How To Do Shoulder Overhead Press

Chris Freytag demonstrating a Shoulder Overhead Press

Shoulder Overhead Press is an upper body move that uses dumbbells to help strengthen both your shoulders and your biceps for strong, beautiful arms! If you learn how to do Shoulder Overhead Press you have one of the most tried and true standard strength training moves for strong, sculpted shoulders. As you practice this exercise, start with lighter weights until you learn how to do a proper range of motion and use good form. In addition, be sure you are keeping your shoulders down while you push the weights up. Once you think your form is good, start to add more weight.  Eventually you will want to use enough weight so that by the time you get to your 11th or 12th repetition, you are struggling to push that last time up! It should be hard.

This can be tricky – especially for women. One of the most misunderstood parts of weight training for women is how much weight they should use. Many women are afraid if they use too much weight they will end up with big, bulky muscles. Not true. Big bulky muscles come through lots of training, lots of calories and usually excess hormones.  If you are eating healthy, keeping your body fat in check, and getting a well-rounded exercise program, using heavy weights will only help you succeed more quickly. It should be hard!  If you are lifting weights and it feels easy, you can be sure you are not really making any change in your body.


The Shoulder Overhead Press can be incorporated into your weekly strength routine in multiple ways.  Try it as a move on its own set in between a set of lunges and push-ups.  Or try the Stationary Lunge with Shoulder Press for a little multi-tasking that will help shoot your heart rate up to boot! Then check out our workout 7 Moves to Sculpt Your Back and Shoulders for another great workout plan!

Here are the steps to performing the Shoulder Overhead Press:

1) Start with feet hip distance apart. Bring elbows out to the side creating a goal post position with arms, dumbbells are at the side of the head, and abdominals are tight.

2) Press dumbbells slowly up until arms are straight. Slowly return to starting position with control. Repeat for desired number of reps.

Targets: shoulders, biceps, back

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