Man Makers Workouts for Full Body Conditioning and Strength

Man Makers are a highly underused Dumbbell exercise that build solid full body strength, enforce dynamic movement and enhance conditioning for anyone that chooses to add them into their training program.

What are Man Makers?

The term Man Maker describes a collection of movements grouped together to form a single complex. These include a dumbbell push-up, two renegade rows (one per arm), and a squat clean thruster performed in sequence. This collectively equals a single rep.

A complex is a term given to a series of exercises performed in order and counted as one repetition. The “Bear Complex” is an infamous example of a barbell complex.

Benefits of the Man Makers Exercise

As an exercise, Man Makers offer excellent results for general conditioning, full body strength development under fatigued conditions, stabilisation, balance and improving power output.

Man Makers are also a great core exercise. They force the midsection of your body to work hard during both the plank / renegade row and Squat Clean Thruster portions of the movement.

Man Makers are an excellent way to build better grip and forearm strength, especially when you use heavier dumbbells.

Muscles Worked by Man Makers

Man Makers are a full body exercise and the different parts of the exercise will strengthen and enhance the body in different ways. See below how each part of the overall Man Maker complex will improve different muscles and muscle groups in your body.

  • Plank – Erector spinae, abs, core
  • Press Up – Pecs, serratus anterior, triceps, delts, core
  • Renegade Rows – Traps, biceps, triceps, lats, teres minor, teres major, serratus anterior, core
  • Squat Clean Thruster – Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, core stabilisers, shoulders, delts

How to do Man Makers

  1. Position your body in a standard Press Up position on the floor with your hands gripping the Dumbbells
  2. Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  3. Perform a Press Up. Make sure that both the chest and thighs make contact with the ground. Exhale
  4. Once you have returned to the starting position, inhale, brace your body, then row the right Dumbbell with your right arm. Keep your body tight and strong.
  5. Next, complete a single Dumbbell Row with your left arm. Exhale
  6. Inhale. Bring your feet forwards then spring your body upwards into the Squat position. Ensure that the hip crease drops below the knee crease so that you break parallel. Rest the Dumbbells on your shoulders
  7. Squat powerfully upwards. Press both Dumbbells at the top of the movement. Make sure to lockout your arms and reach full hip, knee and arm extension. Exhale during the Dumbbell Press portion of the movement
  8. Return to the starting Press Up position.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Training Tips for Man Makers

Keep your abs and core tight and braced throughout the full range of motion. Man Makers are a highly underutilised core exercise because they require the entire core to work hard to balance, coordinate and stabilise the body through each different exercise in the overall complex.

Maintain a flat, neutral position with your spine. Don’t let your back fold and slouch forward at any time.

Keep the Dumbbells as close as possible to your body at all times. This will make them easier to move and each respective movement more efficient with less wasted energy.

Think about how you transition between the different exercises in the overall Man Maker complex. The smoother you are, the faster and more effectively you will be able to move through the Man Makers.

Man Makers Workouts

The following 14 Man Makers workouts will all test and improve your fitness, strength, power output, skill, balance and coordination in many different ways. Browse through and choose your next workout.

Each workout includes Man Makers and full instructions on how to adapt (scale) the workout to suit any fitness level.

WORKOUT 1

7 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Man Makers
  • 20 Dumbbell Deadlifts
  • 30 Single-Arm Dumbbell Muscle Snatches (15 per side)
  • 40 Single-Arm Overhead Squats (20 per arm)
  • 50 Dumbbell Swings

Use one pair of dumbbells throughout (pick your own weight)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform 7 rounds of the prescribed work in the order written. This workout was originally intended to be a “choose your own weight” adventure. If you’re looking for an RX weight consider 35/25 lb.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Dumbbell Swings is completed.

Tips and Strategy

Settle in for a long workout (intermediate athletes should finish in 50-90 minutes) by picking a pace that you can maintain for that amount of time. In other words, don’t do the first 10 Man Makers unbroken. Do one, rest a second, do another, etc. For the rest of the movements, break up the reps into very manageable sets.

Go slower than you think you need to for round one. See if you can hold that pace for the next 6 rounds.

WORKOUT 2

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 6 Dumbbell Man Makers (2×55/35 lb)
  • 7 Box Step Ups (2×55/35 lb)
  • Wear a weight vest (20/14 lb)

Use one pair of dumbbells throughout. Perform all movements while holding both dumbbells.

Scaling

Lower the weight of the Dumbbells.

Use a lower box or perform standing Knee Raises instead.

Don’t wear a weight vest.

WORKOUT 3

7 Rounds for Time

  • 7 Man Makers (2×22.5/15 kg)
  • 7 Dumbbell Squat Cleans (2×22.5/15 kg)
  • 7 Burpee Broad-Jumps
  • 7 Dumbbell Thrusters (2×22.5/15 kg)
  • 7 Press Ups
  • 7 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)

Time Cap: 45 minutes

Scaling

Use a lighter weight for the Dumbbells.

Use a lighter ball for the Wall Ball Shots.

Check out these Ski Erg Workouts to improve your conditioning

WORKOUT 4

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 15 calorie Assault Air Bike
  • 10 Front Squats (135/95 lb)
  • 5 Dumbbell Man Makers (2×35/20 lb)

Scaling

Lower the weight for the Front Squats or simply perform Air Squats.

Lower the weight for the Man Makers.

WORKOUT 5

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Man Makers (2×45/25 lb)
  • 10 Dumbbell Lunges (2×45/25 lb)
  • 15 Toes to Bar
  • 20 calorie Assault Air Bike

Scaling

Perform the Dumbbell Lunges and Man Makers with lighter weights.

Swap the Toes to Bar for Knees to Elbow or Sit Ups.  

