Exercise: Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press : Strength & Conditioning Journal

Journal Logo

OTHER FEATURES: Exercise Techniques

Exercise: Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press

Graham, John F MS, CSCS*D, FNSCA

Author Information
Strength and Conditioning Journal 30(3):p 54-55, June 2008. | DOI: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3181775709
  • Free

Abstract

FU1-11
Figure:
John F. Graham, MS, CSCS*D, FNSCAColumn Editor

TYPE OF EXERCISE

Upper body and multijoint.

MUSCLES USED

Deltoid (anterior and medial), trapezius (upper portion), serratus anterior, triceps brachii.

STARTING POSITION

  • Select two dumbbells of equal weight with a closed grip.
  • Place the dumbbells on the floor next to the lower end of an adjustable bench.
  • Adjust the bench such that the upper end of the bench is set at a 90° upward angle and the base of the bench is parallel to the floor to prevent the exerciser from sliding.
  • Lift the dumbbells up from the floor by using the legs.
  • Align the dumbbells such that the end closest to the little finger is against the front of the thighs (hands are facing in and handles are parallel to each other).
  • Sit down on the lower end of the adjustable bench with the dumbbells resting on the top of the thighs.
  • Lift the dumbbells into their starting position by quickly flexing the hip one hip at a time to use the thigh to help raise the dumbbells to shoulder level.
  • Position the feet flat on the floor and the head, shoulders and buttocks evenly and firmly on the bench.
  • Dumbbells should be rotated to place the thumb side of the dumbbell against the outside of the shoulder such that both handles are in line with one another; simulate a barbell running through both dumbbell handles.
  • Each repetition will begin from this same position.

ASCENT (UPWARD MOTION)

  • Press the dumbbells upward and together with control.
  • Keep the head, body, and feet in their original position.
  • Do not arch the lower back.
  • The wrists should remain firm and straight, the forearms almost perpendicular to the floor and the hands aligned with each other.
  • Do not allow the dumbbells to move out of control as they are being raised.
  • Press the dumbbells upward until the elbows are fully extended, but not locked.
  • Bring the dumbbells together with control at the completion of the movement directly above the middle of the head; do not bang the dumbbells together.
  • Exhale as the dumbbells are lifted past the sticking point.

DESCENT (DOWNWARD MOTION)

  • Lower and separate the dumbbells with control toward the outer shoulder.
  • To maintain a stable position on the bench, lower both dumbbells at the same rate.
  • Keep the wrists firm and straight, the forearms almost perpendicular to the floor and the hands aligned with each other.
  • Avoid movements forward and backward or side-to-side.
  • Lower the dumbbells to a outer portion of the shoulder such that both handles are in line with one another; where a barbell would touch the upper shoulders.
  • Dumbbells should not be bounced off the shoulder at the bottom position.
  • Avoid arching the back. Maintain a stable position with the feet flat on the floor and the head, shoulders and buttocks evenly and firmly on the bench.
  • Inhale as the dumbbells are lowered.

COMPLETION OF THE SET

After lowering the dumbbells to the outer shoulder on the last repetition, rotate the dumbbells towards the midline of the body and lower them to the thigh. Return the dumbbells to the dumbbell rack or floor by standing and using the legs.

SPOTTING TECHNIQUE

The Shoulder Press Dumbbell Exercise requires one spotter positioned directly behind the lifter. The spotter should spot the client's wrists close to the dumbbells, not the upper arms or elbows. Spotting at the upper arms or elbows may potentially lead to injury to the lifter or spotter if the elbow's quickly collapse while the spotter is lifting the upper arms or elbows. The injury risk is due to an inability of the spotter to prevent the dumbbells from landing on either the lifter or spotter.▪

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association