Dumbbell Shoulder Press: Muscles Worked & Technique

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

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lift them up to the starting position at your shoulders.
  • Inhale and lightly brace your core.
  • Press the dumbbells up to straight arms, while exhaling.
  • Inhale at the top, or while lowering the dumbbells with control back to your shoulders.
  • 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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