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Dumbbell Shoulder Press - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Shoulders
Secondary Muscles Worked: Triceps

The Dumbbell Shoulder Press is a core exercise in anyone’s shoulder routine because of its simplicity and high anterior deltoid fibre recruitment which helps it to gain bulk fast to give you a nice rounded shoulder. Great front delt development will also accentuate your biceps. The Dumbbell Shoulder Press works primarily your front delts, but also activates your lateral shoulder muscle fibres, triceps to extend the elbow. Your traps, serratus anterior and your core are also activated to provide stabilisation.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • With a pair of dumbbells in your hands, seat yourself down on a bench with back and head support. The dumbbells should be resting on your knees.
  • Ensure your upper back makes contact with the back rest and your lower back is not overly rounded.
  • Bracing your core, raise the dumbbells to the sides of your shoulders, one at a time, using your knees to propel the dumbbells up if required.
  • At this starting position, both dumbbells should be by your shoulders with palms facing out.
  • To start the exercise, press up and straighten your arms until the dumbbells touch at the top, exhaling as you do so. Pause.
  • Now slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  • Repeat for the required number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press - Tips & Safety

  • Don’t do this exercise if you experience back or shoulder problems.
  • While a bench with head support isn’t required, it may help to relieve strain on your neck, but may lead to an increased curve of the spine.
  • Ensure that your lower back is kept fairly neutral by bracing your core at all times. This will help prevent any strain and injuries to the lower back.
  • Use of heavier weights may prove difficult to get into the starting position by yourself, so spotter assistance may be required.
  • This exercise is great to discover lagging strength in shoulders for which single arm shoulder presses might be beneficial.
  • Avoid holding the dumbbell with all fingers on one side as it places excess strain on the wrist.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press - Alternatives

  • This exercise can also be performed in a standing position. Less heavy weights should be used with strong concentration on posture.
  • An Arnold Press may also be used to target the same muscles.
  • Barbell Shoulder Presses are another suitable alternative.
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