How to do the dumbbell shoulder press exercise. It’s a compound exercise and one of the best exercises for building and strengthening your shoulders.

Shoulder Press Benefits

Performing this exercise properly will deliver great results. It will broaden and strengthen your shoulders, significantly improving your upper body strength. Plus you will look better and perform better in athletic activities and sports, and also helping to prevent injuries in your shoulders including the rotator cuff.

Different ways to perform the shoulder press

  • Seated
  • Standing

The shoulder press can be performed with either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. You can perform it seated or standing.

  • Arnold press – this variation was used and created by Arnold Schwarzenegger, it requires a rotation of the dumbbells in the starting to finishing position.

Equipment used

  • Barbell – The barbell shoulder press also known as the military press.
  • Dumbbells – This allows for more control and movement than the barbell press, so for me it’s the best version.
  • Smith machine – This is a fixed barbell, it’s a good idea to try performing the shoulder press using a smith machine before using free weights. Using free weights requires more control and balance.
  • Seated pin cable press machine – These machines are ideal if you’re just starting out or adding variety to your workouts. They’re also good as a cooling down exercise.

The seated dumbbell version is my preferred version because being seated helps to keep your upper body in good form and in a fixed position. Using dumbbells also allows for a greater range of motion.

Risks of injury

The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of all your joints, for this reason it’s a high risk injury area.

How to Prevent Injury

  • Use the correct technique.
  • Don’t lift too heavy or beyond your ability.
  • Use slow and controlled movements.
  • Warm up your muscles properly before you get serious.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This can be done with your palms facing forwards or your palms facing inwards towards each other, this slightly changes the focus of the exercise. This is for more advanced lifters so don’t worry about it.

How to do the Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  • Sit on the bench, sit up straight with your back straight resting on the back rest .
  • Pick up the dumbbells so one is in each hand, or get somebody to pass them to you.
  • Raise the dumbbells to about shoulder height with your elbows out to the side and your palms facing forward.
  • Now lift up your arms keeping them as level as possible, don’t fully lock your elbows, keep them slightly bent and hold for a short moment.
  • Then slowly lower your arms back down so your upper arms are just below parallel with the floor and the dumbbells are in line with your head and then repeat.

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