use a 70 lb. dumbbell for the snatches.
Women use a 50 lb. dumbbell for the snatches.

2. The 2018 Team Series Workout #8

For time with a partner
30 synchro toes-to-bars
40 synchro single-arm dumbbell snatches
50 synchro dumbbell box step-overs
40 synchro single-arm dumbbell snatches
30 synchro toes-to-bars
Time cap: 15 minutes
Men use a 50 lb. dumbbell.
Women use a 35 lb. dumbbell.

3. CrossFit Workout of the Day: September 20, 2011

Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of
9 dumbbell thrusters
15 ft rope climb, 1 ascent
Men use a 35 lb. dumbbell on the thruster.
Women use a 25 lb. dumbbell on the thruster.

4. The 2017 Games Individual Workout: Triple-G Chipper

100 pull-ups
80 GHD sit-ups
60 one-legged squats, alternating
40 cal. row
20 dumbbell push presses
Men use a 100 lb. dumbbell on the push presses.
Women use a 70 lb. dumbbell on the push presses.

jess during dumbbells wods

5. Open Workout 18.1

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of
8 toes-to-bars
10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks
14 cal. row
Men use a 50 lb. dumbbell on the hang clean and jerks.
Women use a 35 lb. dumbbell on the hang clean and jerks.

6. CrossFit Workout of the Day: January 17, 2012

Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of
20 GHD sit-ups
10 left-arm overhead walking lunges
10 right-arm overhead walking lunges
Men use a 60 lb. dumbbell on the lunges.
Women use a 60 lb. dumbbell on the lunges.

7. Joshie

3 rounds for time
21 dumbbell squat snatches, right arm
21 L pull-ups
21 dumbbell squat snatches, left arm
21 L pull-ups
Men use a 40 lb. dumbbell on the snatch.
Women use a 25 lb. dumbbell on the snatch.

8. CrossFit Workout of the Day: February 16, 2016

For time
90 double-unders
9 muscle-ups
9 squat clean thrusters, 65 lb. dumbbells
80 double-unders
8 muscle-ups
8 squat clean thrusters, 65 lb. dumbbells
70 double-unders
7 muscle-ups
7 squat clean thrusters, 65 lb. dumbbells
Men use a 65 lb. dumbbell on the squat clean thrusters.
Women use a 45 lb. dumbbell on the squat clean thrusters.