The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing: The Cross-Body Dumbbell Clean and Press - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing: The Cross-Body Dumbbell Clean and Press

Craft an iron core while building muscle from the ground up with the Cross-Body Dumbbell Clean and Press.

 Photography: Philip Haynes

Already revered as a total-body exercise, the dumbbell clean and press recruits all of your major muscle groups for a head-to-toe pump. By working in an added ‘contralateral’ element, the move will fire up even more of your core, improving your stability and balance.

“Adapting the basic move to bring the weight across your body increases rotational strength,” says fitness expert Andrew Tracey. “This has functional everyday benefits, as well as being transferable across a range of sports.” Think swinging a golf club, throwing a right hook – or lifting up your kid.

Unilateral training (working each side of your body separately) can help to iron out muscle imbalances by preventing you overusing your dominant side.

“Plus, training in different planes is always a good idea,” says Tracey. Consider this an antidote to up-and-down movements, such as the squat or deadlift.

Don’t go too heavy too soon with this full-body move, advises Tracey. “The weakest link for most people is the overhead press,” he says. “Use your 15-rep-max weight.” Perform 10 reps on one side, rest, then do 10 on the other.


Stand with your hips shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell outside of your left foot. Make a fist with your left hand. This causes irradiation: tensing your surrounding muscles while you lift.


Do a shallow squat, hinge at the hips and bring your right hand across your body to grab the DB. Maintain a flat back. Turn your chest towards the dumbbell so you have a nice rotation as you come up.


Hinge back up explosively and in one movement pull the dumbbell across the mid-line of your body and up on to your shoulder.


Finally, dip at the knees and press the dumbbell away and back to the shoulder and then back down. Tap the dumbbell down and then do
10 reps each side, back to back.

By Mens Health Staff

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