Dumbbell presses are versatile exercises. You can do them standing up, seated or lying on a weight bench or a stability ball. The dumbbells used can be heavy or light. Women generally use 5- to 8-pound dumbbells, while men can use a heavier weight. No matter what option you choose, all dumbbell presses work out the shoulder and arm muscles. A standard press uses both arms at the same time, while an alternating press uses one arm at a time.
Lie on your back on a weight bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the side of your chest. Lift both dumbbells straight up until your arms are fully extended, then lower your arms back to the starting position for a basic dumbbell press. Alternate presses by lifting one arm at a time, keeping the other dumbbell at your shoulder. Raise the second dumbbell as you lower the first.
Vary the routine for either standard or alternating presses by setting the weight bench back at an incline -- about 30 degrees -- or resting your shoulders on a stability ball. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent if using a stability ball. Press the dumbbells up together for a standard press, raise one arm and lower the other to alternate arm presses.
Inhale as you start the press, whether standard or alternating, and exhale as you lift. Pause momentarily at the top of a standard press. Do not pause at the top with an alternate press, but start lowering one dumbbell as you begin lifting the other. Keep your back flat and straight at all times with either press. Stand erect or sit upright on a bench for other variations of either dumbbell press.
- Switch between standard and alternate dumbbell presses to vary your workout routine. Do standard presses one day, then alternate the next, or do one set of standard, then one of alternating.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.