• Dumbbell Shoulder Press

    by  •  • Top 5 Exercises

    The dumbbell shoulder press is another standard but effective exercises.  If you’re familiar with the Dumbbell bench press then this exercise shouldn’t be too difficult for you.  It will help if you have a big mirror in front of you when you are doing the dumbbell shoulder press so you can ensure you apply the correct technique.

    Targeted muscles:

    • Primary: Shoulders and triceps.
    • Secondary: Deltoids, trapezius (traps) and abdominals.


    • Set the bench at 90° or as close to 90° as the bench will go.
    • Choose a warm up weight your comfortable with (don’t go heavy straight away!).
    • Place the dumbbells on the bench (so you don’t waste energy picking them up off the ground).
    • Place the dumbbells on each knee while seated on the bench.
    • Use your knees to help push the dumbbells onto your shoulders one at a time (if you try just using your arms this will put a lot of strain on your wrists and may cause an injury).
    • Rest the dumbbells gently on your shoulders ready for your first rep which is usually the hardest one as you’ll have the widest range of motion.
    • Turn your wrists so your palm is facing away from you and slowly push the dumbbells up and make them touch in the air, but don’t slam them together! (Also don’t arch your back!)
    • It is very important that you exhale when pushing up and inhale when bringing the dumbbell back towards your chest. (your muscles need oxygen so it doesn’t fatigue quickly!)
    • Slowly lower the dumbbells back down but stop when the handle of the dumbbells reaches roughly your eye level. (This is your range of motion for every rep other than the first.)
    • When you finish your set, gently lower the dumbbells onto your shoulders
    • Bring your knees towards your shoulders one at a time and lift the dumbbells onto your knees to lower it down. (This will be very important when lifting a heavy weight.)


    Your shoulders and triceps will get a really good workout from the dumbbell shoulder press, I put down triceps as a primary muscle used because this muscle is heavily involved to keep the weight stable and when pushing up, although some people say it’s a secondary muscle involved.

    This exercise doesn’t have a major impact on your abdominals but your core is contracted when trying to keep your body stable.  This won’t work your chest muscles but as it works your shoulders and triceps as primary muscles it can help you with your bench press as the shoulders are involved as a secondary muscle for the bench press.