Given its simplicity and effectiveness, the dumbbell shoulder press is a staple in many exercise routines. But if you're sick of performing the exercise or simply want an alternative to the dumbbell shoulder press, you can get similar benefits from alternative exercises. Try several dumbbell shoulder press alternatives to see what you like best and which provide the best results for you. Always exercise with a partner or another form of supervision to stay safe.
Muscles Worked by Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
The best machine alternatives for the dumbbell shoulder press are those that work the same muscles. Thus, knowing what exactly the dumbbell shoulder press does is the first step in finding suitable alternatives. The primary targets of the dumbbell shoulder press are your deltoids, also known as your shoulder muscles. Additionally, the dumbbell shoulder press helps strengthen your triceps, pectoralis major, your trapezius and your supraspinatus, or rotator cuff, which is another shoulder muscle.
If you like the dumbbell shoulder press because it works your shoulders, then machine alternatives with a similar focus are best for you. The most suitable alternative is the machine shoulder press, which is nearly identical to the dumbbell shoulder press except for two factors. The first is that you use machine handles rather than dumbbells, and the second is that you are seated rather than standing. The exercise primarily works your shoulders and triceps. Another alternative is the close-grip machine shoulder press, which brings your hands in narrower than shoulder-width for a more challenging workout.
You may like the dumbbell shoulder press because it helps strengthen your triceps, which comprise two-thirds of the muscle mass of your upper arm. In this case, machine bench presses, whether standard or close-grip, will help you target your triceps while also working your shoulders and chest. The triceps pushdown will also put the strength-training focus on your triceps, though it doesn't affect your chest or shoulders.
If you want to firm up your chest or gain strength to perform more pushups, chest-focused machine alternatives to the dumbbell shoulder press are ideal. The dumbbell shoulder press doesn't have your pectorals as its primary target, but machine exercises such as the chest press, decline cable press, incline chest press and standing cable fly do target the chest. These exercises also involve your shoulders, allowing you to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
The dumbbell shoulder press isn't the most effective back exercise, as your back muscles aren't the primary target. Thus, some machine alternatives may be better choices if your back is your workout priority. Three machine alternatives to the dumbbell shoulder press are the seated row, lat pull-down and seated high row. These exercises target your back but also work your shoulders, making them similar to the dumbbell shoulder press, albeit with subtle changes in muscle emphasis.
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