The primary muscles stressed in this movement are the shoulder muscles (deltoid). The secondary muscles stressed are the triceps and trapezius.

Starting Position

Grab a dumbbell in each hand and carefully sit in a utility chair with your back flat against the back support.


Press the dumbbells straight up over head with your arms extended. Dumbbells should be two inches apart. Your palms should be facing forward and forearms straight up and down. Take two tho three seconds to lower the dumbbells down until your elbows are level with your shoulders (no lower) and your forearms are straight up and down. Press the dumbbells straight back up to the extended position.

Training Tips

  • Keep your back flat against the back support
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor to help balance your body.
  • Focus on your shoulders pressing the dumbbells up so your triceps don’t do most of the work.


The dumbbells can be turned in to a position where your palms are facing if you have a shoulder injury or you are trying to isolate different muscles in the shoulder.

Warning Tips

  • Do not overextend your shoulders when raising the dumbbell up to the extended position. Failure to do so can result in serious injury  to your shoulders.
  • Do not excessively arch your back when performing this movement. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your back.
  • Do not lower the dumbbells any lower than when your elbows are level with your shoulders (no lower) failure to do so can results in serious injury to your shoulders.
  • Do not lower the dumbbells any faster than two to three seconds. You must be in control at all times during this movement. The faster you perform this movement, the less control you will have, which in turn will increase your risk of injury.

Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS

As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives. Find out more about Robert and his personal training career and services, here.


Guest Author

Guest authors offer experience and educational insights based on their specific area of expertise. These authors are contributing writers for the NFPT blog because they have valuable information to share with NFPT-CPTs and the fitness community at-large. If you are interested in contributing to the NFPT blog as a guest, please send us a note expressing your interest and tell us how you can contribute valuable insights to our readers. We look forward to hearing from you! Send to editor@nfpt.com