Dumbbell Shoulder Press with Hunter Labrada | Exercise Guide


My favorite compound motion for shoulders is the dumbbell shoulder press. However, I feel a lot of people do it wrong, and subsequently don’t receive the full benefit of this awesome exercise.

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I am a big proponent of performing these on an adjustable bench that supports your head, with the bench set one hole shy of 90 degrees. The are several reasons I prefer this to the bench that is actually made for shoulder pressing, which is a bench with a 90 degree angle and a back pad that stops at the middle of your back.

If the back support stops at the middle of your back, the tendency is for lifters to have a big arch in their back. This gets their upper pecs and anterior deltoids more involved than they should be. Using a bench with a back support that goes past the head fixes this problem.

Second, when pressing dumbbells—or a barbell, for that matter—seated, the point of pressure that you push from should be your shoulder blades and lower traps, not the back of your head, like I see a lot of people do. By keeping the point of pressure in the correct spot, and your head slightly off the bench, you are positioning your body in a way that is optimal to use mainly your medial delts, which should be the area of focus when performing this exercise.

For the best contraction, push your back into the bench as hard as possible. Doing so will provide the most stable pressing platform and allow for the hardest contraction, while taking out the ability to overuse your upper chest and anterior deltoids.

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