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Dumbbell Overhead Press: What is it, How to do, Benefits

The dumbbell overhead press is an effective weight training exercise performed by pressing a pair of dumbbells straight upwards until your arms are in a locked out position. It is an excellent muscle and strength builder for your core and upper body. It is challenging for any gym trainee and should be included as a foundational lifting exercise in their workout routine.

Dumbbell Overhead Press Benefits

  • It is one of the simplest exercises used for the development of upper back, shoulders, and triceps.
  • This form of overhead press can be performed as main lifts or as assistance lifts throughout your upper body training session.
  • The standing variation, aside from targeting your arms and shoulders, strengthens your hips and helps improve stability through your legs.

Dumbbell Overhead Press Exercise Information

Other Names Overhead Dumbbell Press, Overhead Press with Dumbbells
Exercise Type Strength
Skill Level Beginner, intermediate
Equipment Needed Dumbbells
Muscles Worked Primary: Shoulders; Secondary: Deltoids, traps, triceps, abs
Mechanics Compound
Force Type Push
Alternative/Substitute Exercises Barbell Shoulder Press, Machine Shoulder Press
Variations Arnold Dumbbell Press

How to do Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

  • Raise the back support of a utility bench to vertical and assume a seated position with a pair of dumbbells in your hand and your back against the support.
  • Lift the dumbbells up to the level of your shoulder, propelling the weights into position with your thighs. Make sure your palms are facing forward. It is your initial position.
  • Exhale and press the dumbbells straight overhead.
  • After pausing a second at the top, gradually bring the dumbbells back to your starting position.
  • Do the desired number of repetitions.
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

How to do Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your back straight, knees slightly bent, and feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure the dumbbells are held just outside the shoulders and the palms face each other. It is your initial position.
  • Lift both the dumbbells up so that the weights are over your head and the arms are straight.
  • Pause for a second or two before lowering the weights back to your original position.
  • Repeat the steps for the required amount of reps.
Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press

How to do Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Press (Single Dumbbell Press)

  • Grabbing a pair of dumbbells in your hand, stand up straight with your feet placed at shoulder-width.
  • Push the dumbbell in your left hand to raise it to your shoulder height while keeping the other hand fully extended to your side. Rotate the wrist to make sure that your palm is facing forward, which will be your initial position.
  • Press the dumbbell overhead until the arm is completely extended.
  • Pausing for a second, bring the weight down back to your starting position.
  • Perform the recommended number of repetitions.
Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Press

Dumbbell Overhead Press Tips

  • Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.
  • When pressing the weights up in the standing position, keep the shoulder blades placed back and down for improving shoulder stability.
  • Do not arch your back while pushing the weights up.
  • Brace your core and maintain the contraction throughout the exercise.

Video: Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press

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