How to Do One Arm Dumbbell Press Properly

What is the one arm dumbbell press? The one arm dumbbell press is also known as the single-arm dumbbell bench press.

It is a variation of the dumbbell bench press that requires you to press just one arm overhead at a given time. Compared to the conventional dumbbell bench press, this exercise requires more balance and stability.

You will be resisting your body’s urge to rotate on the bench the whole time.

This is one great and exciting exercise, but before you grab the nearest dumbbell and start pressing away, maybe you should first understand what benefits come with it and how to do it correctly. And also, why just one arm?

This article will address all of these and also recommend exercises that are similar to this one.

Not many people are fond of this exercise for a lot of reasons. For one, this exercise is very likely to show you, and not in a subtle way, how imbalanced your right and left arms are.

Secondly, it really puts your core to work and takes no prisoners. Thirdly, you will need to substantially reduce the weight you use for this one exercise.

So why do it even? Well, do it because who wants to go around with imbalanced arms? Do it because a good and strong core never hurt anyone.

Also, do it because you are not one of those guys who consider workouts an ego trip, and if the weight is not up to their standards they are not lifting.

Most importantly do it because there are plenty of benefits that accompany this exercise which we will break down later. For now, let us focus on how to do this exercise.

HOW TO DO ONE ARM DUMBBELL PRESS

  • Sit on a bench and rest the dumbbell on your thigh
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands and raise it to shoulder-level and as you lower yourself to lie on the bench
  • Tighten your core and ensure your lower back is in contact with the bench. Drive your feet into the floor.
  • At this point hold the dumbbell with one hand, slowly bend the elbow and press it toward the ceiling.\
  • Bring the dumbbell back down
  • Repeat as many times as you wish and then switch hands.

ONE ARM DUMBBELL PRESS MUSCLES WORKED

PECS AND TRICEPS

The pecs and triceps are the stars of this show. They do the bulk of the work and in turn, get worked the most. The pecs generate the force used in the upward pressing motion. The triceps play a major role om the elbow extension and lockout.

ANTERIOR DELTOIDS

These muscles are responsible for shoulder flexion and see to it that your arms can be moved over your head.

CORE

The core plays an important role in this exercise, it helps you remain stable on the bench and prevents unnecessary leaning to the left or right when you are pressing.

ONE ARM DUMBBELL PRESS BENEFITS

WORKS THE CORE

This is the reason why people shy from this exercise, because they never foresee the amount of work the core will be required to do. There is more core work in this exercise than in a regular dumbbell bench press, and this is a good thing.

PREVENTS STRENGTH IMBALANCES

When doing the regular presses, it is hard to notice any imbalances because the stronger side makes up for the weaker side. When doing this exercise however, each arm and each side is left to it’s own.

Thus, it is hard to conceal the imbalances and this way you will work towards strengthening the weaker side.

SHOULDER STABILITY

Athletes hurt their rotator cuffs all the time. To prevent this, it is important to strengthen and stabilize muscles around the shoulders. This exercise demands that you keep your shoulders retracted to ease motion and minimize strain.

GREATER RANGE OF MOTION

Other variations of the bench press can be very limiting. The barbell bench press for instance only allows you minimal movement of the bar, before you know it, it is at your chest and that is as far as it can go.

You earn a greater range of motion when using a dumbbell as you can take it further down.

ONE ARM DUMBBELL PRESS ALTERNATIVES

Other exercises that are almost similar to this one include the dumbbell fly and the dumbbell pullover. Both of these exercises are heavy on the chest, arms, shoulders and back.

They also require the same equipment as this one, that is, the bench and dumbbell.

ONE ARM DUMBBELL PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID

SUSPENDING YOUR HIPS

Your hips should be in contact with the bench. Failure to do this might cause unnecessary strain on your lower back. You will also not get the maximum gain because you are limiting the range of motion.

LOWERING THE DUMBBELL TOO MUCH

The great range of motion that this exercise allows you may sometimes cause you to bring the dumbbell too low. This will strain your shoulders.

TOO MUCH WEIGHT

Remember, this is not an ego trip and it is not about how much weight you can possibly carry. Carry less weight that you normally would.

Otherwise, your hips will rise from bench as you lift the weight to make up for the extra weight. This isn’t the right form and you may end up hurting your lower back and compromising the entire exercise.

CONCLUSION

There are so many reasons why you should do the one arm dumbbell press, one of them being, they will improve your bench press strength. They will also correct existing imbalances in your arms or prevent them.

If you work out a lot, the risk of injury around the shoulders is always present. Prevent this by stabilizing the shoulders and one way to do that it by including this exercise in your routine.

Don’t let the fact that there is a bit of core work involved in this exercise deter you, it gets better with time and the overall gains are much higher.