Dumbbell Shoulder Press: The Techniques, Variations, and Benefits of This Killer Strength Workout

Written by: Stuart Carter,

Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1
C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Written by: Stuart Carter,

Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1
C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

dumbbell shoulder press
The kettlebell or dumbbell shoulder press is a great exercise for building overall strength and size in your shoulders, as well as working your core and abs to hold a strong upright position throughout.

dumbbell shoulder pressUsing dumbbells or kettlebells to perform the shoulder press works the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders and upper arms, which helps with functional strength and helps to avoid injury.

It is preferable to use either dumbbells or kettlebells, rather than a barbell, as it gives you a broader flexibility of movement and is not so restrictive.

Restriction of movement is harsh on your shoulder joint and can lead to injury.

You should keep your belly button pulled back to engage your underlying core muscles and brace your abs while you perform the exercise to hold yourself in a strong position with your spine in neutral alignment.

Take a look at our video tutorial and step-by-step guide below, where I guide you through the exercise and outline the main technique points of how to do a perfect dumbbell shoulder press.

Learn more about the difference between the kettlebell and dumbbell shoulder press — and how to do them correctly.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press: A Step-By-Step Guide

    • Stand in a strong athletic stance, with the dumbbells/kettlebells at the side of your feet, making sure your feet are just past shoulder width apart, your back is in neutral alignment, and your core is tight.
    • Bending your knees, and keeping your back straight, lower down to pick up the dumbbells/kettlebells. Stand back upright and curl the bells up, then twist your hands so your palms face outward, and the bells rest on your shoulders.
    • Breathe in, then as you breathe out, press the bells straight up and squeeze them into the center, above your head.
    • Breathe in as you lower the bells back down to shoulder height.
    • Complete the prescribed number of reps, then bending your knees and keeping your back straight, lower the bells back to the floor.

Pro Tip: We recommend starting with 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Want more? To learn more exercises that you can use in your training, visit our complete exercise library on the Fit Father Project YouTube Channel.

Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1
C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Stuart gained his Diploma in Personal Training & Sports Medicine through Premier Global, back in 2001. In 2018, he completed his Level 1 Precision Nutrition qualification.

Throughout his career in Fitness, Stuart has trained hundreds of clients, worked in almost every position in the industry, and ran his own successful training studio.

After a hiatus away from the Fitness industry, working in Corporate Management and Finance, Stuart returned to what he loves… Fitness! This return led to a chance meeting with Dr. Balduzzi, and a place in the Fit Father Project team.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the kettlebell or dumbbell shoulder press.

Written by: Stuart Carter,

Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1
C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

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