How to Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press: Muscles Worked & Proper Form

Dumbbell Shoulder Press exercise technique

Muscles Worked in the Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Muscles worked in dumbbell shoulder press exercise

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lift them up to the starting position at your shoulders.
  2. Inhale and lightly brace your core.
  3. Press the dumbbells up to straight arms, while exhaling.
  4. Inhale at the top, or while lowering the dumbbells with control back to your shoulders.
  5. Repeat for reps.


The dumbbell shoulder press is a variant of the barbell overhead press. The dumbbells increase the demand for shoulder stability, and can also enable a longer range of motion. With dumbbells, you might also be able to move your arms more to your sides compared to a barbell, which can emphasize the training effect of the medial deltoids.

This exercise can be done both standing and sitting, with one or two arms at a time. By standing up and using one arm at a time, you can increase the muscle activation of the obliques.

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