The standing dumbbell overhead press is one of the best shoulder exercises for men and women. It increases core stability while also building shoulder strength.
When you're holding weight over your head, your lower back muscles and core muscles must work much harder to maintain good posture. So, your core muscles will work harder during a standing overhead press when compared to the seated overhead press.
The increased stability challenge poses a "Catch 22". While this exercise can build up your core muscles, it can also place increased pressure on the joints of the lower back.
If you have a history of lower back pain, you should start with lighter weights and build up your strength slowly.
Below are pictures of the standing dumbbell shoulder press.
Starting Position: Begin by holding dumbbells at chin level with your palms facing forwards. Keep your knees slightly bent and maintain good alignment in your lower back and neck.
Form: Exhale and press the dumbbells over your head. Hold for a brief second and then slowly lower to the starting position.
Personal Trainer Tips: This exercise is an efficient exercise because it works the shoulders, arms, and many core and balance muscles at the same time. But it can also put pressure on the lower back, neck, and shoulder joint.
Posture is very important during this exercise. Try to keep your back from arching excessively and keep your chin tucked and your head in good alignment.
Arm Position Variation
To take some pressure off your shoulder joint you can do this exercise with your palms facing each other, instead of facing forwards.
When your palms are facing each other your shoulders are closer to a neutral position. The neutral position shifts the emphasis towards the front part of the shoulder and the triceps.
The neutral grip will not work the shoulders as much as the abducted grip (palms facing forwards), but most people feel less pressure on the shoulder joint and rotator cuff with the neutral grip.
Dumbbells are a very versatile tool to work the shoulder muscles, and you can change many variables about the overhead press to get a slightly different shoulder workout.
You can also do the shoulder press with a barbell.
Be mindful of your form and posture and don't forget to include rotator cuff exercises in your workout.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT
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