4 Exercises Better Than the Overhead Press
Think traditional seated overhead barbell presses are your golden ticket to shoulder mass? Here are 4 variations that’ll do a better job of adding mass to your delts.
2. Overhead Dumbbell Press
For all the benefits the traditional overhead barbell press affords, the dumbbell version keeps pace stride for stride. And if you’ve been married to the bar for weeks, months or even years, it’s probably time to head to the dumbbell rack.
One of the biggest benefits of dumbbells is that they allow a greater or freer range of motion than the barbell counterpart. Since both hands can move in any direction, you can move your arms out to your sides a bit to better focus on the middle delts, or even bring your arms more to the front (think of the Arnold press) to better recruit the front delts. At the top of the range of motion, with dumbbells you can actually lift your arms higher as you bring the weights together at the top.
What that means is that your delts are recruited for a longer period of time and through a greater range motion with dumbbells than during an overhead barbell press. And with that increased ROM and time under tension comes the recruitment of the traps, which act to raise the shoulder blades, indicating the need to recruit more stabilizer muscles to perform the dumbbell move. So, more total muscle fibers are hard at work to perform the overhead press when using dumbbells than when using the bar.
Power Pointer: The dumbbell version is more difficult than using the barbell, so it recruits more muscle fibers for a longer range of motion.