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.
Items you will need
- Weight bench or stability ball
- 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.
- Muscle & Strength: Alternate Standing Dumbbell Press
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Dumbbell Press
- American Council on Exercise: Seated Dumbbell Press
- Core Performance: Bench Press - Alternating Dumbbell
- Health magazine: Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Bench Press
- Fitbie: Alternating Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images
- Pullover Exercises for the Lower Chest
- The Lat Pulldown vs. the Straight-Arm Pulldown
- Upper Body Weight Training Workouts for Marathon Runners
- Strengthening the Hamstring & Quadriceps With Lunges & Squats
- Deltoid Workouts
- How to Do Pullovers With Dumbbells on the Floor
- How to Reduce Your Shoulder Pain With a Dumbbell Press
- How to Lose 15 Pounds by Lifting