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The Dumbbell Clean and Press Exercise

The dumbbell clean and press exercise is (in my humble opinion) one of the absolute best exercises you can perform. Here’s the reason why. It is a multi-joint movement that targets all the major muscle groups in your body. Remember, an exercise that uses more muscle groups to move the weight is going to be much more efficient and effective for 1) Building muscle; 2) Developing strength and 3) Burning fat.

The dumbbell clean and press is a movement that will work your quadriceps (front of the thighs), glutes (buttocks), hamstrings, hips, back, shoulders, triceps (back of the upper arms), and biceps (front of the upper arms).

This is a full body movement so take a bit of time to practice the motion before using any weight. Please study the photos and watch the video at the end of this tutorial before you begin.

Ready Position

Bottom Position

Cleaned Position

Pressing Position

Position for the dumbbell clean and press

Place two dumbbells in front of your feet. Stand up straight, retract your shoulder blades and keep your back straight. Keep your head level and eyes forward. Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart.  

How to perform the dumbbell clean and press

Bend at the knees and without rounding your back, pick the dumbbells up from the floor using both hands. In one fluid motion stand up while “cleaning” both dumbbells up to shoulder level.  Using your arms, press both dumbbells up over your head until your arms are extended (upwards). Lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder level and while bending at the knees, squat back down to lower the dumbbells back down to the floor. Repeat this movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.   


Breathe in as you pick the dumbbells up and breathe out as you bring them to your shoulders. Breathe in as you press the dumbbells upwards and breathe out as you lower the weight back down to your shoulders.   

Important points for dumbbell clean and press

- If you have never performed the dumbbell clean and press before, practice it using no weight for the first few times until you are comfortable.

- Remember, don’t round your back while picking up and lowering the weight. Bend at the knees only and use your legs to stand up (and not your back).

- Try not to look up or down as this may cause you to lose your balance.

- Keep your feet flat on the ground

Video for the dumbbell clean and press

Over his 30 plus years of experience, Blake Bissaillion has worked with nationally ranked body builders, power lifters and fitness professionals. In this time he has picked up volumes of applied knowledge that he openly shares with his clients. Mr. Bissaillion’s objective is to help as many beginners to weight training and fitness to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals while getting into their best possible shape. Mr. Bissaillion owns and operates Belly Be Gone, a fitness company that offers fitness and nutritional guidance and products.

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