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How to Explode your Shoulder Strength and Conditioning with the Dumbbell Push Press

Take your pressing power and shoulder strength to the next level.

This extensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Dumbbell Push Press.

What is the Dumbbell Push Press?

The Dumbbell Push Press is a power developing shoulder exercise that involves using force from the legs, core, shoulders and arms to propel two dumbbells to full extension overhead.

What Muscles Does the Dumbbell Push Press Work?

The exercise is, in essence, made up from a partial Squat and a Dumbbell Overhead Press. As such it works many different muscle groups at the same time which is great news for your muscle building, strength and fitness goals.


As a shoulder exercise the movement works the deltoids hard in order to press the weights overhead.

The delts cause flexion and rotation of the shoulder joints.

If you minimise the leg drive and lift weights that are heavy for you then you will maximise the impact (and associated gains) on the delts.


This neck, back and shoulder muscle group is also used to stabilise and lift the dumbbells.


The largest muscles in the human body are the most important for the partial Squat portion of the exercise.

athlete performs glutes and legs workout types of squats

They work to flex the hips and explode the upper body and dumbbells upwards.


These large muscles on the backs of your legs bend the knees as you dip, and work in tandem with the glutes to extend the hips on the way up.


The thigh muscles stabilize the knees as you squat and work to extend them when you come up.


During the movement, the spinal erectors, obliques and abs work together to protect the spine, generate force and balance the weight through the full range of motion.


The triceps are vital for locking the dumbbells overhead at the top of the movement.

What are the Benefits of the Dumbbell Push Press?

There are many reasons why you should include the Dumbbell Push Press in your training and workouts.

Increased Power

The exercise is an excellent way to help you learn how to generate power through your entire body.

Source: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Better Conditioning

The exercise is often found in CrossFit and functional fitness workouts, and for good reason. It is an excellent way to take your physical conditioning to the next level.

Improved Shoulder Stabilisation

The movement requires a great deal of work from the shoulders. This helps them to grow stronger, more resilient and more capable.

How to Do the Dumbbell Push Press

Use the following instructions to complete the exercise with correct form.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Grip a dumbbell in each hand
  • In one fluid movement, clean the dumbbells up onto your shoulders. Point the elbows directly forwards
  • Inhale and brace the core, glutes and grip
  • Bend the knees and drop the torso downwards
  • Explode upwards with a huge drive from your legs. Push through the heels
  • Feel the force move through the body. Once your legs extend, pass this momentum through the torso and shoulders into the arms
  • Press out the dumbbells to full extension by using the triceps to press out the arms
  • Exhale
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Training Tips

Make sure you keep the torso upright at all times. Try not to tip forwards or backwards.

Practice with light dumbbells so that you can perfect the right time to move from the push of the legs to the press of the arms.


If you want to alter the exercise and try something new, add these variations into your workouts.

  • Kettlebell Push Press
  • Barbell Push Press
  • Med Ball Push Press


These alternatives will provide similar stimuli in slightly different ways.

  • Wall Ball Shot
  • Thruster
  • Man Maker
  • Dumbbell Snatch
  • Kettlebell Snatch

Learn More

Add Nordic Curls or the Reverse Hyperextension into your training.

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