Bolder shoulders aren’t the only reason to add the alternating shoulder press to your workout routine. In addition to hitting all three parts of your deltoid (front, middle, and rear), it engages your abs and upper back, keeping you stable. Meanwhile it also triggers your triceps to help push the weight overhead. And if you add a rotation—as in the variation described below— you’ll ramp up muscle recruitment in your core even more.
How to Do the Alternating Shoulder Press With Rotation
Muscles targeted: Shoulders, as well as the upper back, triceps, and core.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your elbows tucked and palms facing each other.
- Rotate to the right, pressing the weight in your left hand directly above your left shoulder.
- Return to the starting position, then rotate left, pressing the weight in your right hand directly above your right shoulder.
- Return to the starting position. Continue alternating sides.
Make it easier: Use lighter weights or eliminate the rotation.
Make it harder: Use heavier weights or add a squat. Assume the same starting position as above. Keeping your back flat, push your hips back and squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. As you stand back up, simultaneously rotate to the right and press the dumbbell in your left hand directly above your left shoulder. Return to a squat, and then rotate to your left, pressing the weight in your right hand directly above your right shoulder. Continue alternating sides.
Bonus tip: Every time you press a weight overhead, try to get your bicep by your ear. Every degree forward of that increases the strain on your shoulder, increasing your risk of injury.