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Dumbbell Palm Presses

7309-train8If you want wider shoulders, you must work your side delts; however, the staple exercises like barbell and dumbbell presses, only hit the side delts to a limited degree. They tend to put more focus on the front delts.

This dumbbell shoulder press is going to change that. Not only will it focus the tension primarily on the side delts, but it will also take tension off of the triceps, so you get more targeted workload on the muscles you’re actually trying to hit.

It’s all in how you hold the dumbbell.

You hold it vertically, underneath the top plates, with a flat, open palm. Yes, I know that it doesn’t sound simple, but if you look closely at the photos, you’ll see just how straightforward it really is!

Your hand is rotated around so your fingers are pointing in toward your head. Your palm is set on the underside of the dumbbell plates, with your thumb hooked around the handle to keep it solidly gripped, and the bottom of the dumbbell rests on your biceps.

This open-hand, fingers-pointed-in position is what puts the focus on the side delts. Also, because the bottom dumbbell plates are braced against your forearm, you get some unique leverage near the top. As you straighten your arm to vertical, your side delt is called upon even further to help with moving the arm to full extension.

Here’s how to get the dumbbell into position:

First, set the dumbbell on the floor in front of you with the handle perpendicular to your body.

Set your palm flat against the inside face of dumbbell head that is closest to you. The handle should be between your thumb and forefinger. Wrap your thumb around the handle.

Next, grasp the handle with your other hand—you’ll be using it to help get the dumbbell up into position. Lift the dumbbell up to your shoulder so it’s standing vertically on your upper arm.

Remove your other hand, making sure your thumb is hooked around the handle, and you’re ready to start.

Press up, just as you would a normal standing dumbbell shoulder press.

Do all your reps on one side—about six to 10—then grab the dumbbell handle with your other hand again and set the dumbbell back down on the floor. Grip with the other hand, and repeat.

You will notice that the range of motion is shorter on this exercise than on regular shoulder presses. The heavier you go, the shorter the range gets because of the number of plates on the dumbbell.

Range of motion is not critical for this exercise, however. Hand position and leverage on the dumbbell are what put the focus on the side delt.

If you’re tired of normal dumbbell presses, this is definitely one you’ll want to try. It’s an excellent exercise for putting a relatively heavy load directly on the side delts, helping you build them much faster than with regular shoulder presses or standard lateral raises.

—Nick Nilsson


Editor’s note: To get a copy of Nick’s Muscle Explosion—28 Days to Maximum Mass, visit his Web site, www.28Day


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