10 Advanced Dumbbell Pressing Variations for Bodybuilders and Strength Athletes

Free-weights should always form the dominant portion of exercise selection for building muscle-mass, building strength and toning the body. Dumbbells are a highly effective free-weight that demands control and strict technique. And we all know that if you employ Dumbbell Pressing movements in your training it is a sure-fire way to add strength, mass and thickness to your Chest and Shoulders and indirectly to your Triceps.

In order to get the most out of your Dumbbell Pressing movements it is essential that you introduce variety by adjusting the style and technique of the basic and most valuable exercises. This will keep your body in a state of surprise and readiness pushing it towards greater levels of development and will build a more complete physique because it has been attacked from all angles and options.

A STANDARD DUMBBELL PRESS

During a standard Dumbbell Pressing movement the correct technique requires you to hold the Dumbbells on the outside of your chest or shoulders with your palms facing forward (away from your body). Once you start pressing it is ideal for the Dumbbells to follow a path upwards and together in a smooth 'Inverted U' shape such as this; n. This technique ensures that you get a good stretch at the bottom and a strong contraction at the top with optimal power and control.

DUMBBELL PRESSING VARIATIONS

1. Alternate Presses from the top for Chest

Technique –

Lying down on a bench or fit-ball hold the dumbbells with straight arms above the chest with the shoulders blades held together behind the body.

Slowly lower one Dumbbell down to the outside of your chest while the other Dumbbell remains still then press it back up completing a full repetition.

Repeat on the other side using the same technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing one rep at time on each side allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual Pec muscle increasing the intensity at the maximum point of contraction. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Get the benefit from a static contraction and a dynamic contraction.

2. Alternate Presses from the top for Shoulder

Technique –

Sitting up on a bench or standing hold the Dumbbells with straight arms above the head and shoulders with the palms facing forward.

Slowly lower one Dumbbell down to the outside of one shoulder while the other Dumbbell remains still then press it back up completing a full repetition.

Repeat on the other side using the same technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing one rep at time on each side allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual deltoid complex increasing the intensity at the maximum point of contraction. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Get the benefit from a static contraction and a dynamic contraction.

3. Alternate Presses from the bottom for Chest

Technique –

Lying down on a bench or fit-ball hold the dumbbells with bent arms on the outside of the chest with the shoulders blades held together behind the body.

Push one Dumbbell all the way up and in to a full contracting while the other Dumbbell remains still then slowly lower it back down completing a full repetition.

Repeat on the other side using the same technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing one rep at time on each side allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual Pec muscle increasing the intensity at the maximum point of stretch. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Get the benefit from a static contraction and a dynamic contraction.

4. Alternate Presses from the bottom for Shoulders

Technique –

Sitting up on a bench or standing hold the Dumbbells with bent arms on the outside of the shoulders with the palms facing forward.

Push one Dumbbell up and in to a full contracting while the other Dumbbell remains still lower it back down completing a full repetition.

Repeat on the other side using the same technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing one rep at time on each side allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual deltoid complex increasing the intensity at the maximum point of stretch. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Get the benefit from a static contraction and a dynamic contraction.

5. Supination Pressing for Chest

Technique –

Lying down on a bench or fit-ball hold the dumbbells with bent arms on the outside of the chest with the shoulders blades held together behind the body and the palms facing forward.

As you push Dumbbells up and in to a full contraction slowly turn your thumbs out so that by the time The Dumbbells are together the palms are facing each other.

Lower the Dumbbells down in the reverse technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Using this technique facilitates a more powerful contracting at the apex of the movement.

6. Pronation Pressing for Chest

Technique –

Lying down on a bench or fit-ball hold the dumbbells with bent arms on the outside of the chest with the shoulders blades held together the body and the palms facing each other.

As you push Dumbbells up and in to a full contraction slowly turn your thumbs in so that by the time The Dumbbells are together the palms are facing forward.

Lower the Dumbbells down in the reverse technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Using this technique allows a defect stretch at the bottom of the movement.

7. Supination Pressing for Shoulders

Technique –

Sitting up on a bench or standing hold the Dumbbells with bent arms on the outside of the shoulders with the palms facing forward.

As you push Dumbbells up and in to a full contraction slowly turn your thumbs out so that by the time The Dumbbells are together the palms are facing each other.

Lower the Dumbbells down in the reverse technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Using this technique facilitates a more powerful contracting at the apex of the movement.

8. Pronation Pressing for Shoulders (Arnold Press)

Technique –

Sitting up on a bench or standing hold the Dumbbells with bent arms at the front of the shoulders with the palms facing you.

As you push Dumbbells up and in to a full contraction slowly turn your thumbs in so that by the time The Dumbbells are together the palms are facing forward.

Lower the Dumbbells down in the reverse technique and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Using this technique allows a defect stretch at the bottom of the movement and increments anterior deltoid (front of shoulder) involvement.

9. Single-arm Pressing for Chest

Technique –

Lying down on a bench or fit-ball hold a single Dumbbell with the arm bent on the outside of the chest and the shoulders blades held together behind the body.

Engage the abdominals and lock the body into position to reduce any body roll.

Push the Dumbbell all the way up and in to a full contracting then slowly lower it back down completing a full repetition and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing a set on one side of the body at a time allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual Pec muscle minimizing imbalances. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Make your core very strong, especially if you are on a fit-ball.

10. Single-arm Pressing for Shoulder

Technique –

Sitting up on a bench or standing hold a single Dumbbell with the arm bent on the outside of the shoulder with the palms facing forward.

Engage the abdominals and lock the body into position to reduce any body roll.

Push the Dumbbell all the way up and in to a full contracting then slowly lower it back down completing a full repetition and continue in this fashion until the set is complete.

Result –

Performing a set on one side of the body at a time allows you to: 1) Focus on the individual Shoulder complex minimizing imbalances. 2) Concentrate on your technique and core strength so that the increased torque does not make your body contort. 3) Build more endurance with the increased set time. 4) Make your core very strong, especially if you are standing.

To break through training plateaus and to push your physique to new levels include these variations in your workout plan. It is an extreme advantage to have an arsenal of effective and interesting exercises that you can implement when your motivation is waning or your training seems a little stale.

I have been training for over 14 years and I would have quit a long time ago if I did not use variation and creativity to keep my workouts exciting and effective. Experiment and implement and your body will thank you for the kick in the arm.

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