How to do a Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Authored by Fitbod

About Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Sets Logged
6,333,777
Popularity Rank
7th
Difficulty
Beginner
Shoulders Strength
99 mSCORE 1st
Equipment Required
Primary Muscles
Secondary Muscles

Instructions: How To

Dumbbell Shoulder Press is a compound exercise that primarily targets the shoulders. The use of dumbbells allows for slightly more instability than with equipment like barbells. This can help you recruit and develop stabilizing muscles around the shoulders. In addition, by using dumbbells, you can help identify and address any strength imbalances between sides.

  1. Sit on a bench with your back straight holding a pair of dumbbells just outside shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward, and elbows flexed to your sides.
  2. Begin to extend your arms overhead by pressing through your palms while keeping your wrist and forearms vertical to the ground.
  3. The dumbbells should be in align with your ears at full arm extension before descending them back to the starting position.

Performance Tips

  • What muscles does Dumbbell Shoulder Press work?

    The Dumbbell Shoulder Press primarily works the deltoid muscles, particularly the anterior (front) and medial (side) deltoids. It also engages the triceps, upper chest, and trapezius muscles to a lesser extent. Additionally, the core muscles are activated for stabilization during the movement.

  • Which is better Dumbbell (DB) or Barbell (BB) Shoulder Press?

    The dumbbell shoulder press offers a greater range of motion, helps correct muscle imbalances, and engages stabilizer muscles more. The barbell shoulder press allows for lifting heavier weights, provides more stability, and is more efficient for building overall strength.

Common Mistakes

  • Leaning Back

    Leaning back can help you lift a bit more weight, or finish off a difficult set. However, it also reduces the effectiveness of the exercise, and increases the risk of injury. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and gaze forward to help prevent this.

  • Always Sitting

    Performing this exercise while seated adds stability to the movement. You don’t need to focus on keeping your balance, or stabilizing your body. This allows you to focus more on exertion, which is great, but make sure you’re including some standing variations as well. This will help highlight and address some instability you may have with this movement.

Sets & Reps: How many to do

Use this calculator to see Fitbod's possible first recommendations for you. This would be your starting line, based on more than 4.5 billion logged sets from 1.1 million users.

  • beginner
    8
    reps
    20
    lbs
    1 Rep Max
    25
    lbs
  • intermediate
    8
    reps
    30
    lbs
    40
    lbs
  • advanced
    8
    reps
    35
    lbs
    45
    lbs

Enter your stats to calculate your Sets & Reps