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The devil press (sometimes called a devil’s press) is an all-in-one movement and full-body workout. If you want to improve your strength, speed, and conditioning, this will accomplish all of those things. It’s tougher than it looks, and knocking out even just a few reps might leave you on the floor panting. Let’s talk about what the devil press is and the benefits that it offers.

How Does the Devil Press Work?

You’re going to need two dumbbells of the same weight in order to do this.

The devil press essentially combines a dumbbell burpee and double dumbbell snatch. Here’s what you do:

  • Start with the dumbbells on the ground.
  • Lower down to the ground, grab hold of the dumbbells, and perform a burpee. Your chest should touch the floor.
  • When you jump up to your feet, continue holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • From there, perform a dumbbell snatch (or you can look at it as a swing).
  • You should finish with both arms locked out overhead and your body at full extension. This is one rep.

Importantly, note that you should not pause with the dumbbells at the shoulder and then perform a press. You must get the dumbbells overhead in one fluid motion.

Here’s a quick demo:

The Devil Press Benefits

As we mentioned earlier, the devil press packs a huge punch. Here are just a few reasons you should incorporate them into your training.

Strength Gains

Technically, a burpee includes a push-up of sorts. And, when you factor in the dumbbells — which lift you off the ground slightly — you’re actually doing a push-up at a deficit. In other words, your chest has to travel further to hit the floor.

The devil press also includes (again, of sorts) a squat. In this case, it’s a weighted squat.

And, although the snatch portion is largely about explosiveness (more on that in a minute), it still takes strength to stabilize the dumbbells overhead.

Side note: The devil press asks a lot of your wrists, so you might find that wrist wraps really come in handy here. Shop our collection!

Improved Explosiveness

Think of a kettlebell swing. How are you able to get the kettlebell overhead? You don’t muscle it up. Rather, you use your glutes and hips to power it up, with your arms essentially guiding it in the right direction.

The devil press is a similar story. Your hips and glutes are largely responsible for getting the dumbbells overhead. This means that this exercise is fantastic for improving your explosiveness.

Furthermore, this translates to many other things you do in the gym, including box jumps and the Olympic lifts, both of which demand explosiveness.

Increased Cardiovascular Endurance

You already know how challenging burpees are. Now add two dumbbells into the mix. If there’s anything that can make cardio harder, it’s adding weight.

As you experiment with this movement, remember that you should never sacrifice form for the sake of weight or reps. Start with a more conservative weight so that you can get the hang of it, and then consider going up to something more challenging.