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 Press Instructions

  1. The standing dumbbell press is one of the most popular mass builders for the shoulders! Set up for the exercise by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and standing straight up with your feet around shoulder width apart.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height on each side, and twist so that your palms are facing forward.
  3. Keep your head up and eyes facing forward. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  4. Slowly raise the dumbbells above your head until your arms are almost fully extended.
  5. Do not pause at the top of the movement, and immediately begin lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position.  
  6. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of reps.

Exercise Tips:

  1. The standing dumbbell press is a solid mass building compound movement that can add serious mass when using heavy weights WITH correct form. Many lifters let the form go and add weight too quickly. This will at times result in an injury and could hinder your shoulder gains.
  2. Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  3. If you have lower back issues, it is best to perform this exercise seated - with your back flat against a back rest.
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