Now and again, when scrolling through your social media feed, you see an exercise that makes you stand up and take notice. The Swole Press is one of those exercises. How can you not with a movement called the Swole Press? This exercise is a hybrid clean and press performed with a dumbbell and seated on a weight bench.

Olympic lifts and sprinting are the pinnacle when training and producing a powerful body. The trouble is that only some are built for one or the other and should find alternatives to train strength and power. Medicine balls are great for training power, but loading is an issue. But with dumbbells and exercises like the Swole Press, it is not.

You benefit from power with the seated clean and the strength with the seated overhead press. What’s not to love about that? Here, Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, deadlifting ninja, co-founder of Cressy Sports Performance, and founder of Core Collective, introduces you to an exercise with the coolest name ever.

What is The Swole Press Exercise

“The Swole Press is an exercise I picked up from “Coach Swole” via Twitter several months back, and I instantly became a fan because, come on…it’s called the Swole Press. Sure, technically, it’s nothing more than a Clean-to-Press, but if there was ever an exercise named to speak to anyone’s inner meathead, this is it. Performing this exercise seated instead of standing is beneficial because by sitting, you take joints out of the equation (ankles, knees, hips, lower back), allowing you to use more weight.

In addition, the Swole Press is great because the exercise has an explosive element at the start. You’ll recruit more motor units by “cleaning” the dumbbell off the floor from a dead-stop position. This lets you lift more weight and helps train power, which is integral to hypertrophy or muscle gain. Plus, by performing this exercise one side at a time, you’ll also increase the demands on your core musculature as you have to “fight” more to stay upright and limit the amount of leaning involved, ” Gentilcore explains.

How to Perform the Swole Press Exercise

Note: Squeezing your free hand throughout the set to help increase full-body tension and help prevent excessive leaning.

  1. Start from a dead-stop position with a dumbbell on the floor and hinge your upper body to grip the dumbbell with your shoulders down.
  2. Use momentum to pull the dumbbell off the floor as fast as possible (think: explosive shrug), transitioning from an overhand grip to a neutral grip as the dumbbell approaches your chest/shoulder area.
  3. Without pausing, immediately press the dumbbell overhead until your elbow locks out.
  4. Pause for a split moment and then return the dumbbell to the floor in a controlled fashion.
  5. Reset and repeat for desired reps and switch sides.

Set and Rep Suggestions

Gentilcore suggests this is an excellent accessory exercise after International Bench Press Day because it targets the traps, delts, and triceps. Three to five sets of three to five repetitions per side will have you looking swole.