Seated neutral-grip dumbbell overhead press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists: Lateral Deltoid, Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Triceps Brachii, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior
  • Dynamic stabilizers (not highlighted): Biceps Brachii (short head only), Triceps Brachii (long head)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a bench or chair and place the dumbbells on your knees.
  2. Kick the dumbbells up with your knees, one at a time, and position them in front of your shoulders, with your elbows tucked into your body. Your elbows should be directly below your wrists and your palms should be facing each other (i.e. neutral or parallel grip).


  1. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward, over your head, until your arms are almost fully extended.
  2. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back and neck neutral.
  • Do not lock out your elbows.
  • Using the neutral grip and keeping your elbows tucked into your body puts less pressure on the shoulder joints, making this variation of the overhead press more suitable for those who suffer from shoulder pain.
  • The seated position prevents cheating by ensuring that your body is kept still.

Seated neutral-grip dumbbell overhead press video


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