Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Shoulder Press

This week’s workout is the Shoulder Press. The Shoulder Press, or Overhead Press, is a highly effective exercise that strengthens your shoulders and triceps. This exercise requires the use of dumbbells, or a barbell to be held in your hands, but other objects around the house like paint buckets or gallon jugs can work as a substitute.

This exercise can be done in a number of variations. Many people like to sit with their back supported, but standing actually requires you to engage your core, chest, and balancing muscle groups to control the weight. The important thing to remember while doing this exercise is practicing good form. Improper form during this exercise can cause serious tension to be placed on your shoulder and elbow joints, potentially causing injury. It is recommended to start this exercise with a light weight while you learn the proper technique, and then you can add on more weight.

Here’s how to do them:

1. Begin by standing with your back straight, arms at your sides, holding the dumbbells in each hand.

2. Next, slowly bring the weights up to your head by bending your elbows. The weights should be on either side of your head at about ear level. This will be your starting position.


3. Then, slowly push the weight straight up, breathing out as you do so. As your arms extend straight, keep in mind the weights should be going up at a forward angle as well—this will reduce the risk of injury should you drop the weight or improperly put pressure on other joints. You should feel a slight burn in your triceps and shoulders.


4. Finally, slowly bring the weights back down to the starting position, breathing in as you do so.

Congratulations, you just completed one Shoulder Press! Continue steps 3 and 4 in a slow and controlled repetition.

Try doing 2-3 sets of about 10-12 Shoulder Presses. As you begin to build muscle in your shoulders and triceps over time, try adding more weight.


  • To ensure correct posture and form, keep your eyes looking forward as you do your repetitions to prevent placing unnecessary strain on your neck.
  • Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the weight should be slightly away from your head—the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
  • If you feel an abnormal amount of pressure in your shoulders, chest or back, stop this exercise immediately and consult your doctor.

We hope you’ll try Shoulder Presses over the weekend and then build them into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week.

Want more fitness ideas? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.