Dumbbell Shoulder Press

An essential isolation exercise for building shoulder size and strength in bodybuilding and weight training.

Primary Muscle Shoulders
Secondary Muscle(s) Triceps
Difficulty Intermediate
Also known as Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Overhead Press
Equipment Dumbbells, Bench
Short Code DBSP

How to do the dumbbell shoulder press

The starting position:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a weight bench.
  2. Feet should be flat on the floor. 
  3. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. The palms of the hands should be facing forwards.
The execution:
  1. Push the dumbbells upward until the arms are fully extended above the head. Exhale throughout the exercise. 
  2. Pause for a second before slowly lowering the weights back down to the starting position. Inhale during the descent. 
  3. Repeat for required reps. 


  • This exercise can be performed in a standing or seated position (with or without a back rest).
  • If you're using heavy dumbbells you might need some help mouting the dumbbells into the starting position. Begin with the weights resting on the thighs, and use them to help propel the weights up into the starting hold.

Related exercises

  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Arnold Press - Named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, there is a slight change in the hand positioning compared to the original shoulder press. The hands start by facing your body and as you press upward you twist the dumbbells so that the top of the movement has the palms facing away from you.


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.