WORKOUT 6

For time

  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Deadlifts
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Cleans
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Strict Presses
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Push Presses
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Swings
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Snatches (Left Hand)
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Dumbbell Snatches (Right Hand)
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Man Makers

Use one pair of Dumbbells (55/35 lb) throughout

Use the same pair of dumbbells throughout. Originally the WOD was designed as “choose your own weight.” If you’re looking for an Rx weight consider 50/35 lb.

Score is the time on the clock when the last repetition of Man Makers is completed.

Movement Standards

Most of the weighted movements (Deadlifts, Cleans, Strict Presses, Push Presses and Man Makers) are intended to be done with two Dumbbells.

Snatches are with a single Dumbbell, one arm at a time.

Scaling

Use lighter Dumbbells.

WORKOUT 7

AMRAP in 22 minutes

  • 22 Dumbbell Snatches (22.5×15 kg)
  • 4 Man Makers (2×22.5/15 kg)
  • 20 Burpees
  • 20 Single Dumbbell Front Squats (22.5/15 kg)

On a 22-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 22-minute clock stops.

Scaling

Select lighter Dumbbells.

Perform Air Squats instead of Front Squats.

WORKOUT 8

AMRAP in 35 minutes

Buy-In:

  • 10 Man Makers (2×35/20 lb dumbbells)
  • 10 Burpees

In remaining time, AMRAP of:

  • 300 metre Run
  • 30 Air Squats
  • 5 Handstand Press Ups

Start a 35-minute timer. Do the man-makers and burpees. Then, without stopping, continue to the Run, Air Squats, and Handstand Press Ups. Repeat those three movements as many times as possible until the 35-minute clock runs out.

Your score is the number of rounds and repetitions completed of the Run/Air Squat/Handstand Press Ups.

Scaling

Swap Handstand Press Ups for Press Ups.

WORKOUT 9

For Time

  • 100 Deadlifts (135/95 lb)
  • 100 Power Cleans (115/85 lb)
  • 100 Overhead Squats (75/55 lb)
  • 10 Man Makers (2×20/15 kg)

Use a single barbell and a pair of dumbbells. Athlete must change his/her own weight.

Scaling

Use lighter weights.

If you struggle with the necessary mobility for the Overhead Squats, replace them with Back Squats instead.

WORKOUT 10

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Man Makers (2×35/20 lb)
  • 10 Pull-Ups
  • 15 calorie Assault Air Bike
  • 20 Dumbbell Lunges (35/20 lb)
  • 25 Sit-Ups

Scaling

Lower or remove the weights.

WORKOUT 11

2 Rounds for Time

  • 6 Squat Clean Thrusters (135/95 lb)
  • 8 Man Makers (2×45/30 lb dumbbells)
  • 14 Toes to Bar

Scaling

Use a lighter load for the Squat Clean Thrusters and the Man Makers.

Exchange Toes to Bar for Knees to Elbows or Sit Ups.

WORKOUT 12

2 Rounds for Time

  • 19 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
  • 30 Strict Pull Ups
  • 40 calorie Row
  • 40 Lateral Jumps (over the rower)
  • 20 Man Makers (2×25/20 lb)
  • 65 Toes through Rings

Time Cap: 35 minutes

Scaling

Replace Strict Pull Ups with Banded Pull Ups or Lat Pull Downs.

Toes through Rings can be switched with Knees to Elbow or Sit Ups.

With the Wall Ball Shots, use a lighter ball, a lower target or simply swap them for Air Squats.

WORKOUT 13 – PARTNER

4 Rounds (with a Partner) for Time

  • 8 Man Makers (2×50/35 lb) / Plank Hold
  • 20 Deadlifts (275/205 lb) / Wall Sit
  • 24 One Arm Dumbbell Thrusters (50/30 lb) / Scissor Kicks

Cash out:

  • 500 Double-Unders / Row

With a running clock Partner A starts the man makers while Partner B holds plank. Partner A may not start a rep until partner B is working. Partition the work as needed, but both partners must work at the same time. Partners may switch positions at will.

Once the man makers are complete, either partner may start the deadlifts, and so on. There is no minimum work requirement (eg: metres or calories) on the final row, but the rowing partner must be rowing in order for any of the other partner’s Double-Unders to count.

Score is the time on the clock when the cash-out is completed.

Scaling

Use lighter weights for the Deadlifts, Man Makers and One Arm Dumbbell Thrusters.

WORKOUT 14

6 Rounds for Time

  • 8 Goddessmakers* (2×35/25 lb)
  • 200 metre Run
  • Rest 2 minutes

*1 Goddessmaker consists of: 1 Dumbbell Push-Up, 1 Right-Arm Plank Row, 1 Left-Arm Plank Row, 1 Dumbbell Clean, 1 Front Squat, 1 Push Press, 1 Overhead Reverse Lunge each leg (unbroken)

A Goddessmaker (an extended version of a Man Maker) consists of the following in order: Using Dumbbells, perform a pushup, then a plank row (aka: renegade row) each arm. Jumping the feet to the hands, stand and clean the dumbbells, perform a front squat then a push press. Finally, with the dumbbells overhead, perform a reverse lunge each leg.

Scaling

Intermediate

6 Rounds for Time

  • 8 Goddessmakers (2×25/15 lb)
  • 200 metre Run
  • Rest 2 minutes

Beginner

6 Rounds for Time

  • 8 Goddessmakers (2×20/10 lb)
  • 150 metre Run
  • Rest 2 minutes

Man Makers are not a common exercise, but by adding a new stimulus into your training your will challenge and strengthen your conditioning in news ways. They combine highly effective movements into a complex that will be highly beneficial for your health and fitness.

Want to enhance your body and fitness in unique ways? Add these Russian Twist and Ground to Overhead Workouts into your training.