The Dumbbell Bear

By Mike Rutherford

In Exercises

June 01, 2007

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While standing in a grocery store line the other day, I picked up one of the popular mainstream men's fitness publications. (I confess.) They are all the same. The models are topless, lean, and tan. Their makeup jobs take longer than those of all the girls I like, and their teeth are bigger and whiter than Mr. Ed's. To my utter amazement, though, the models in this particular issue were performing functional dumbbell movements (in this case the dumbbell snatch)! Not a biceps curl in sight! I would like to think the CrossFit Journal and this column are partly responsible.

Mainstream or not, this month's installment of the "Dumbbell Coach" column will focus on a challenge from my DVD Dumbbell Moves, Vol. 2. The dumbbell Bear is a unique complex that combines three of the most productive weight-lifting movements in a smoker of a task-priority workout.


I learned of the barbell version of the Bear in 2003. That version included a power clean, front squat, push press, and back squat in succession. The push press to back squat transition was difficult. The back squat toMy dumbbell version of the Bear consists of deadlifts, hang power cleans, and front squat / push presses (thrusters).

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1 Comment on “The Dumbbell Bear”


wrote …

I did this WOD with two athletes this morning. I worked off Variant 2 but tried to complete 5 complexes per minute for 20 minutes. I read later that you stated this version would be challenging w/ 3.
One female athlete was newer to lifting weights so she used 15lb. dumbbells (20% of Body weight). She completed all 20 rounds unbroken. the extra 10 lbs to go to 20's may have been too intimidating for her.
One male athlete is in above average shape at 175lb. He used 1 pood KB (40% Body weight). He missed 3 rounds in 20 min.
I used 45lb. KB (220lb>>41%) and missed 5 rounds in 20 min.
I ran it like Chelsea where if you missed a round, you skipped the next. Definitely a brutal workout that will be added into my rotation. I look forward to trying the the other variants.

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