The Dumbbell Z Press, also called a Dumbbell Floor Overhead Press, is one of my favorite shoulder pressing movements. It forces the lifter to actively engage the core to maintain their position, giving it a unique added benefit over other shoulder presses.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Dumbbell Z Presses including important coaching tips, muscles worked and a few alternative exercises.
How To Do Dumbbell Z Presses
- Shoulders (all three heads of the Deltoid)
- Abdominals (as stabilizers)
- Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front.
- Brace the core and raise dumbbells to shoulder level (or have a partner hand them to you).
- Make sure your posture is good and your core is tight before trying to press.
- Press the dumbbells to full extension overhead.
- Lower the dumbbells back down to the shoulders and repeat until all reps are completed.
The Dumbbell Z Press demands hamstring flexibility and core stability to maintain the body position while pressing. Deficits in either of these areas will greatly hinder your ability to be able to do Z Presses.
Make sure to maintain a vertical torso throughout the movement so that you’re pressing the dumbbells directly over the ears.
Strength Trivia: The Z Press got its name from legendary strongman Zydrunas Savickas who made the lift popular.
How Many Reps?
I generally program Dumbbell Z Presses as 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 reps each.
Dumbbell Z Press Alternatives
Need an alternative for Dumbbell Z Press? Maybe you don’t have dumbbells or maybe you’re struggling to keep yourself upright. Whatever the reason, here are a few exercises you may be able to use as a replacement.
Don’t have dumbbells? The Overhead Press is always a great choice for an overhead pressing movement.
Of course, you can always sit on the floor and do Barbell Z Presses as well.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press is an excellent option as a Z Press alternative if you’re really struggling to keep yourself upright while doing Z Presses.
Continue to work on your hamstring flexibility and/or your core strength and come back and try Z Presses again once you’ve improved in those areas.
More Links and Info
If you’d like to see more upper body exercises, check out the Upper Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of chest, back and shoulder exercises – all with step-by-step instructions.