Using 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 it 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 below where I guide you through the exercise and outline the main technique points of how to do a perfect dumbbell shoulder press.
If you need something to print off and take to the gym as a reminder, the step-by-step exercise technique is further down this page.
How to do a dumbbell shoulder press – Step-by-step technique
- Step 1: 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.
- Step 2: 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.
- Step 3: Breathe in, then as you breathe out, press the bells straight up and squeeze them into the centre, above your head.
- Step 4: Breathe in as you lower the bells back down to shoulder height.
- Step 5: 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 3 sets of 15-20 reps.**
To learn more exercises that you can use in your training, visit our complete exercise library on the Fit Father Project YouTube channel.
The Men's Health Experts @ The Fit Father Project
* We hoped you enjoyed this article. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program and that this is not medical advice – just well-researched info. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this website. Exercise intelligently and safely at your own risk.