Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Primary Muscle Group: Deltoids
Secondary Muscle Group: Triceps, Traps
Equipment Needed: Dumbbell, Weight Bench
The Benefits of Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The seated dumbbell shoulder press is a popular exercise for building both muscle mass and strength in the shoulders. The triceps also work hard as a secondary in this lift. Many lifters find using dumbbells to be more comfortable and shoulder-friendly for this press variation than a barbell. This can be the primary pressing movement on an upper-body or shoulder day, or an effective accessory movement later in a workout.
Some key benefits you get from doing the Dumbbell Shoulder press are;
Builds shoulder muscle mass and strength.
Greater potential range of motion than a barbell press.
Allows natural wrist and arm rotation.
Effective in low and high reps.
Pressing weight overhead while standing can build big shoulders, a strong core, and develop full-body strength. The Standing Dumbbell Press is an excellent exercise to start learning how to press over your head while standing.
If you are looking for other exercises that are the best for building muscle or wanting to lose body fat then you should check our Free Workout Plan or our Workout Plans With Coaching for professionally designed workout plans that have been proven to get results.
The Risks of doing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
This is the most common and dangerous form mistake when pressing weight over your head – whether it’s a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell. If you don’t have enough shoulder mobility or you are using a weight that’s too heavy, you may compensate by excessively rounding your lower back. This compromised back position can lead to serious injuries over time, so it’s critical to consistently work on shoulder flexibility. Finally, if you are not used to free weight movements and you have weak stabilizing muscles, you risk dropping the dumbbells behind you which could lead to a dislocation of the shoulder which will be a long term injury.
How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press
1. Set up an adjustable angle bench to 90 degrees and select the desired weight from the rack.
2. Pick up the dumbbells from the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the end of the dumbbells on your knees and sit down on the bench.
3. Using a safe and controlled motion, kick your knees up one at a time in order to get each dumbbell into place.
4. Once the dumbbells are in place, rotate your palms so they are facing forward.
5. Take a deep breath then press the dumbbells overhead by extending the elbows and contracting the deltoids.
6. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position (the arms should be roughly 90 degrees or slightly lower depending upon limb lengths).
7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
For Perfect Technique
Keep your back flat against the pad throughout the duration of the exercise.
Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively.
Drive the bicep to the ear and exhale as you press.
If you sense any pressure in your neck or traps during the movement, look to address a lack of thoracic spine extension or shoulder flexion.
Keeping the elbows slightly bent at the top and not locking out entirely will help to keep tension on the shoulders.
If you can’t lock out the elbows overhead than it may indicate a lack of shoulder mobility due to poor scapular upward rotation.
Once you have mastered the Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises
1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit up straight with your feet around shoulder width apart on the edge of a flat bench.
2. Hold the dumbbells down at your sides with your palms facing in. Hold the dumbbells out at around 4 inches from your body. This is the starting position for the exercise.
3. Keeping your body still, eyes facing forward, with a slight bend in your arms, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height.
4. Pause, and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled movement.
5. Repeat for desired reps.
How To Do Upright Rows
1. The barbell upright row is one of the best exercises for building the shoulders and upper traps. To start, load up a barbell with the weight you want to use and stand facing it with your feet at around shoulder width apart.
2. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down), and hands slightly closer than shoulder width apart.
3. Pick the bar up, bending at the knees and keeping your back straight.
4. Keeping your back straight and eyes facing forwards, lift the bar straight up while keeping it as close to your body as possible (you should pull the bar up to around chest height - nearly touching your chin).
5. Pause, and then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
6. Repeat for desired reps.