What Is A Devil Press, And How To Do It

What Is A Devil Press, And How To Do It

clock-circular-outlinePosted 24 Mar 2023

A seasoned veteran or your first week at the local gym class, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the devil press exercise.

And, there’s also a good chance you already hate it…

But let’s keep things positive ‘round here.

Understanding how to do the devil press with the correct form may just leave you feeling a little more positive the next time you see them written on the whiteboard.

In this article, we’ll explain what the devil press exercise is, how to do it, and the benefits of including the devil press within your training routine.

What Is The Devil Press?

In short, the devil press is a functional compound movement, combining a burpee with a dumbbell snatch for a full-body exercise. Generally completed with two dumbbells, however, a single-arm devil press is also a great variation of this exercise.

The devil press exercise is commonly used within functional training and class-based workouts, thanks to its effectiveness in targeting the full body to develop strength and endurance.

What Muscles Does The Devil Press Work?

As previously discussed, the devil press is a full-body workout, engaging a whole host of major muscle groups and stabilizers.

With that being said, the muscles worked heavily in the devil press include;

  • Quadriceps

  • Gluteus Maximus

  • Hamstrings

  • Triceps

  • Pectorals Major

  • Deltoids

  • Core / Abdominals

With plenty of strength and power required from the lower body, it's a great leg exercise, too!

How To Do The Devil Press:

As a word of warning, the devil press is no easy exercise – but it’s a great one to master, with many movements allowing for a great transition into other exercises, such as the barbell snatch and push press.

To start learning how to do the devil press, it’s good to build confidence with more fundamental exercises such as burpees and the dumbbell shoulder press.

So, how do you do the devil press?

There are several key stages to consider when looking at how to do the devil press exercise, which is as follows:

  1. The Push-Up – Begin in the push-up position, with your hands gripping the dumbbell. Push up to begin the movement.

  2. The Burpee – Now we need to transition the push-up into the burpee, jumping our feet forward to either side of the dumbbells, allowing us to lift them between our legs ready for the snatch.

  3. The Snatch – Keeping a neutral torso, and proud chest – squeeze your glutes and fire your hips forward, at the same time as extending your legs. Use this momentum to get the dumbbells into an overhead position.

  4. Return to the start position, this is one rep.

How To Do A Single-Arm Devil Press

For the single-arm devil press, the exercise fundamentals remain the same as those outlined in the regular devil press exercise.

The key difference is the use of one dumbbell, which can either stay in the same arm for multiple reps, or alternate arms for each rep.

Here are a few common mistakes to help you identify any issues with your form when learning the devil press exercise:
  • Bicep curling rather than an explosive snatch to get the dumbbell above the shoulders.

  • Not using hex dumbbells, which can lead to the dumbbells rolling away from you during the push-up.

  • Swinging with your lower back, rather than maintaining a neutral torso.

  • Don’t rush your progress. The devil press is a demanding exercise that takes time to develop good form. Keep each rep steady and consistent before increasing the intensity through time, weight, or reps.

The Benefits Of The Devil Press

The devil press is a full body compound movement that can be performed at various intensities.

The ability to increase the intensity through a variety of ways, such as increasing the weight, reps or speed allows for the devil press exercise to constantly challenge the muscles, and energy systems within the body.

There are multiple benefits of the devil press, these include:


With the devil press being a full-body workout that engages many major muscle groups, it makes it a great exercise for developing all-around strength.

As reps and overall volume increase through the means of progressive overload, muscle size, and strength will do too, as your body adapts to the demands placed on it.


Yes, the devil press is a strength exercise, but when performed at high repetitions (which it often is), you're also building capacity within your aerobic energy system, as well as your anaerobic energy system.

This improved capacity will work alongside your strength development, allowing for more weight to be lifted for more repetitions.

Functional Movement

With the devil press being a functional, compound movement that consists of lifting weight from a prone position to a standing position, it's fantastic for building a strong movement pattern.

The functional strength and mobility gained from the devil press can transition to other exercises, such as push-ups or Olympic lifts, alongside everyday lifting and overhead movements outside of the gym.


We've outlined the benefits of the devil press, along with how to do it – so now it's time for you to take your strength and conditioning to a new level and start incorporating the devil press within your weekly workouts.

. . .

Chris Beck is Senior Editor at Gymshark, with a passion for curating informative conditioning and health content. Chris is an experienced Personal Trainer, with qualifications in Nutrition, Sports Performance, and is a certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer.

Chris BeckBy Chris Beck

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