Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press (Shoulders)

The seated dumbbell overhead press is a compound movement which builds muscle and strength in the anterior deltoids, or front deltoids. It’s a very effective free weight movement and by using dumbbells you develop stabilizer muscles and unilateral (Affecting each side) strength as a result.

The benefits make this exercise an ideal choice and anyone at any level of training can do it safely for muscle and strength building gains. But, if you’re a beginner it’s highly recommended to start light and practice good form as there is an element of risk associated with this movement if not careful to maintain proper form.

But, the seated dumbbell overhead press is a must for maximum shoulder development.

In This Exercise:

  • Target Muscle Group: Anterior Deltoid
  • Type: Strength
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Instructions

  1. Place the bottom of each dumbbell on your thighs while seated.
  2. Then, kick each dumbbell upward one at a time until your holding them in the bottom of the pressing position with upper arms parallel to the floor.
  3. Now, press both dumbbells upward but do not lock out your elbows. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  5. Repeat the exercise for the ideal number of reps to complete the set.

Variations & Tips:

  • You can also use a barbell to use the maximum amount of resistance.
  • Try different hand positions to stimulate the muscles from a different angle.
  • During the negative, only lower your upper arms until parallel to the floor. This keeps your shoulders in a safer position.
  • Beginners should start light and work their way up as they become more experienced with the overhead press.
  • The seated dumbbell overhead press is a very effective compound exercise for developing the shoulders.

Watch: How to do the seated dumbbell overhead press


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