The Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press is a very close variation to the Overhead Press which allows for a more natural range of motion of the shoulders.
Given that the weight is not fixed by a barbell, your shoulders are free to rotate throughout the movement. You will not be able to lift as much weight with this exercise compared to the Overhead Press.
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STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS FORM VIDEO
BENEFITS OF THE STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
- Teaches stable shoulder position when reaching overhead
- Improves mobility in the shoulder joint by allowing the shoulders to rotate freely without the restriction of a barbell
- Encourages strength development of all three heads of the shoulder muscles, triceps, while teaching core stability
MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
- Anterior and Medial Deltoid
PERFORMING THE STANDING DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
- Grab two dumbbells and hold them in your outstretched arms alongside your body
- From this position, you will ‘clean’ the dumbbells onto your shoulders. Use controlled momentum to get them into the starting position
- Set your stance just outside of shoulder width
- Begin the movement by taking a big breath, holding it in and squeezing your glute muscles
- Start pressing the dumbbells overhead, keeping your elbows in a straight trajectory
- Press the weights directly overhead in as straight a line as possible, it is not necessary to touch the dumbbells at the top of the movement
- It is unnecessary to rotate the dumbbells excessively
- Reverse the movement by lowering the dumbbells back down in contact with your shoulders
PRESSING THE WEIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR BODY
- Not pressing the dumbbells directly over your mid-line places your shoulder joints in a compromised position and it does not adequately train all three shoulder heads
- Do your best to press the weight directly over your head
EXCESSIVELY ARCHING THE BACK TO INITIATE THE MOVEMENT
- This technical issue usually occurs when the weight is too heavy
- Arching your back places a large strain on the lumbar spine increasing the risk of injury
- Maintain your glutes squeezed, and your abdominal muscles braced throughout the movement
NOT PERFORMING A FULL RANGE OF MOTION
- Bring the dumbbells all the way down back to your anterior shoulders to activate all of the motor units of this large muscle group
HOW CAN I INTEGRATE THE DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS INTO MY TRAINING?
Check out The WCT Best Workout Template For Busy Professionals to find a simple way to add the dumbbell overhead press and other great exercises into your routine.
STANDING DUMBBELL OVER HEAD PRESS ALTERNATIVES
Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM Certified Personal Trainers, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a resource dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals using time-efficient strategies. Their advice has been featured in My Fitness Pal, Prevention, Livestrong, Reader’s Digest, Bustle, The Active Times, and more. Learn more about them here.