Devil Press

Why does this exercise have such a bad reputation?

Even if you don't know what the devil press consists of, the name may already put you in the picture.

Read on to find out what it consists of and learn a few tips to make you more efficient in doing it. 

What is the Devil Press?

The Devil Press is a Crossfit exercise that in English we would say "devil's push". It is actually a combination of several exercises, burpee and ground to overhead and is usually performed with two dumbbells. 

How is it done?

This is the step-by-step of this exercise so feared by crossfitters:

  1. The athlete starts standing with the weight loaded, one dumbbell in each hand.
  2. From here the athlete lowers to touch the chest to the ground, as would be done in a burpee. 
  3. From the floor, the athlete gets back on the floor while carrying the weights and raising them overhead. The athlete can use several techniques, snatch, swing or clean and jerk, even varying in the series.
how to do devil press

What muscles do they work?

The devil press involves the whole body, but the muscles that are most relevant are the shoulders, arms and legs.

It combines agility, coordination and strength in a single exercise. 


With 1 dumbbell

In the same way as with double weights, but freeing one hand. 

devil press with 1 dumbbell

With kettlebells

Instead of relying on the balanced weight of the dumbbell, kettlebells give more play, since you must have more control.

kettlebell devil press

Common mistakes and tips

  • No rep for lack of elbow extension

The rush of the WOD, the lack of proprioception or a high load can play tricks on us and make that after having done most of the effort, the repetition is not valid for not having completely locked the shoulders.

Council: Record yourself and find out if your sensations while doing the exercise are the same as the reality. Many times it is not enough to be told, because in our head we are not doing it perfectly. The best way to correct yourself is to see for yourself.

  • Low back pain

We will not get a "no rep" for performing the exercise with a very bent back, but if the WOD included a high number of repetitions, we are likely to be resentful the next day.

lumbar pain devil press

Council: As we have previously discussed in the lumbar belt blogIt is interesting that we do not resort to it as a solution, but only as a sporadic use.

Practice the movement without haste and with lower weights, being aware of the position you take when once you have joined the burpee you are going to do the ground to overhead.

Use knee and hip flexion to help you with the weight. This is the most critical moment, when the lower back tends to curve a lot.

Remember that unless you are in a sporadic situation such as a competition, it pays to insist on technique and a healthy back (which should last a lifetime).