Arnold Press Form

The One Exercise You Should Be Doing to Grow Your Shoulders, Says a Trainer

If your shoulder workout doesn’t include the Arnold press, then you’re missing out on some serious gain. This upper-body strength exercise is one move you want to include in your workout routine.

The Arnold press works and strengthens all the three heads of your shoulders and the upper back muscles.

It’s one exercise guaranteed to strengthen and sculpt the shoulder muscles. But like any exercise, you have to perform it with proper form to reap all the benefits. 

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What Is the Arnold Press?

It’s a shoulder workout named after seven-time mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Arnold press is a variation of the conventional shoulder press. 

Unlike other shoulder presses, the Arnold press works all the three heads of your deltoid muscles in your shoulders:

  • anterior deltoid
  • lateral deltoid
  • posterior deltoid 

In addition to working the shoulder muscles, this move also works the triceps and trapezius muscles. 

And if you perform the standing Arnol press variation, you’ll also work your core muscles. 

If strong, sculpted shoulder muscles are a fitness goal for you, this is one exercise you want to add to your shoulder routine. 

Learn how to perform this move with proper form.

How To Do The Arnold Press Sitting

Dumbbell Arnold Press
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand using a neutral grip. Your palms should be facing in. 
  • Set up a sturdy bench and sit on it with your back flat and core engaged. With control, slowly curl up the dumbbells one at a time to your chest level. This is the top biceps curl position and it’s where you start. 
  • Press up the dumbbells, rotating your dumbbells so you end up with straight arms and palms facing forward. 
  • Slowly bring them back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 10 reps and aim 2-3 sets. 

How To Do The Arnold Press – Standing

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and core engaged. Curl up the dumbbells to your shoulder height and let your palms face your body.
  2. In one motion, press the dumbbells up overhead until your arms are straight and your palms facing away. 
  3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Aim 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets. 

Tips: Keep abs and core engaged to avoid overarching low back. If you are not able to perform 10 repetitions of this exercise, your weights are too heavy. You may need to consider using lighter dumbbells until you gain more strength in your shoulders. Also, be sure to take deep breaths. Exhale on the overhead press part of the move.

Final Take

The Arnold press is a killer shoulder move. It will tone and strengthen your deltoids, the triangular muscles on top of your shoulders.

Because this exercise involves multiple planes of motion, you’ll get the benefit of improving your range of motion and targeting several muscle groups. 

Performing the Arnold press also leads to a stronger core and better stability as your upper body is forced to engage and develop strength. 


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