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Shoulders Workout (4) – Dumbbell Shoulder Press

May 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments ·


Shoulders are one of the most noticeable body parts as they actually add width to your upper body.  With broad shoulders, you will have an impressive physique, especially guys who train for V shape.

Shoulder press works on the front of your shoulders (anterior).  It also works your triceps.




  1. For beginners, sit on a bench with back support.  Keep your abdominal muscles tight and back straight.  Plant your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Choose a light weight.  I want you to get the form correct before you go for heavy weight.  Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height.  Your upper arms parallel to the floor and elbow bent at about 90 degrees.
  3. Take a firm grip of the dumbbells with palms facing outward.
  4. Next, push the dumbbells over your head until your arms are almost completely extended and the dumbbells are touching.  However, at the top of the movement, do not lock your elbows.  Ensure that the dumbbells are straight above your head and arms are in line with your ears.  Some people have the tendency to push the arms outward thereby taking some load of the shoulders.  Make sure the dumbbells are directly overhead.
  5. Now, slowly lower your dumbbells back to their original position with a controlled smooth motion.  Do not just drop the weight in a fast manner.  The lowering movement is the one which will challenge your shoulder muscles.
  6. Do 8 to 12 repetitions each set for 3 sets.




  • Do not swing the dumbbells.  Control your movement.
  • If the bench is tall enough, keep your head against the back rest.
  • Once you are familiar with the exercise, instead of seated with back support, go for seated without back support before progressing to standing.  This gradual change will train your stabilizer muscles to be stronger.  Do not be surprised that you may not be able to lift as heavy as you used to when you do the shoulder press while standing.  When you do it in a standing position, keep your abs and lower back tight to support your spine. Make sure you have a balanced stance with your knees slightly bent.


  • With or without back support, do not arch your back.  If you arch your back, you are actually using your lower back to take much of the load which is very dangerous.
  • For variation, you can hold the dumbbells with palms facing each other.



Category: Shoulders

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3 responses so far ↓
  • Alexandre Hamelin // May 4, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    This exercise is one of the best for shoulders but do not over do it. As said in the post, form is really important. Form, intenisty. That is what you should train in order.

    If you want to go an intensity higher, do headstand pushup.


  • iamyuanwu // May 8, 2009 at 9:25 PM

    A good technique to prevent over-arching the back is to squeeze/tighten/flex the glutes (buttocks).

    There is simply no way you could over arch the back when you do it.
    And it keeps the hips stable, which will help you lift more.

  • Ben // May 15, 2009 at 2:35 PM

    This is one of the best shoulder builders out there, as the above commenters have mentioned, form is vital. Bookmarking your site now, great find!

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