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Dumbbell Military Presses

This exercise provided courtesy of Devin Wicks, Director of Fitness Operations at the University of California, Berkeley and specialty strength coach for some of the university's elite sports teams.

Benefits
This exercise gets its name from an army practice of calisthenics (or punishment!), where soldiers take their rifles in both hands and push them up overhead many, many times in a row. Treat your dumbbells like a rifle and push them straight up, rather than in an arc.

Muscles Worked
Shoulders - Deltoids (Front and Side).

Starting Position
Holding dumbbells in both hands, stand with feet hip width apart. Bring the dumbbells to just above your shoulders, with your palms facing forward and your elbows bent down and to the side.

Exercise

  1. From the starting position, bring the dumbbells to just above your shoulders, with your palms facing forward and your elbows bent down and to the side. Press both weights straight up from the shoulder toward the ceiling until your arms are extended and your elbows straight. Try to keep your shoulders down as you do this: no shrugging. Do not bring the weights around in an arc - they should not touch at the top of your lift; rather, push straight upward.
  2. From the top of your lift, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells, again in a straight vertical line, to just above your shoulders.
About Devin Wicks: Devin Wicks (ACSM-HFI, USAW Club Coach) is the Director of Fitness Operations for UC Berkeley where he develops health and fitness programs for the campus community. He also works as a conditioning specialist for Cal Athletics where he has developed targeted training programs for several Olympic Gold Medal athletes. Devin has presented and toured nationally, providing cutting-edge education for fitness industry professionals and enthusiasts alike.