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Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Blast Your Deltoid and Trapezius Muscles in your Next Shoulder Workout Routine

Welcome to our Dumbbell Shoulder Press Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you'll learn how to do this shoulders exercise using the correct technique. Below you'll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Routines.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this deltoid and trapezius exercise made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name:Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Main Muscle:Deltoid
Secondary Muscle(s):Trapezius, Chest, Triceps
Exercise Type:Compound, Push
Equipment Required:Dumbbells, Bench

Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulders exercise is one of our dumbbell exercises and is a variation of a staple, the Seated Military Press.  Here you'll press from a seated position to target your deltoid and trapezius muscles, secondarily working your pectorals and triceps. 

dumbbell shoulder press
dumbbell shoulder press

To Perform This Exercise:

  1. While sitting on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand on top of your thighs.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height one at a time by kicking upwards with your thighs to create momentum and move the weights into position. As you raise the dumbbells, make sure to rotate your wrists so your palms are facing forward. This is your starting position.
  3. To begin the lift, exhale and push the dumbbells upwards until your arms are fully extended. At the top of the repetition, try to bring the dumbbells as close as you can without them actually touching.
  4. Pause for a moment, then inhale and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. The exercise is pictured on a flat bench, but a short-backed bench or military press bench may be preferred. Back support will allow you to use more weight but does not engage the back stabilizer muscles.
  2. Complete the exercise in a slow and controlled manner. Use a very light amount of weight until you are comfortable with the lift.
  3. Focus on keeping your back straight and squeezing your traps at the top of the lift.

Now that you've seen the Dumbbell Shoulder Press, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises. Or, view some of our most popular shoulder exercises and other related pages below.


Most Popular Deltoid and Trapezius Exercises:

Check out some of our other popular Shoulder Exercises and Variations:


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