Dumbbell shoulder press

Dumbbell press is one of the pushing exercises to train those big shoulder muscles. It is a great functional exercise for upper body. However, it is one of the most common exercise to develop upper body issues if done incorrectly. To get that right technique and avoid injuries, it's important to understand about shoulder’s axis of movement.There are two axis formed at shoulder joint. First one is body axis and second one is the scapular axis (refer pic 1). Majority of people do all their exercises in body axis, which leads to injuries. Poor posture is another reason for scapular axis to shift further forward and cause injuries.                                               

                      Pic 1  – Red line – Body Axis   Green line – Shoulder blade axis

The prime muscle we train with this exercise is deltoids. Other muscle involvedis upper pectorals and triceps and rotator cuff muscle in stabilizing humeralhead.

Common mistakes while doing dumbbell press exercise

Wrong axis of movement

As explained earlier, if exercise done is in line with body axis, chances of getting impingementare high. Always follow the scapular axis (refer Pic 2) to avoid impingement issues.

Pic 2

Back Hyperextension

It usually occurs when the weight is heavier than a person’s ability to lift (refer pic 3 & 4). It is a form of compensation to use more pectoral muscle to push the weight up. This can lead to back problems.

Wrist not maintained in neutral position or Lose grip

In either case, the line of weight keeps changing reducing control of the movement which can lead to compensation and injury at shoulder, elbow or wrist joint (refer pic 3 & 4)

Excessive external rotation at joint

In an attempt to keep the arms straight, many times people rotate their shoulders excessively which causes undue stress on biceps tendon and rotator cuff muscle(refer pic 3 & 4).

Pic 3 – Incorrect technique – 1.Back hyperextension, 2. wrist bending 3. excessive shoulder rotation

Pic 4 – Correct technique – 1. Neutral back 2.neutral wrist 3. no excessive shoulder rotation

Crossing over and clashing of weights

At the end of the pushing movement, avoid clashing or crossing over of weights. This can lead to a jarring movement creating excessive or unwanted movement at the joints. These points also need to be considered for other shoulder exercises such as side raises/military press/arnold shoulder press.

Always remember to listen to your body and progress gradually to prevent injuries.