Dumbbell Power: Your Way to a Stronger Body

Are You Wanting a Strengthier, Fitter, and Leaner Body with Just Dumbbells

Wanting to use dumbbells alone as the solution for building strength, fitness and leanness in one move? Try the dumbbell clean and press! This fantastic exercise works your entire body at once to help build muscle, burn fat, improve power output, endurance levels as well as identify any muscle imbalances or weaknesses which exist within.

We will show you the proper way to perform a dumbbell clean and press, its benefits for you, the muscles it works on, how many sets and reps to perform and how you can vary or switch it up with other exercises.

dumbbell glute exercises

How to Do the Dumbbell Clean and Press

A dumbbell clean and press can be completed using either one or two dumbbells at the same time, as shown here with two dumbbells being used as examples. We will demonstrate using two, but you could certainly attempt it with only one instead if desired.

Step 1 – Grab Dumbbells and Set Your Back

To start, grasp one dumbbell in each hand, keeping them near your ankles. Keep arms and back straight while pushing hips back and bending knees as part of preparation.

Tip: Your hips should sit slightly higher than your knees, with an upright chest position.

Step 2 – Push Away the Floor

To begin this exercise, begin by pushing away from the floor. Don’t allow your hips to rise faster than your chest; aim to stand up quickly before pulling both dumbbells to your shoulders in one swift movement before landing in a squat position.

Tip: As you stand up, keep your hips down so they rise at the same rate as your chest.

Step 3 – Pressing Weights Overhead

Come up from your squat position. Assume you are at the top, with both weights on your shoulders. Keeping your arms straight, press them overhead with straight arms while maintaining tight core tension and not arching your back too much.

Tip: Leg power can help assist with pressing weights overhead, but don’t ease off too easily – keep pushing hard!

Step 4 – Lowering Weights Down Complete one rep by slowly bringing both dumbbells back to your shoulders before returning them to a floor- or hang position (see image below). That completes one exercise set.

Tip: When working your legs and upper body simultaneously, bring the dumbbells down all the way to the floor or stop at mid-thigh level (hang position). Either option will provide more effective workout for legs while option two targets more upper body muscle groups.

dumbbell hamstring exercises

What Muscles Does a Dumbbell Clean and Press Work On?

A dumbbell clean and press exercise targets almost all of the major muscles in both your front and back body – in other words, it is an all-over body workout!

At the core of it all is your body – with muscles working from below up! From your legs, the calf and quad muscles work in collaboration with dumbbell hamstring exercises and dumbbell glute exercises for muscles in your butt to lift weights off the floor (or hang position) and extend hips.

Your abdominal and lower back dumbbell exercises for muscles provide stability to your spine as you extend your hips and stand up tall.

Your upper back muscles work hard to shrug and pull weights to shoulder level, while hand and forearm muscles secure strong grip strength; additionally, bicep muscles in your arms also get involved.

Pressing is the final exercise in any exercise routine and works the shoulder, upper chest workout dumbbells without bench and tricep workout with dumbbells for muscles of your arms while your core supports you as you push weights overhead.

dumbbell lat exercises

Why Is Dumbbell Clean And Press Beneficial for Me?

Dumbbell clean and press exercises can provide many health benefits. For instance, they can improve strength, power, endurance, coordination, balance, mobility and calorie burning among many other elements of fitness. Here are a few specific advantages it provides:

  • Enhances strength and power: Dumbbell clean and press is a challenging exercise that utilizes multiple muscles at once to produce maximum force for increased strength and power in many different ways. Doing it regularly can make you stronger and more powerful over time.
  • Dumbbell clean and press is an intense exercise that quickly burns a large number of calories; its rapid nature allows your heart rate to increase and oxygen to be used more efficiently, helping you burn more than with easier exercises – helping you lose fat faster while maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Improves one side: Dumbbell clean and press can help address any imbalances or differences between your left and right sides, such as weakness or flexibility issues on one side being weaker or less flexible than another. Using dumbbells enables each part of your body to work equally – helping identify any problems or weaknesses more quickly and address them appropriately.
  • Dumbbell clean and press are great way to strengthen the entire body while making shoulders stable: Dumbbell clean and press training is designed to work every part of the body from head to toe, strengthening legs, core, back, arms and shoulders simultaneously. Furthermore, overhead pressing helps your shoulders remain steady which prevents injuries as well as improve your pressing performance.
  • Improve Your Movement: Dumbbell clean and press is a natural, intuitive exercise which mimics human actions such as picking objects up off of the floor and lifting them overhead, helping your body become more mobile, flexible and athletic in general – which may come in handy during other activities and sports!
chest workout dumbbells without bench

