Want to try CrossFit? Start with this 4-move dumbbell workout

It's great for building your upper body strength

Man and woman doing dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty)

Since the CrossFit Games came onto the scene in 2007, the sport has been rising in popularity ever since. It's not for the faint-hearted, though; workouts are completed at a high intensity and can include a mixture of moves that go from one extreme to the other — one minute, you could be doing burpees the next, deadlifts. I've always been in awe watching these athletes on the telly at The CrossFit Games or social media, and if, like me, your instant thought is always, 'I wish I could do that,' well, now you can with this beginner-friendly CrossFit workout.

To an outsider, CrossFit can feel quite intimidating, but it really shouldn't be. Haven spoken to regular CrossFitters myself, they've always told me that it's a sport that anyone can get involved in. Plus, if you're keen to work on your overall fitness levels, then CrossFit is definitely a fitness regime you should consider, as the National Library of Medicine points out that it's great for increasing strength, endurance and body composition.

This CrossFit workout is ideal if you’re looking to build strength in your upper body. It consists of four different exercises, and all you need is two dumbbells. The way CrossFit workouts are structured is a little different to your standard ‘8 reps for 4 sets’ kind of style. This is what’s classed as an ‘every minute on the minute’ workout (EMOM for short).

What that means is that every minute you will start a new exercise. If you complete the set amount of reps within that minute with time left over, then you get to rest for that remaining time until the next minute starts. You will then complete the next exercise for the next minute, and so on. It’s tough, but the quicker you complete your reps, the longer you’ll have to rest until your next exercise. So, lace up those CrossFit shoes and get ready!

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Minute 1: 8 reps single arm DB rows — each side
  • Minute 2: 8 reps DB bench press
  • Minute 3: 10 reps DB bicep curls
  • Minute 4: 10 reps single DB overhead tricep extensions — each side
  • Minute 5: Rest and recharge
  • (Repeat for 20 minutes)

This will put you through your paces, but it’s designed to make you work hard, and the moves are doable. If it is a little too much, though, then you can always give this 20-minute HIIT workout a go instead. As you’ll essentially be doing four rounds of this workout, I’d advise opting for light to medium dumbbells as you want to remain consistent throughout the 20 minutes. There’s no doubt you’re going to be knackered after, but we guarantee with all those endorphins worked up, you’ll feel better than when you started.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.