How to Do the Dumbbell Push Press

It doesn’t matter whether you’re single or married — everyone has a better half, and that’s the one most people emphasize in the gym. But even if you don’t lift to your strengths, odds are that you still keep your upper and lower body exercises separate. After all, how can an exercise that, say, targets your shoulders possibly work your quads and glutes as well as a move that targets only your legs? Enter: the dumbbell push press.

This move has even been proved by scientists to be a stellar exercises. In a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a team of British researchers found that the push press — which combines a partial squat with the shoulder press — is just as effective at developing lower body power as the barbell jump squat (a popular exercise for improving vertical leap).

How to do the Dumbbell Push Press Exercise

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, quads, glutes.

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells by your shoulders, palms in.
  • Keeping your back flat and core braced, push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering yourself into a partial squat.
  • Push up explosively with your legs as you press the weights directly above your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights back to the starting position, and repeat.

Make it easier: Use lighter weights, or do the classic shoulder press.

Make it harder: Use heavier weights, do a single-arm push press (using one dumbbell to work one arm at a time), or do a squat press, lowering your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.

Bonus tip: Your biceps should end up by your ears when you press the weights overhead. If you don’t have the shoulder mobility to do that without arching your back or pushing your head forward, skip this exercise for now and weave more mobility exercises into your weekly routine until you develop a sufficient range of motion.