Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press Overview

The standing dumbbell shoulder press is a variation of the seated dumbbell shoulder press and is used to strengthen the muscles of the shoulders.

The overhead press is a foundational movement for establishing baseline strength and building a completely balanced physique.

Utilizing dumbbells as opposed to performing with a barbell will allow the individual to strengthen each side of the muscle equally.

The exercise can be included in shoulder workouts, push workouts, upper body workouts, and full body workouts.

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press Instructions

  2. Set up for the exercise by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and standing up with your feet around shoulder width apart.
  3. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height on each side, and rotate your palms so they are facing forward. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  4. Take a deep breath then press the dumbbells overhead by extending the elbows and contracting the deltoids.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position (the arms should be roughly 90 degrees or slightly lower depending upon limb lengths).
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press Tips

  • Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively.
  • Drive the bicep to the ear and exhale as you press.
  • If you sense any pressure in your neck or traps during the movement, look to address a lack of thoracic spine extension or shoulder flexion.
  • Keeping the elbows slightly bent at the top and not locking out entirely will help to keep tension on the shoulders.
  • If you can’t lock out the elbows overhead then it may indicate a lack of shoulder mobility due to poor scapular upward rotation.
  • If you need lower back support, try modifying the movement by doing a seated dumbbell press.
Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2022 - 07:53

I do these in my basement where I have a low ceiling. Is this still effective to do while on my knees?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 20:54

Yep, and your core will benefit as well since you have to maintain stability.

Charlie Jones
Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2021 - 07:21

bring back the old diagram

Posted on: Thu, 07/16/2020 - 02:57

When i do this, i can feel a weird sort of pain/discomfort in my side on the right in the lung sort of area. What am i doing wrong?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 16:04

Hey Jacob

Make sure your posture is correct when performing these. If you're leaning to one side or the other or arching your back that could be what's creating your discomfort.

Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2020 - 10:11

Is there a difference if I hold the dumbbells the way they are in the video (sideways I guess you could say) or rotating them so the ends of the dumbbells are facing forward. I have seen it done both ways.

Susan Z
Posted on: Sun, 10/02/2016 - 12:28

How many reps/sets is recommended?

Posted on: Mon, 07/01/2013 - 06:42

what is difference between siting dumbbell press and standing dumbbell press

Frank Reyes
Posted on: Thu, 11/28/2019 - 07:50

One is seated while the other is a standing position. The difference is in the name.

Scott Snow
Posted on: Thu, 03/26/2020 - 20:50

I would say that is true but also when seated your isolating your shoulders and when you stand you have to engage your core. Your working more when you stand.

Posted on: Tue, 04/10/2012 - 16:15

i find pressing with my palms facing my ears take stress off the rotator cuff,also pressing from a legs split positon like an olympic lifter after a clean and jerk move takes stress off the lower back