Arnold press

Why should you do Arnold Press

As the name suggests, the exercise was created by none other than Mr. Schwartzenegger himself. The exercise is a classic dumbbell press, which mainly loads the part of your shoulders, with an outward rotation that is good for the middle and back of your shoulders. So you train all three components with this exercise, even if the front is trained the most. You also get a longer movement trajectory by starting the movement with the dumbbells in front of the chest compared to the classic shoulder press that holds them over the shoulders.

Training Details for Arnold press

  • Primary Muscle
    Front Delt
  • Secondary Muscle
    Middle Delt, Triceps
  • Equipment
  • Level


Choose a pair of suitable dumbbells and stand shoulder-width apart between your feet. The weight should be lower than when doing the usual dumbbell press for the shoulders. You should hold the dumbbells just above shoulder height in front of your body so that the palms of your hands are facing the body. In this position, your elbows should be close to the side of your body, not pressed together in front of your body. Tighten your buttocks and core so that you get a neutral back. Pull back the shoulders and, pinch the shoulder blades together, push the chest forward slightly.

You should now make two movements at the same time. You should rotate your elbows to the side while you push the dumbbells up against the ceiling. Your elbows and hands should rotate so that your palms point straight ahead. The arms should be extended until you are extended over your head. Then you have reached the top position.

Now slowly lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height while rotating your elbows and hands. Your elbows should end up close to the side of your body while you keep your dumbbells just above shoulder height in front of your chest with your palms facing you. You have now completed the entire movement.

Remember that everything happens in a single movement, press and rotation simultaniously.

Tips for Arnold Press

  • Do not use a weight you can’t handle. You should lift less weight than with a standard shoulder press with dumbbells
  • Perform the exercise slowly
  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Rotate and lift in a single motion
  • The rotation starts immediately and ends at the top, it should last the whole movement
  • Lower the weight in a calm and slow manner, always with tension in the muscle you are exercising.

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