Dumbbell Press vs. Deep Swimmer Press

The dumbbell press and deep swimmers press work the shoulder muscles. The deep swimmers press is part of the P90 home workout system developed by fitness trainer Tony Horton. The deep swimmers press, also known as the Arnold Press, was first popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1970s. Poorly performed pressing exercises can cause injury to the rotator cuff and surrounding connective tissue. Seek the advice of your health professional before starting a new exercise program, and consult a certified fitness professional if you are unsure how to perform an exercise.

How to Perform the Dumbbell Press

Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and sit on an exercise bench with the incline set at a 90-degree angle. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder-level with your palms facing outward and elbows pointing downward. Keep your back pressed firmly against the back-rest, and exhale as you press the dumbbells overhead. Keep your elbows pointing slightly forward to minimize stress on your shoulder joints. Stop when your arms are straight, and inhale as you lower the dumbbells back to shoulder-level.

How to Perform Deep Swimmers Press

The deep swimmers press roughly mimics the free-style stroke of a swimmer. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and sit on an exercise bench with the incline set at a 90-degree angle. Hold the dumbbells hanging straight down on either side of the bench with your palms facing inward. Exhale as you curl the dumbbells up to shoulder-level while rotating your wrists so your palms are facing you. Pause briefly and inhale as you hold the dumbbells at shoulder level with your elbows pointing downward and slightly in front of your body. Exhale as you press the dumbbells overhead while rotating your wrists so your palms face outward. Stop when your arms are straight, then inhale as you lower the dumbbells back to shoulder-level, while rotating your wrists so your palms face you.

Muscles Targeted

The dumbbell press places an equal load on your side and front deltoids, but the deep swimmers press allows you to shift the load as desired. To shift the load onto the front or anterior deltoids, keep your elbows in front of your body as you press the dumbbells overhead. Raise your elbows outward and away from the body to shift the emphasis onto your side or lateral deltoids.

Engaging Biceps

The initial movement of the deep swimmers press involves your biceps as you curl the dumbbells to shoulder level in preparation to pressing the dumbbells overhead for your desired number of repetitions. Do a full biceps workout by lowering the dumbbells to your side after each repetition.

Exercise Variations

Do the dumbbell press or deep swimmers press standing up with your knees slightly bent and feet approximately hip-width apart so you are properly balanced.
Brace your core and abdominals to protect your spine, and don't over arch your back as you press the dumbbells overhead. Alternatively, perform either exercise sitting on a stability ball, and engage your core muscles to stabilize your body and the ball.