Exercise of the Week: Single-Arm Dumbbell Push Press

October 20, 2010

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Athletes rely on strong shoulders to develop a countless number of skills—like throwing a pitch, smashing a serve or absorbing a hit. Strong shoulder muscles can powerfully move the arm and transfer force between the arm and the rest of the body, which highlights the need to properly train each muscle group.

Several large muscles act on the shoulder—including the pecs, traps and delts. These are the muscles primarily exercised in the gym. However, other smaller and less noticeable muscles, such as the rotator cuff muscles, are equally important and, without proper strength, can hamper your skill execution.

Weak shoulder muscles effectively create a bottleneck when you try to apply force from your body to your arm. For example, a pitcher with strong legs and a strong core may not be able use this strength to hurl a 95-mph fastball if his shoulder can’t apply the force to his arm. Also, the small stabilizers must be strong or you will be at risk for injury when repeating a movement, such as throwing a ball or when absorbing contact.

Similar to other shoulder exercises, the Single-Arm Dumbbell Push Press targets the larger muscle groups of the shoulder. However, it also engages the shoulder stabilizers to keep the weight stable overhead. In addition, the lower body is used when triple extending to propel the weight upward, and the core is activated to keep the body balanced.

  • Assume athletic stance holding dumbbell in right hand with palm facing away from body
  • Hold dumbbell to the side at shoulder level
  • Explode upward by extending at the hips, knees and ankles, driving dumbbell overhead
  • Finish in athletic stance with knees slightly bent and arm locked upward over shoulder
  • Slowly lower to start position; repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set on left arm

Sets/Reps: 4x6 each arm

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
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