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Dumbbell Clean and Press Your Way
To A Stronger and Fitter Physique

Dumbbell Clean and Press

Introduction - What Is a Dumbbell Clean and Press?

The Dumbbell Clean and Press is a two-part power movement that incorporates the exercise patterns of the Dumbbell Squat, the Dumbbell Deadlift, and the clean press. This compound full-body exercise requires lifters to use two dumbbells.

This clean press exercise is the younger brother of the Barbell Clean and Press, a weightlifting exercise that was dropped from various competitions because it was thought to be too hard to master and assess technique.

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Dumbbell Clean and Press Your Way Up
To A Stronger and Fitter Physique

Who Am I?

Psymon H

I'm Psymon H, your online training partner, and workout motivator. In this Dumbbell Clean and Press master class, I will show you how you can become great at performing this power movement. Are you still wondering why you should add this exercise to your training program if all you want to do is build muscle?

If you want to build strength while becoming fitter and more durable, you would be silly not to add this compound lift to your strength training workout.

Thought to be more forgiving and easier to learn than its barbell counterpart, this dumbbell clean press exercise offers you a better range of motion than the barbell version, and more muscle activation with less stress on the wrist, knees and shoulders.

dumbbell deadlift benefits

Let's Break Down This Power Movement:

The first part of this clean press exercise (the dumbbell clean) uses momentum, strength, and a little skill to pull the dumbbells from the floor to a fully standing position (the deadlift), down into a full squat, and back up into the standing position. The second part is the clean press portion before returning to the start position.

If you're looking to expand your list of strength training exercises or your strength-training program, this is a power movement and lift you simply can't afford to miss.

What Muscles do Dumbbell Clean and Press Work?

What muscles does the clean and press work? It might be easier to draw up a list of muscle groups this weightlifting exercise doesn't cover because there aren’t many muscle groups not targeted by this clean press movement. Here is a list of muscle groups involved in this dumbbell clean and press exercise.











Upper Chest,


Erector Spinae Muscles,

External Obliques.

How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press:

How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press - Position 1Position 1
How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press - Position 2Position 2
How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press - Position 3Position 3
How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press - Position 4Position 4
How To Do Dumbbell Clean and Press - Position 5Position 5

Items Needed: two dumbbells 

Cue 1: Start with feet set hip-width apart and place a dumbbell on either side of you on the floor.

Cue 2: Keeping your back as flat as possible, hinge at the hips, bend down and pick up the dumbbells using a neutral grip.  

Cue 3: Rising your hips and shoulders at the same time, stand up in an explosive fashion while using the power of your leg muscles to lift the dumbbells

Cue 4: As the dumbbells travel upwards, extend at the hips. Shrug your shoulders before ducking to catch both dumbbells at the bottom of the squat.

Cue 5: To complete the clean portion of the movement, stand up and fully extend your knees and hips.

Cue 6: Keeping your legs static, maintain a hip-width stance, a flat back, and an engaged core. Press both dumbbells overhead until your arms fully extend above your head. 

Cue 7: Slowly lower the dumbbells to the rack position on your shoulders.

Cue 8: Lower the dumbbells to the floor to complete your first dumbbell clean and press.

The Dumbbell Clean Press Checklist:

1: To maintain control of the dumbbells, always grip them in the center.

2: To start, have your shoulder slightly in front or over the dumbbells.

3: Maintain a lumbar curve

4: When exploding into the standing position, always lift your shoulders and hips together and quickly extend your hips.

5: You must keep your heels firmly on the floor until you extend your hips and legs.

6: Follow the shoulder shrug with a pull under with your arms.

7: Dumbbells land on the shoulders at the bottom of the squat.

8: With the dumbbells on your shoulders, complete a full knee and hip extension.

romanian deadlift

Drills to Learn and Common Mistakes To Avoid:

For some lifters, this exercise can be challenging to learn all in one go. Good technique is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the exercise movement and promote safety.

My best advice is to set aside some time each week to practice until you feel confident enough to add it to your strength training workout. Here's a great place to start. Below I've broken down the exercise into bite-size easy-to-learn drills.

Drill One -The Start Position: We're going to start without the dumbbells. We're also going to work from the knees up rather than bending to the floor.

Cue: Stand with feet set hip-width apart and push your hips back until your arms hang just below the knees. All we're going to do is jump up to an upright position. Do this for two sets of 10-15 repetitions. What you're doing is understanding the power element of the exercise by opening up the hips in an explosive manner.

Drill Two - Adding The Shrug: The next drill is to add the shrug element to the top of the extension. The focus here is to keep your toes on the ground and learn to transfer the power into your shoulders with an aggressive shrug.  

Cue: Get back to the start position with feet directly under the hips and push your glutes back until your hands travel just below your knees. Shrug your shoulders at the top of the extension. While your heel may come off the ground, try to keep your toes in contact with the floor. Do this for two sets of 10-15 repetitions focusing on the shrug at the end of the extension.

Drill Three: Choose a light pair of dumbbells and repeat drill two. Keep your elbows loose so the dumbbells float up next to you at the top of the shrug. Try not to pull the dumbbells up but instead guide them up with bent elbows. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions or until you feel as if you have this part of the movement down.

Drill Four-Foot Work: After you've mastered the first three drills, you're going to work on getting under the dumbbells. We're going to do this without the dumbbells.

Cue: Stand on your toes (feet hip-width apart) with your shoulders by your ears. Quickly drop into the squat while bringing your arms up to shoulder level. This drill will get you used to getting under the weight. Practice this for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 

Use the dumbbell Clean and Press video below to help you understand each drill.

Choosing Urethane and Rubber Dumbbells For Your Home Gym

rdl with dumbbells

dumbbell sumo deadlift

What are The Benefits of Dumbbell Clean and Press?

As this lift targets many muscle groups, the first obvious benefit to the dumbbell clean is that it builds strength, power endurance, and conditioning. Here is a list of more benefits below...

Dumbbell clean and press benefits

1: It increases grip and wrist strength 

2:  Activates the stabilizer muscles

3: Improves and increases pulling power which can transfer to pulling more weight during major back exercises.

4: Develops additional squatting power

5: Increases arm, core, and leg strength

6: Boost conditioning when performed in a higher repetition range

7: Boost timing and speed skills

8: Increases and improves unilateral strength by encouraging muscle symmetry

9: Tackles muscle imbalances

10: It's a full-body workout

11:  This clean press exercise uses a full range of motion 

DB RDL Exercise

Choosing The Best Dumbbell Set With Rack 5 50 lb. Combo

Dumbbell Clean and Press Reps and Sets:

To get full neuromuscular benefits while building strength and power without compromising form, do three sets of 5-6 repetitions. This should only be carried out after a full warm-up and placed near the beginning of a workout session.

If your goal is to build muscle size and endurance, you should do 3-4 sets of 10-20 repetitions each.

When performing the Dumbbell Clean and Press, pay attention to your body. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise immediately. Choose a weight that will allow you to control the exercise.

Dumbbell Clean and Press Alternatives:

Once you've mastered the Dumbbell Clean and Press, you could move to the Single-Arm Dumbbell Clean and Press. While this variation can correct any strength discrepancies between the left and right sides, it also offers a much sterner challenge to your stability because you are only using one dumbbell. 

You could also try the kettlebell versions. The Kettlebells will challenge grip strength, control, and core stability.

Thank you for reading our Dumbbell Clean and Press article -

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