Forgotten Exercises: The See-Saw Press

S&Hfeb45-Sig Klein

I was flicking through some old strength magazines during the weekend and came across a lift that I doubt many of us are familiar with. Called the ‘Seesaw’ press, it is essentially a standing dumbbell shoulder press but instead of pressing both dumbbells at the same time, you alternate between reps. As you lower one dumb-bell, you press the other in a rhythmic movement without swaying the body.

It’s a simple modification to your standard shoulder press but one that adds a remarkable amount of difficulty to the lift and really gets the shoulder’s firing. It can be done with kettlebells or dumbbells, with the only limit being your strength.  Sigmund Klein, pictured above, used to do this exercise with 100lbs in each arm, meaning you have no excuse to use pink dumbbells with this one. Try 8 reps on each arm starting out for a few sets and build from there.

If you’re still confused, the video from military athlete shows how to complete the exercise with strict form.


Happy lifting!

3 thoughts on “Forgotten Exercises: The See-Saw Press

Add yours

  1. “Old exercises have never died since about 1890, they just acquire new names” lol

    In 1972, at age sixteen, I learned what I never knew until today has also been called “the see-saw” press by its name “alternate dumbbell press” from a couple of York Barbell’s popular and widely read courses.

    Consequently, I recognized it being done in a seated version when I saw the unknown sweatshirted guy doing “alternate dumbbell presses” in the photo on page 163 of my 1974 paperback edition of Gaines’ and Butler’s “Pumping Iron”.

    I suspect that, while use of this press variation, and general awareness of it, gradually vanished after 1980, many if not most of those of us who’d already been training by the time the book was published in 1974 needed no explanation of the exercise when it appeared in that page 163 photo?

  2. When I first started weight training seriously back in 1964, I acquired a useful little book entitled The Book of Strength by the ill-fated William Lindsay Gresham. On the dust jacket, there was a picture of a guy performing this exercise, and for the half-century or so that free weights dominated my workouts, I always assumed it was just a customary DB exercise. I never realized that it had become “retro” or that it had a name. However, I eschewed the body bending show in the accompanying illustrations and tried to maintain an erect stance.

Tell Me What You Think!

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: