How to Do Dumbbell Push Press Properly

The dumbbell push press is a great compound exercise that you can use to build strength and power.

A compound exercise is a workout that works multiple muscles and joints simultaneously.

It is a variation of the traditional barbell push press.

To do this exercise:

  • Choose two dumbbells of an appropriate weight.
  • Start with one end of the dumbbells slightly resting on your shoulders. Keep your palms facing each other and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Engage your core, keep your back straight and bend your knees slightly. Enough to get momentum to complete a squat.
  • Slightly flex your knees, extend your hips and knees while simultaneously driving through your heels.
  • As you do this press the dumbbells overhead.
  • With controlled movement, lower the weights to your shoulders for the next rep.
  • Start the movement with your legs then complete the pressing motion with your triceps and shoulders while stabilizing your core.


1.      GLUTES

The dumbbell push press primarily targets the glutes. This is because they are the muscles that are the driving force behind the power overhead.

The glutes contract and engage as you lower your body and provide energy that helps drive the barbells overhead.

The glutes are the muscles in the butt. It has three parts: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minius.

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the butt and it is responsible for giving it its distinct rounded shape.

The glutes help maximize your spine and pelvis. The glutes are engaged every time you move your thigh to squat, walk, run or climb.

2.      QUADS

The quads are a muscle group made up of four muscles that sit on the upper front part of the thigh.

They include the rectus femoris. This muscle crosses the knee and hip joints and helps the flexion of the hip and extension of the knee.

The vastus lateralis is the largest and most powerful muscle in the quads. It runs down the outside of the thigh and ends above the knee cap.

The vastus medialis runs down the inside of the thigh and ends next to the knee. We also know it as the teardrop drop muscle. It is involved in the movement of the knee.

The vastus intermedius runs down the middle of the thigh. It is found in the middle of the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis. It limits the extension of the knee keeping you safe from injury.

The dumbbell push press activates the core during the dipping part of the exercise.

3.      LOWER BACK

The core is engaged during the dumbbell push press to keep your body steady.

You need to keep your body stabilized during the movement of the push press. You shouldn’t tilt your pelvis or round your back during the exercise.

Engaging your core prevents this from happening.


The delts are activated during the movement.

The deltoids are the triangular-shaped muscles that sit on the shoulders. The dumbbell push press activates the anterior deltoids.

These are the delts that sit at the front of the shoulder. They provide power during the lift of the press.

5.      ARMS

To complete the press, your arms need to be fully extended. This is achieved by the triceps.

The triceps are located on the upper part of the back of your arm. The triceps are made of They are made of three heads, the medial head, the long head and the lateral head.

The medial head sits in the middle of your triceps. It is found between the long head and lateral head.

The long head is the longest muscle in the triceps. It originates from the shoulder blade and crosses the shoulder joint and elbow joint.

It is responsible for the extension and stabilization of the shoulder.

The lateral head originates from the humerus and is the powerhouse of the triceps.

Also, it is responsible for locking out the elbows at the top of the movement.



The dumbbell push press helps stabilize the shoulder joint and the lower back.

This helps minimize the risk of injury when doing daily activities that involve the use of the shoulders and lower back.


The push press helps increase the power in your lower body muscles.

If you participate in sports that require leg power such as running, cycling, walking, sprinting, combat sports, tennis or swimming, the dumbbell push press is a great exercise to add to your routine.


Using dumbbells for the push press helps increase flexibility. This enables you to move each arm freely.

People use this exercise to rehabilitate an injured shoulder or wrist to help boost mobility.



To do this exercise:

  • Get a barbell. Use an overhand grip to hold it at hip level.
  • Pull your shoulders back and keep your spine straight.
  • Push your hips back as your lower the bar toward your feet.
  • Press your hips forward to come into standing position.


This exercise can be done with weights or with body weight.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with a neutral stance.
  • Push your knees forward as you bend your torso back.
  • Keep your hips straight. Flexion should only occur in the knees.
  • At the bottom of the movement, your toes will travel forward while you lean back as if you’re doing the limbo.


There are many mistakes to avoid during the dumbbell push press. Most notably is moving your head out of the way.

As you lower the dumbbells ensure your head remains steady to avoid injury.

Another mistake to avoid is pressing the dumbbell forward rather than upwards. As the weights get heavier it can be harder for you to lift them vertically. Ensure you straighten your arm up and not forward.

You should also make sure you dip your legs otherwise you are doing a strict press.

Ensure you do a shoulder warm-up before doing any push press exercise. This will help avoid tightness after doing the exercise.

Keep your elbows facing the general angle of your shoulders. This helps reduce the risk of injury to your shoulder.

Don’t hyperextend your lower back. Brace your abs to prevent leaning back. Extending your lower back can lead to lower back pain.