The man maker exercise: You may want to include it in your programming. It’s a highly underrated movement that’s great for body conditioning, balance, dynamic movement, and strength-building. It’s also really, really hard.

Man makers will test both your cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. We won’t sugarcoat it: It’s a tough exercise that works your whole body. Think of combining a push-up, burpee, squat clean, planks, renegade rows, and a press all into one movement. Ouch.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep reading. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in doing a man maker, the muscles it targets, and other benefits you can reap from this total-body exercise.

How to Do Man Makers

Before anything else, make sure that you are geared up for this exercise. Get your athletic wear ready, plus the dumbbell weights you prefer, and find an open space where you can work out to your heart’s content. (You don’t need much room!)

Helpful Hint: Start with a weight that’s lighter, so that you can get comfortable with the movement first.

Man makers deliver excellent results when done properly. Thus, before we get into a breakdown of the movement, remember these tips:

  1. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise.
  2. Maintain good posture with a flat (engaged) back.
  3. Man makers demand more oxygen. Take your time, and remember to breathe.
  4. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.

With that said, let’s move on to the fun part. Here are the steps in performing man makers.

Step 1: Start at the top of a push-up position, holding on to a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure you tighten that grip! Wrist wraps might help here. Perform a push-up.

Step 2: Perform a dumbbell row on each side. Squeeze your shoulders as you bring the weight up toward your chest.

Step 3: Jump your feet forward toward your hands to stand and move straight into a dumbbell clean.

Step 4: As you stand up with the dumbbells on your shoulders, move into a press. In other words, you’re doing a dumbbell thruster! Maintain your form and control your strength. It doesn’t have to be fast, but it does need to be precise.

Step 5: Repeat the process for reps.

Check out this video on how to properly do the man maker exercise:

What Do Man Makers Work?

The man maker exercise is a tough routine. Most people tend to consider this a powerful core exercise, and it is. But you’re going to feel the burn everywhere, including your:

  • Back.
  • Shoulders.
  • Biceps.
  • Core.
  • Glutes.
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads.

3 Man Maker Exercise Benefits

The man maker is great for both cardio and strength-building, largely thanks to the fact that it combines so many exercises into one. Here are just a few specific benefits.

1. Develop a Stronger Core

Man makers initially start with a plank, and planks are excellent for muscular endurance in the core. You also need your core for the renegade rows, because this is what keeps you from collapsing onto the ground. Your core comes into play again for the clean, because it helps support the weight on your shoulders.

Without engaging your core, you can’t complete this exercise. Period.

A strong core doesn’t only come in handy in the gym or when working out. It’s also essential in our daily lives to perform everyday tasks safely and live a healthier lifestyle. Having a strong core translates to so many things you do inside and outside of the gym — even sitting.

This is just one benefit of the man maker.

2. Improve Your Overall Performance

Since the man maker puts your whole body to work, both in terms of cardio and strength-building, you can expect this to benefit you in your other programming. Doing man makers regularly and you might find that the Olympic lifts, sprinting, box jumps, and squats all become easier, too.

female athlete doing the man maker exercise

3. Enhance Your Power Output

Improved power and explosiveness are a rather unexpected result when you perform man makers. This is about cardiovascular endurance, yes. It’s also about strength. But you can’t get through all of these movements without power. Power is what gets you from the rows to the bottom of the clean, and the bottom of the clean to the top of the thruster.

This results in an enhanced power output coming from a strong core, better stability, balance, and coordination. You probably don’t need us to tell you that this, too, will translate to other things you do in the gym.

The man maker gives you a lot of bang for your buck. If you want to do a lot of work in a short amount of time, this is the exercise for you. And the coolest part is that all you need is a set of dumbbells! Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated — it just needs to challenge you. That’s how we get stronger.

If you grew comfortable with doing just planks, or just squats, or cleans, or presses, put them all together into one spicy exercise. Kick things up a notch and take on the man maker! Incorporate this into your programming and you’re sure to reap the benefits. Remember that maxing out the weight isn’t the goal. It should be challenging, yes, but not so challenging that you’re struggling to hang onto the weight and complete all the movements.

Ready to grab your wrist wraps and dumbbells so that you can tackle the man maker? Shop with The WOD Life today!