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How to Perfect the Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Overhead shoulder presses are a challenging exercise, made to target all the muscles in the shoulder. When doing this exercise while standing, the exercise also engages your core and back stabilization muscles.

    However, you must do them with the correct form to get the full benefits from dumbbell overhead shoulder presses. 

    Therefore, we will explain how to perfect the dumbbell overhead shoulder press.

    How to Perfect the Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

      • Select the dumbbells you want to use for the press.
      • Bring the dumbbells parallel to your shoulders, with your hands facing away from your body.
      • Lift the dumbbells to the roof, focusing on engaging your shoulders.
      • When your arms are straight, lower them down again to complete the repetition. 

    You can do a dumbbell overhead shoulder press in a seated or standing position. These two positions have different benefits, and both are great exercises to add to your fitness routine.

    This article discusses how to perfect the seated and standing dumbbell overhead shoulder press.

    We’ll also discuss some differences between the variations of dumbbell overhead shoulder presses.

    Also, check out these posts for building your shoulders Kettlebell Shoulder Workouts For Strength And Stability and How to Build Bigger Rear Delts (8 Exercises for Faster Gains).

    Check the table below if you are in a hurry to see the best adjustable dumbells to use for your workouts.

     

     

    Step 1: Choose the Dumbbells

    Dumbbell overhead press Choose the Dumbbells

    Before explaining some variations, let’s first look at some muscles worked when doing a dumbbell overhead shoulder press.

    The main muscles worked when doing this exercise are:

      • Deltoids
      • Triceps
      • Traps (trapezius muscles)
      • Pectorals
      • Core muscles
      • Back stabilization muscles

    See more on building these specific muscles in our posts How To Build Bigger TrapsOveractive Traps, and Best Shoulder Workouts to Get Bigger Delts.

    Although the different variations of a dumbbell overhead press sometimes also engage other muscle groups, these are the primary muscles worked during this exercise.

    For example, when doing seated dumbbell overhead shoulder presses, your core and back stabilizers are not engaged, meaning the exercise is more isolated to the shoulders. 

    Now that you know what muscles are activated and used when doing a dumbbell overhead shoulder press, we can discuss the steps for doing a perfect dumbbell overhead shoulder press as explained by Masterclass. 

    Choosing the correct dumbbells is essential to completing a proper dumbbell overhead shoulder press.

    Some variations of this exercise, such as the seated dumbbell overhead shoulder press, allow you to use heavier weights because the movement is more isolated. 

    However, don’t use weights that are too heavy, as you could get injured and won’t be able to do the full movement if the dumbbells are too heavy.

    Rather begin with lighter dumbbells and work your way up as you get stronger. 

    Here are our top three adjustable dumbells that are great for these workouts.

    Preview
    Best Quality
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Best Plates
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Best Connector Options
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Up to 25 pounds
    Up to 50 pounds
    Best Quality
    Preview
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Plates
    Preview
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Product Name
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 25 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Connector Options
    Preview
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 50 pounds
    Interested?

     

    Step 2: Setting up to Do a Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Setting up to Do a Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Before doing the dumbbell overhead shoulder press, you must set it up correctly. Take one dumbbell in each hand.

    Ensure you have an overhand grip on the dumbbells. An overhead grip lets your knuckles point towards the sky when the dumbbells are in position.

    Place the dumbbells next to your shoulders, with the weights level with your shoulders and your palms facing forward.

    Keep your wrists strong during the exercise. When doing a seated dumbbell overhead shoulder press, set up a bench with the back support at a ninety-degree angle. 

    When doing a standing dumbbell overhead press, stand up straight and engage your core muscles to help you stabilize. 

     

    Step 3: Doing a Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Doing a Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Finally, you are ready to do the exercise. Lift the dumbbells from your shoulders into the air until your arms are straight.

    Do this movement slowly and in a controlled manner.

    The slower you lift the weights, the more time your muscles are under tension and the more benefits for you. Exhale while pressing the dumbbells up.

    Be careful not to let your wrists twist or bend when pushing the dumbbells upwards. Keep a strong forearm while doing this exercise.

    Don’t hit the dumbbells together when you reach the top of the dumbbell press. Instead, aim to push the dumbbells in a straight line, remaining shoulder-width apart for the entire press. 

    Pause when your arms are straight before lowering the dumbbells to your shoulder level.

    Again, do this in a controlled way for maximum muscle engagement. Inhale while lowering the dumbbells.

    You have completed one repetition when the dumbbells are back at their starting position.

    Do as many repetitions as your program requires or as many as you can manage with a certain weight. 

     

    How Many Repetitions Should You Ideally Do?

    Dumbbell Overhead Press How Many Repetitions Should You Ideally Do new

    Now that you know how to do a dumbbell overhead shoulder press, we can discuss how many you should do.

    Suppose you are training according to a specific program. In that case, that program should tell you how many sets and repetitions should you should do. 

    However, when preparing a training program for personal use, the sets and repetitions of dumbbell overhead shoulder presses depend on your goals.

    Verywellfit recommends the following: If you aim to gain bulk muscle and become bigger, you will do fewer repetitions using heavier weights. 

    On the contrary, you will do more repetitions with lighter dumbbells if you aim to improve muscle endurance and lose fat.

    To make the exercise more effective, do the press and lowering parts slowly to increase your muscles’ time under tension and work in a single repetition. 

    But if you want to improve your agility and speed, follow the steps below to do a dumbbell overhead shoulder press.

    Push the weights up as fast as possible while remaining in control and keeping proper form. Then, lower the dumbbells slowly. 

    There are various ways of doing the same exercise while working on different skills and goals.

    However, as we have mentioned, there are a few dumbbell overhead shoulder press variations. 

     

    Variations of the Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press

    Variations of the dumbbell overhead press

    The dumbbell overhead shoulder press variations all use dumbbells and involve the same basic movements.

    However, they focus on different skills and target different muscles. Practicing various shoulder press exercises will help you define your shoulder muscles and increase their strength. 

    Coachmag recommends these dumbbell overhead shoulder press variations if you feel stuck with your shoulder and chest routine or want to improve your results. 

      • Seated dumbbell shoulder press. When doing the seated variation, your core and back stabilizer muscles aren’t as engaged, and the deltoid, trapezius, and pectoral muscles are doing the most work.
      • Dumbbell push press. This press is a standing exercise and allows you to work on your explosive movements. Bend your knees and as you straighten them, push the dumbbells up as quickly as you can.
      • Hammer shoulder press. For this variation, your palms face each other on either side of your shoulders. This variation targets other muscles and is gentler on your shoulder joints.
      • Dumbbell thrusters. This exercise involves squatting before pushing the dumbbells up for the shoulder press. The Dumbbell thrusters are a challenging compound exercise and a great way to target more muscles simultaneously. 

     

    Conclusion

    Dumbbell overhead shoulder presses are a great exercise to improve muscle endurance and strength. We discussed how to perfect the dumbbell overhead shoulder press in this article.

    There are many variations of the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and many ways of doing each variation to alter the focus of the exercise or improve the results.

    By following the steps we discussed, you can do dumbbell overhead shoulder presses with proper form, maximizing your result and preventing injury.

    If you enjoyed this, check out the posts below for more tips.

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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