DB pressing is an excellent way to develop the strength of the prime movers – pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, while at the same time providing more balance to the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder. Improvement of overhead strength should be one goal of any pressing program, as improvements in overhead strength are highly correlated with health of the shoulder girdle.
The 60° Incline DB Press is an excellent beginning exercise for those who have never pressed before, as well as those who are used to the movement, as it has significant transfer to overhead strength while not being so difficult as to be beyond the grasp of beginners.
Pressing improves arm swing in running, and is responsible for roughly 10% of power in vertical jumping. The use of a parallel grip during the exercise puts slightly more stress on the anterior serratus, while sparing the shoulder girdle undue amount of strain. As the shoulder girdle becomes stronger, more advanced pressing can be practiced.
To begin the exercise, adjust a bench to 60° of incline. Technical note: the bench in our images is not at 60°; it is set at 45°, so a proper incline will be slightly higher. When teaching my clients how to set bench inclinations, I will say the following: “if the horizontal and vertical imaginary lines around the long part of the bench look like a square; it is 45°. If they look like a vertically arranged rectangle, it is 60°. If they look like a horizontally arranged rectangle, it is 30°”.
Next, grasp a set of dumbbells and sit back on the bench as shown below. The hands should be directly over the elbows, so that forearms are perpendicular to the floor.
Inhale. As you exhale, press the DB’s upward toward the ceiling. Be sure to keep the wrists over the elbows during the press. At the top of the range of motion, the DB’s should be over your face.
Lastly, inhale as you slowly descend to the start position.
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