Who Should Perform Dumbbell Clean and Press Exercise?

Dumbbell clean and press exercises are beneficial exercises for anyone aiming to improve their fitness regardless of age, gender or goals; they’re particularly recommended for:

  • Athletes: Dumbbell clean and press training can make athletes better by increasing explosiveness, endurance, coordination, balance and mobility. Furthermore, this lat workouts with dumbbells helps prevent injuries by strengthening muscles and joints for various sports movements such as jumping, throwing and sprinting.
  • Weightlifters: Dumbbell clean and press can be an invaluable way for weightlifters looking to hone their technique, strength and power for barbell press or jerk lifts. Furthermore, it may help address muscle weaknesses which could impede progress or lead to injuries.
  • Bodybuilders: Dumbbell Clean and Press exercises can be an invaluable way for bodybuilders looking to add muscle size and shape across their bodies. Plus, the exercise helps burn off calories and fat which in turn makes muscles appear more defined.
  • Fitness enthusiasts: Dumbbell clean and press can be an enjoyable yet rigorous workout for anyone interested in improving their general fitness. It can help individuals become stronger, more powerful, more durable, more coordinated, balanced and mobile; plus they will burn more calories quickly. It can even give people who exercise frequently a nice body by targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Sets and Reps for Dumbbell Clean and Press

Your sets and reps for dumbbell clean and press will depend on what your goals, physical fitness level and preferences are – here are some general rules to keep in mind:

  • For strength: If your goal is to build strength in the dumbbell clean and press, consider using heavy weights (80-90% of what is possible for one repetition) with low reps (1-5 per set) per set; rest longer between sets (2-5 minutes).
  • For muscle size: If your goal is to increase muscle size through dumbbell clean and press, it’s best to use medium weights (60-80% of what can be lifted in one rep) with higher reps (6-12 per set) while resting between sets less frequently (1 to 2 minutes). In order to stimulate your muscles more thoroughly.
  • For endurance: If you want to increase endurance with dumbbell clean and press, focus on using light weights (40%-60% of maximum rep lift capacity) with high repetitions (16-20 per set). In between sets (ideally within 30 seconds or less), take short rest breaks so as not to lower heart rate.
triceps workout with dumbbells

Dumbbell Clean and Press Variations

The dumbbell clean and press is an adaptable exercise that can be modified in many ways to meet your personal goals or needs. Below are a few common variations you could try:

  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Clean and Press: For an alternative approach to this exercise, this variation involves using only one arm at a time while holding onto a dumbbell for balance in your other hand. It will challenge core and shoulder stability as well as one side strength and coordination.
  • Alternating dumbbell clean and press: This variation involves performing each repetition with one arm at a time while switching sides mid-rep. This variation can test endurance, coordination and balance more intensively than with traditional exercises.
  • Dumbbell Hang Clean and Press: For an effective change, this variation involves performing this exercise from a hanging position (mid-thigh level), rather than on the floor. This change makes the exercise easier on legs while challenging upper body, especially upper back muscles.
  • Dumbbell Power Clean and Press: For an alternative version of this exercise, attempt performing it without landing in a squat position after each clean. Instead, catch the dumbbells on your shoulders with legs slightly bent before standing up – this may make the exercise harder for power and explosiveness while being easier on knees.
  • Dumbbell Push Press: For this variation of the exercise, add some leg power when pressing weights overhead. This may make using heavier weights easier while strengthening and expanding shoulder muscles as well as helping triceps develop their strength more rapidly and easily.

