Dumbbell curls to overhead presses use your biceps, triceps and shoulders.
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Complexes are pairs or groups of exercises that have been combined to create a new exercise. For example, barbell front squats into an overhead press are called thrusters while a squat followed by a push-up and a squat jump are called burpees. The squat to overhead press might not have an unusual name, but it is still an effective, time-efficient exercise.
To execute this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should be by your sides with your palms facing inward. Bend your arms and, as your elbows pass 90 degrees of flexion, rotate your hands into a palms up position. Continue raising the weights to shoulder-height. Press the weights up and overhead to full arm extension, rotating your palms to face forward as you do so. Lower the weights by reversing this action. Inhale as you raise the weights to your shoulders and exhale as you press them up overhead again.
The curl to overhead press uses several major upper body muscles. The action of curling the weights from full arm extension to your shoulders primarily uses your biceps brachii, however, your brachioradialis and brachialis also play important roles. Pressing the weights overhead targets your triceps brachii and deltoid muscles, specifically your anterior or front deltoid. Your medial and posterior deltoids are also involved in this exercise but in a synergistic or assisting capacity.
The biceps curl to overhead press can be performed using an alternating arm action, using just a single dumbbell at a time. You may also remain seated instead of standing. If you prefer, try doing the exercise on a low cable machine. Although the movements and muscles involved are otherwise similar, these alternatives can be used to provide variety to your workout.
Raising a weight from below waist-height to overhead is a complex feat that requires good coordination as well as a strong core. Do not use a weight that is too heavy, otherwise you may be forced to try and swing or jerk the weight up, which may lead to injury. It is better to perform fewer reps or use a lighter weight than perform this exercise using an incorrect and potentially dangerous technique.