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Best Press for My Delts

Q: Is there much difference between the effects on my delts of different types of presses?

A: Probably not, provided whatever you do is safe, and you do it with comparable effort and seriousness. What matters most is to find the type of press that’s comfortable and safe for you so you can apply yourself to it with the effort required over the long term to make substantial progress.

Never mind if a certain type of press is especially touted by someone. What matters is what’s best for you. Find the right hand positioning and range of motion that feel most comfortable for you and that enable you to maintain correct technique most easily. Then apply yourself to it with effort for sets of at least six reps, and add a little weight whenever you can. That’s the best you can do.

Generally, I recommend doing dumbbell press while seated with back support. Common errors with the dumbbell press include positioning the hands about the same as for a barbell. Having your hands parallel to each other, for at least some of the motion, is more natural. Some bodybuilders press with dumbbells as if they were using a barbell. Keep the dumbbells to the sides of your head, not in front, as with a barbell, and don’t use an excessive range of motion—don’t stretch at the bottom. Go no lower than where your hands are level with the top of your delts.

—Stuart McRobert


Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or


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