Seated dumbbell one-arm shoulder press exercise

Seated dumbbell one-arm shoulder press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists: Lateral Deltoid, Supraspinatus, Triceps Brachii, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior, Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Obliques, Psoas Major, Iliocastalis Lumborum, Iliocastalis Thoracis
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a dumbbell in one hand, sit on a bench or chair, with your torso upright.
  2. Hold on to your waist with your free hand or place it on your lap.
  3. Raise the dumbbell to the side of your shoulder. Your elbow should be directly out to your side, pointing downward, and your palm should be facing forward.


  1. Keeping your torso upright, exhale as you press the dumbbell straight upward.
  2. Shrug your shoulder at the top of the movement in order to raise the dumbbell even higher.
  3. Inhale as you lower the dumbbell to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  5. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.

Comments and tips

  • The seated dumbbell one-arm shoulder press is brilliant for developing unilateral upper-body strength. Sitting down allows you to better isolate your shoulders since it takes your legs out of the equation, reducing your potential to cheat.
  • Since you are only using one arm, the seated dumbbell one-arm shoulder press also forces the recruitment of stabilizer muscles in the core.
  • Engage your core and keep your head facing forward; don’t look up.
  • When pressing the dumbbell upward, you may lean a little to the opposite side. Otherwise, keep your torso upright.
  • Do not lock your elbow out at the top of the press.
  • In vertical pushing exercises, the anterior deltoid is always targeted. However, the involvement of other upper-body muscles will depend on the position of the elbow. Having your elbow directly to the side will combine shoulder abduction and elbow extension, keeping your upper pectoralis major and the short head of your biceps brachii from being synergistically activated. This allows you to further isolate your shoulder muscles, specifically the anterior deltoid.
  • See also the band shoulder press, the seated Smith machine behind-the-neck shoulder press, the seated barbell shoulder press, and the dumbbell one-arm shoulder press.

Seated dumbbell one-arm shoulder press video


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