What it strengthens: This exercise is excellent for strengthening the upper body. The prime movers are the pectorals (chest) and triceps, but there is also quite a bit of anterior deltoid (front of shoulder) and core strengthening that takes place.
Equipment needed: Incline bench or adjustable bench and a set of dumbbells.
Modifications: If you find that this exercise is too difficult, a quick way to make it easier would be to press both dumbbells up simultaneously. This allows for more force production because the rotational stress on the core is eliminated. Two quick ways to make this exercise more difficult would be to: 1) grab heavier dumbbells, and 2) try performing this exercise on a stability ball which will require even more core stabilization and balance.
Applications: There are a countless number of applications for strengthening the upper body, particularly in a pressing movement. It can apply to everything from making push ups easier to lifting up household objects. This exercise in particular provides a more functional approach to upper body strengthening because there is emphasis on anti-rotational core stability that is not a factor when pressing two dumbbells simultaneously.
Travis Guerrette B.S. CSCS, CPT