Video Demonstration

In this article, we a going to cover the Cuban Press.

This exercise is made up of several different movements. These include the upright row, overhead press and external rotation of the shoulder.

Building a strong pair of shoulders will help limit your chances of injury and increase the weight you can lift on many other pressing lifts.

In this article, we will have a step by step description on how to perform the movement with video and image examples.

Its difficulty level, the different equipment required, the muscles that get worked, its benefits, some training tips and the benefits of including it into your training routine.

Cuban Press How to Guide

Image Example

example how to do the Cuban Press

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Grab a dumbbell with each hand using a pronated grip(overhand with the palms facing towards you) while in a standing position. Hold the dumbbell 6 to 8 inches wider than shoulder width.

Step 2: Move your arms outwards to the side until your elbows have a bend of 90 degrees and the dumbbells are hanging straight down. (commonly known as the scarecrow position)

You are now in the starting position to perform this exercise.

Step 3: Move your upper arm 180 degrees by externally rotating your shoulders. Rotate your upper arms until your wrist is above your elbows and your forearms are perpendicular to the floor.

Step 4: Extend at your elbows and straighten your arms pressing the weight overhead to perform this portion of the lift.

Step 5: Reverse the steps you have just taken to return the weight back to the starting position while breathing in.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Difficulty Level

The Cuban Press is an intermediate training exercise.

It requires you to have a strong understanding of the upright row, shoulder press and externally rotating your shoulder.

If you have never performed the upright row or shoulder press you should spend several weeks learning those lifts before progressing to this one.

Equipment Required

To perform this exercise, you will need a pair of dumbbells.

If you do not have a gym membership check out these adjustable dumbbells, you can get from Amazon.

It is best to get an adjustable set for both room and price.

Muscles Worked

The primary muscles worked by this movement are your Traps, Infraspinatus, Lateral Deltoid, Supraspinatus and the Teres Minor.

The secondary muscles used are your Triceps and Forearms.

Benefits from the Cuban Press

The Cuban Press will strengthen your rotator cuff and the scapular muscles.

Training with this exercise will help you to strengthen your shoulders and reduce the chance of injury.

According to Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S. the exercise will also contribute to making you better at movements like the pull-up, push-up, and other pressing exercises.

Works your smaller internal shoulder muscles that control the rotational movement of your joint.

  • Training Tips

  • Keep your elbows out when performing the initial pull.
  • When you are doing the pulling portion, maintain the weight close to your body.
  • Start light and slowly work your way up to heavier weights. This exercise can do some serious damage if you attempt to lift outside of your capacity.
  • Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement and stand with an upright torso.
  • Remember this lift is not for moving maximal loads. It is to strengthen your internal shoulder muscles.
  • A side benefit is that it will help you to increase the weight you can move on the compound movements like overhead press and bench press.
  • Variations of the Cuban Press Exercise

  • Lying Cuban press
  • Gym ball lying Cuban press
  • Standing four-point press
  • Barbell Cuban Press


The Cuban Press is a good exercise to use to help strengthen your shoulders.

Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that work to stabilize your shoulder and allow it to rotate.

Strengthening this part of your body will help increase many different lifts and limit your chances of damaging your shoulder.

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