Looking for alternatives that work similar muscles or provide similar benefits as the dumbbell clean and press?

Here are a few alternatives you could try:

  • Barbell Clean and Press: This original form of the exercise utilizes a barbell instead of dumbbells to help increase weightlifting capacity and become proficient with Olympic lifts, but requires additional skill, mobility, and equipment to implement effectively.
  • Kettlebell Clean and Press: For an alternative take on this exercise using kettlebells rather than dumbbells, consider switching up to using kettlebells as opposed to dumbbells for this routine. It offers more grip challenge and wrist mobility while offering smooth transition from clean to press exercise; however it requires more practice and coordination from you in order to reap maximum results.
  • Dumbbell Thruster: This hybrid exercise combines dumbbell front squat and push press exercises, targeting all areas of your body with more emphasis placed on legs and quads; it requires greater mobility and endurance than either exercise alone.
  • Dumbbell Snatch: This exercise involves quickly lifting a dumbbell from the floor to overhead in one fluid movement, providing a challenging workout for your whole body with particular emphasis on back chain and trap muscles. While it requires speed, skill and coordination to achieve results it’s also considered one of the more frequently Asked Questions about it (FAQs). Typically Asked Questions (FAQs).

Below are answers to frequently asked questions and concerns regarding dumbbell clean and press.

How Can I Choose the Appropriate Weight for Dumbbell Clean and Press Exercise?

Your weight choice for dumbbell clean and press will depend on your desired goals, fitness level, and what exercises you enjoy doing. As a general guideline, select a weight which allows for the number of reps desired while challenging you enough to advance in skill development.

Your one-rep max (the maximum weight you can lift in one rep for dumbbell clean and press) can be determined through various means, including calculators or formulas online or with helper; once you know this number, percentage-based training can help determine how much weight to use during different sets and reps.

Example: If your one-rep max for dumbbell clean and press is 100 pounds per hand and you want to do 3 sets of 5 reps as part of strength training, using 80-90% of that maximum, which would equal 80-90 pounds per hand, will suffice.

How can I improve my technique on the dumbbell clean and press?

Mastering the dumbbell clean and press is an arduous task that takes practice and feedback to master successfully. Here are some strategies for getting better at it:

  • To establish proper form, begin with light weights or none at all until you master the appropriate movement.
  • Separate each part (clean and press) before combining them all into one exercise.
  • Watch videos of experts performing the exercise or hire a coach or trainer to teach and correct you during the exercise.
  • Focus on maintaining flat back, chest up, core tightness, elbows high, wrists straight, shoulders stable, knees in line with feet on ground, head straight throughout your exercise.
  • To perform this exercise correctly, avoid any jerking, swinging, bouncing, arching, rounding, or twisting movements. * Breathe correctly during each rep of a clean or press exercise by taking in breath before beginning and exhaling after completion.
dumbbell only workout

What are some common mistakes to avoid on the dumbbell clean and press?

This exercise can become problematic when not executed correctly; here are a few common errors to watch out for:

  • Starting too far away from your body with dumbbells may cause them to be pulled in an irregular path and lose power and balance, leading to curves in their path as you pull.
  • Allowing hips to rise faster than chest can cause rounding back to occur more frequently and lose force and stability.
  • Pulling or dropping dumbbells too high or low, which could put them in an unstable or harmful position.
  • Pressing dumbbells too near to or behind your ears – which could cause arching your back too far or decreasing shoulder stability.
  • Dropping dumbbells too quickly or too forcefully can injure both yourself and damage equipment or floors.


The dumbbell clean and press is a powerful exercise designed to work your whole body and strengthen, fitter, and leaner with just two dumbbells. Furthermore, its flexibility means it can be changed or tailored specifically to meet individual needs, likes or goals – whether that means athletes, weightlifters, bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts can gain significant benefit from adding the dumbbell lat excersices to their routines.

About the author

Jo Castanio

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