Dumbbell Shoulder Press Muscles Worked

Dumbbell Shoulder Press Muscles Worked

Dumbbell shoulder press is the most common for most gym goers or bodybuilders in the gym to build great big strong shoulders and also this type of overhead lifts are used for strength training.
Have you ever wondered which muscles are actually worked when you do a Dumbbell shoulder press? In this article, we will dive deep into the world of dumbbell shoulder presses, exploring the primary and secondary muscles involved, proper form, variations, and much more. So, let’s get started on the journey to understanding the muscles worked during a dumbbell shoulder press.

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What muscles do dumbbell shoulder press works?

What muscles do dumbbell shoulder press works?

⦁ Triceps.
⦁ Pectoralis (minor and major).
⦁ Trapezius.
⦁ Forearms.
⦁ Deltoids (anterior, posterior, medial).
⦁ Rectus abdominis.


This is one of the secondary muscles worked during dumbbell press to a certain extend especially when you press the weight over your head then your triceps muscles extend and engages.


The pictorial muscles are not really engaged when doping his exercise like the primary muscles such as the anterior (front) deltoids which is the primary muscle in this exercise.
If you want to target chest muscles then exercise like bench press, chest press and dips might be for you.


The trapezius muscle only starts getting engaged and working to support and control movement of shoulder blades when you lift the weight passed and over your head while doing barbell or dumbbell presses.
Basically, the Trapezius muscle is the secondary muscle and not the primary muscle like the deltoids are, to build the Trapezius include exercises for primary building Trapezius muscle.
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Since any exercise that has Todo with weightlifting or bodybuilding involves griping and hold a weight your forearm strength (grip) is required, however dumbbell shoulder press does not directly involve the forearm muscle it is also activated as a secondary muscle.

Related: What muscles do squats work.


These are the primary muscles that shoulder presses work compared to the Triceps, pectoralis, Forearms and Trapezius. Pressing over your head works the front deltoids since the weight is slightly forward compared to the weight. Your lateral deltoid is also worked with these presses especially with the coming down motion.

Rectus abdominis

This exercise doesn’t directly work the rectus abdominis but the standing shoulder press can engage your abdominal muscles because your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, come into play to provide stability to your spine and help you maintain an upright posture.

Dumbbell shoulder press workout

Dumbbell shoulder press workout

Do the exercise for 6 to 12 repetitions and repeat them for 3 to 6 sets using weights that are moderately heavy making your shoulder muscles (deltoids) grow bigger which will give you the look of having larger upper arms. You can also add in different exercises like seated dumbbell shoulder presses and overhead presses to make your workout routine more well-rounded and effective.


In summary, the dumbbell shoulder press is a widely favoured exercise among gym-goers and bodybuilders aiming to develop impressive and robust shoulder muscles. This overhead lift serves as a cornerstone for strength training routines.
When it comes to the muscles worked during a dumbbell shoulder press, it’s important to understand that it engages both primary and secondary muscle groups:

Triceps: Your triceps are secondary muscles engaged, especially when extending the weight overhead.
Pectoralis (minor and major): The chest muscles, pectoralis, are not the primary focus but can still be involved to some extent.

Trapezius: The trapezius muscles come into play as secondary support muscles, particularly when lifting the weight over your head.

Forearms: Although not the primary target, your forearm strength is activated as you grip and hold the weights.

Deltoids (anterior, posterior, medial): The deltoid muscles are the primary focus of the exercise, with the front deltoids heavily engaged during the press.

Rectus Abdominis: While not directly worked, your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, play a role in stabilizing your spine and maintaining proper posture during the exercise.

To maximize the benefits of the dumbbell shoulder press, aim for 6 to 12 repetitions and 3 to 6 sets using moderately heavy weights. This approach can help your deltoid muscles grow, giving your upper arms a more substantial appearance. For a comprehensive fitness regimen, consider incorporating other exercises like seated dumbbell shoulder presses and overhead presses to create a well-rounded and effective workout routine