Seated dumbbell overhead press exercise

Seated dumbbell overhead press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists: Lateral Deltoid, Triceps Brachii, Clavicular (upper) Pectoralis Major, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior, Supraspinatus
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, sit up straight on a bench or chair, preferably one that supports your back.
  2. Raise the dumbbells one at a time to each side, and hold them at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward.


  1. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward and inward until they almost touch over your head.
  2. At the top of the movement, shrug your shoulders to raise the dumbbells even higher.
  3. Inhale as you reverse the motions and lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back straight.
  • For optimal back support, make sure your lower back is in constant contact with the back of the chair.
  • To raise heavy dumbbells into position, rest them on your knees and then kick them up into position one at a time.
  • Do not lock your elbows out at the top of the press. This will safeguard your elbows as well as keep the tension on your shoulders.
  • The seated position reduces your ability to cheat.
  • The seated dumbbell overhead press is also known as the seated dumbbell shoulder press.
  • Occasionally, perform the seated dumbbell overhead press with one arm at a time, as it will get more core stabilizer muscles involved and help you to develop unilateral strength.
  • See also the seated neutral-grip dumbbell overhead press, the seated elbows-in alternating dumbbell overhead press, and the standing wide-grip barbell overhead press.

Seated dumbbell overhead press video


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