February 15, 2022 9 min read
The overhead dumbbell press is one of the many exercises that work the arms and shoulder.
If you're trying to build massive shoulders and bigger arms, the overhead dumbbell press belongs in your arm routine.
While it might be considered a relatively simple exercise, keeping correct form during the overhead dumbbell press can be difficult. Mastering this exercise can be beneficial for your upper body strength and mass.
The overhead dumbbell press is one of those exercises that can be done regardless of your fitness level. It doesn't matter if you're trying to get shredded as a beginner or a seasoned athlete.
Dumbbell exercises are great options due to the equal distribution of the weight amongst each arm.
This can save you from developing imbalances and using your stronger side to compensate for the weaker.
Also called the shoulder press, the overhead dumbbell press targets the triceps, shoulders, glutes, traps, and lower back muscles.
The overhead dumbbell press is a major upper-body strength-training exercise that helps to build upper body strength and shoulder stability.
The overhead dumbbell press works the upper body muscles, but primarily targets the shoulders.
The deltoids make up the bulk muscles of the shoulders. It's the main shoulder muscle, and it's divided into three parts or heads: the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, and posterior deltoid.
The deltoid partners with the rotator cuff muscles to aid in shoulder elevation during the overhead dumbbell press. Together, all three parts of the deltoid help to make arm movements possible but separately, they enable finer and more intrinsic movements.
The anterior or frontal deltoid is connected to your collarbone. This part of the deltoid helps to move your arm forward. It is an important part of daily activities that involve lifting boxes or taking things off shelves.
The lateral or side deltoid on the other hand is the middle part of your shoulder. It points out sideways, and unsurprisingly, its objective is to move the arm outward and sideways. It also helps to stabilize your arm when you lift heavy loads.
Lastly, the posterior or rear deltoid, located at the back of the shoulder, helps to extend, externally rotate, horizontally abduct the arms. The posterior deltoid connects to the shoulder blades and helps to move the arms backward.
While each part of the deltoid might serve different functions, together they ensure the mobility and stability of the arms.
There are isolation exercises that target different parts of the deltoid; however, the overhead dumbbell press activates all three parts of the deltoids at once, providing an awesome shoulder workout for a more buffed-up look.
The triceps or triceps brachii is the large muscle on the back of the upper arm. It's split into the medial head, lateral head, and long head. Like the deltoid, each head of the tricep muscle plays a role in elbow extension.
Altogether, all three heads are responsible for extending the arm at the elbow joint. The medial head, which is the smallest part of the tricep, is involved in all forms of low force and forearm extension movements.
The lateral head of the tricep is used in more movements that require higher intensity, precisely movements like the overhead dumbbell press. The long head works with the deltoid and aids the extension and adduction of the arm at the shoulder joint.
All three heads work to stabilize the arms and shoulder, and they're all engaged during the overhead dumbbell press.
To a lesser degree, the overhead press targets the chest. The pectorals make up the bulk of the chest muscles, and other than providing a look of size and contributing to upper body strength, the pecs also help to adduct and rotate the arms.
The overhead press is often used to target the upper pecs, but not a significant amount.
The trapezius muscles are the final major muscle groups that are engaged during the overhead shoulder press. The upper traps run from the base of the neck to the upper back and often receive a larger percentage of the stimulation of the overhead press.
The lower traps are equally stimulated, but to a lesser degree especially in the sitting overhead dumbbell press.
This is a big deal because the traps help with the mobility of the head, neck, arms, shoulders, and torso.
The overhead dumbbell press also helps to hone your core muscles for stability. In the standing overhead dumbbell press, your ab muscles help provide the balance needed to execute the exercise.
When done correctly, your core muscles remain engaged throughout the exercise.
As a plus, your glutes can receive some love from the overhead dumbbell press too, although it might be to a slightly lower degree than the rest of the muscles. The glutes help to stabilize the body when performing this exercise, and it's especially evident when you squeeze your glutes throughout your reps.
Although the overhead dumbbell press might be considered less challenging than its barbell variation due to the smaller weights, it could be considered even more difficult because of the stability required from using dumbbells.
One major problem many gym goers face when performing this exercise is shoulder stability and mobility.
Like in other weighted exercises, shoulder stability and mobility is a big part of overhead movements. Without sufficient strength and motion in your shoulder joint and muscles, you can put yourself at risk for injuries.
The overhead dumbbell raise requires a strict following of the rules and regulations. To get the most of your exercises, target the correct muscle groups, and avoid spraining or tearing a muscle, focus on holding proper form during the overhead press.
How to do the Overhead Dumbbell Press:
The standing on overhead dumbbell press is a higher intensity exercise than the seated dumbbell press. It requires more strength and focus than the seated variation.
To get the most out of your exercise, pair your overhead dumbbell press routine with PRE for active energy, better muscle tolerance, and better mind-body focus.
Unlike its counterpart, the seated dumbbell press does not recruit your core muscles as much.
This is because sitting does not require the degree of balance that standing does so your core and stabilizer muscles are taken out of the equation. Your delts, triceps, traps, and pecs remain engaged throughout the seated overhead dumbbell press.
To do the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press:
The most evident benefit of the overhead dumbbell press is its ability to work major muscle groups of the upper body.
This is a big deal for athletes and bodybuilders alike. In addition to this, the overhead dumbbell press is a splendid exercise for hitting the core and stabilizer muscles.
Some benefits of the overhead dumbbell press include:
Doing the overhead dumbbell press might seem like a piece of cake to the experts but the newbies need all the support they can get. After all, new beginnings start small.
To attain the status of expert in the overhead dumbbell press, you must know how to execute it in perfect form.
Below are some tips to help:
The overhead dumbbell press is a splendid exercise that just might be what's missing in your workout routine. With this exercise, you can train many of the major muscle groups in your upper body while inducing growth and strengthening them along the way. This can be a beneficial way to improve your performance in the gym and achieve your fitness goal faster.
Combine the overhead dumbbell press with our list of best dumbbell exercises for better muscle response.