Man Makers Exercise | Dumbbell Manmakers

Man Makers Exercise | Dumbbell Manmakers

The Man Maker Exercise or Dumbbell Manmakers are one of those full body exercises that test both your endurance and your strength. Borrowed from Crossfit athletes, this man maker movement is a great way to work your full body with very little equipment. While you can do man makers with a barbell or with no weight at all, I prefer to include two dumbbells of a modest weight.

How do you know where to start though with the weights? If you are a beginning exerciser or this is your first time doing dumbbell man makers, then I recommend you begin by choosing dumbbells that are about half the weight of what you would normally do for a challenging set of 8 in a traditional dumbbell overhead shoulder press. As you gain confidence with the man maker exercise, you can increase the weight incrementally. Another thing to consider is that round dumbbells like to roll and will force you to use more stabilizing muscles within your core as you place the dumbbells on the ground and jump back. It is good to start with hexagonal dumbbells until you feel comfortable with this challenging exercise.

Let’s go through step by step how to do this complex movement.

Manmakers exercise
Dumbbell Man Makers
Man Makers Exercise end position

How to do Man Makers or a Dumbbell Manmaker

1. Begin by placing two moderate weight dumbbells on the ground in front of your feet. Squat down by lowering your hips and keeping your hands on the dumbbells. Be sure to engage your core and maintain a neutral position with your neck as you move into this tuck position. This is the position from which you will begin the man maker exercise.

2. From the starting tuck, maintain your hands grasping the dumbbells as you jump your feet back into a full plank position or the top of a push up position. You want to have your weight evenly distributed between your hands and your feet or really your toes since you will be balancing on your toes in that push up position of the man makers.

3. Keeping your elbows tucked in tightly to your body, dip down into a full pushups allowing your chest to come in line with the dumbbells in your hands. Press back to the top of the push up position. It is critical here that you keep a straight line from your head down through your heels in the push up position portion of the dumbbell man maker.

** Modification option: If the full pushup is too challenging, you can move to your knees for this portion of the exercise. **

4. While still holding a plank position with your hands grasping the dumbbells, complete a plank position row where you row one arm at a time back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage your mid back muscles. Be sure to keep your elbow tucked in toward your mid-line and bring them up as high as possible as you row the dumbbell up and back.

5. Once you have completed a row on each side, jump your feet back up toward your hands back into a tuck position.

6. In a swift and continuous movement, rise up as you clean both dumbbells up to your shoulder level passing through a complete stand and dipping into a squat with your feet shoulder width apart. As you hit the bottom of the squat, press upward with force bringing your whole body to a standing position and extending your arms overhead with the dumbbells to where you are in full extension.

7. To complete the dumbbell man maker, swiftly bring the dumbbells or other weights back to shoulder level, dip through a deep squat, preforming a reverse clean exercise to bring you back to the beginning tuck position with your hands still connected to the weights.

Man Maker Exercise | Common Mistakes

This exercise requires a great deal of flexibility and fluid movement throughout. I often find that women struggle to move swiftly through each phase of the exercise since it is quite complex and go too slowly. In order to get the full cardio vascular benefits, you want to maintain a graceful movement.

A second sticking point some women struggle with is poor form because they lack core control and strength. If you find that you are arching your back excessively during the clean portion of man makers or you are allowing your hips to rise too high in the plank hold potions, it is better to modify the exercise and come to your knees for those portions.

What Muscles Does The Man Makers Exercise Work?

Type: Full Body
The Man Maker is classified as a full-body exercise because it activates muscles across various regions, promoting overall strength and conditioning. Unlike isolated exercises that focus on specific muscle groups, the Man Maker challenges your entire body, making it an efficient choice for those seeking a comprehensive workout.

Primary Muscle Worked: Back, Quadraceps, Delts

  1. Back: The renegade row component of the Man Maker engages the muscles in your upper back, particularly the latissimus dorsi. This helps improve upper body strength and stability.
  2. Quadriceps: The squat and thrust portions of the exercise heavily involve the quadriceps. These powerful muscles located at the front of your thighs play a crucial role in movements like standing, walking, and jumping.
  3. Delts (Deltoids): The shoulder muscles, or deltoids, are activated during the shoulder press phase of the Man Maker. This not only contributes to shoulder development but also enhances overall upper body strength.

Other Muscles: Biceps, Triceps

  1. Biceps: The Man Maker engages the biceps during the rowing phase. While the primary focus is on the back, the biceps assist in the pulling motion, contributing to arm strength and definition.
  2. Triceps: The push-up and shoulder press components of the exercise target the triceps. Strengthening these muscles is essential for pushing movements and overall arm strength.

Equipment: Dumbbell
The Man Maker requires minimal equipment – just a set of dumbbells. This simplicity makes it a versatile exercise that can be performed in various settings, whether you’re at the gym or working out at home.

Level: Advanced
Due to its dynamic and demanding nature, the Man Maker is classified as an advanced exercise. It involves a combination of strength, endurance, and coordination. Beginners may want to start with simpler exercises and gradually progress to the Man Maker as they build strength and proficiency in each component movement.

Why is it called a Man Maker?

The term “Man Maker” for this exercise reflects its intense and challenging nature, suggesting that it’s a workout that can help transform an individual, both physically and mentally. The name carries a certain rugged and demanding connotation, emphasizing the strength and resilience required to perform the exercise effectively.

Here are a few reasons why the exercise might be dubbed a “Man Maker”:

  1. Intensity and difficult nature: The Man Maker is a high-intensity, full-body exercise that combines various movements, including a push-up, row, squat, and shoulder press, all in one seamless flow. The intensity and complexity of these combined actions make it a demanding workout that can push individuals to their limits.
  2. Mental Toughness: The name “Man Maker” also implies that the exercise not only builds physical strength but also requires mental fortitude. The demanding nature of the workout, especially for those at an advanced fitness level, can test one’s mental toughness, discipline, and commitment to pushing through challenges.
  3. Traditional Connotations: Some exercises carry names that have historical or traditional significance, and the term “Man Maker” refers to the idea that this exercise brings to mind an image of traditional, rugged strength training that is associated with a certain image of masculinity and toughness.

Related Exercises

Low Impact Burpees
Barbell Thrusters
Burpee Over Barbell