How to One Rep Max Dumbbell Press

In Praise of One Rep Maxing for Dumbbell Press

Safer, more fun, interesting and independent than one rep max bench pressing:

My suggestions

Simple ideas:

  1. Start off with some dynamic stretching warm up for your shoulders. I like dive bombers, yoga moves, pigeon pose, crane, etc. Also the ‘broomstick stretch’ is a good one.
  2. When you are working up to your one rep max, you just need to do 1-2 reps of the dumbbell press. I also recommend going up in 10 pound increments.
  3. What weight to start at? I say work up 4 sets to your maximum weight. For example if my maximum one rep max attempt is around 100 pounds for dumbbell press, I start off with 1-2 reps of 60 pounders, to 70, to 80, to 90, and then I attempt 100.

In praise of a ‘neutral’ grip.

Use the ‘hammer’ or ‘neutral’ grip when doing dumbbell press. Less strain on your shoulders and a more natural and direct movement.

Arch your back

The more you arch your back the more leverage you got and the more weight you can move.

Also when you cannot get the weight back up again, just bail the weights off to the sides.

What do you do once you’ve hit a one rep max with the heaviest dumbbells at the gym?

Then I recommend switching over to floor bench press and striving to increase your one rep max in that instead!

Deadlifting 420 pounds (four 45-plates on each side, with a 2.5+5 pounder)
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