Arnold Press

Exercise / Shoulders

How to do Arnold Press

Arnold Press

For this exercise you will need a bench with a back support and two dumbbells of an appropriate weight for your level of expertise, fitness and strength.

Starting Position: Position yourself on the bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest height. In the starting position, your back should be straight, the dumbbells should be at shoulder level and the palms should be facing the body.

Form: Make sure that your palms are facing your body and your elbows are bent. Your arms should be in close to your torso.

  1. Making sure you are inhaling, raise the dumbbells while at the same time turning your hands so that the palms now face outwards.
  2. Exhale slowly while continuing to raise the dumbbells until your arms are stretched above you and your elbows are locked.
  3. Pause for a count of two at the top of the movement, and then start to lower the dumbbells while inhaling. Lower the weight slowly and in a controlled manner with your palms facing your body.
  4. This, as before, has now become your starting position. Then raise the dumbbells as you rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward, keeping your elbows in.

Do the required number of repetitions of the same movement.

Tip: Ensure that you work slowly, and get a full 180 degree rotation going through both hands and arms.

Arnold Press Benefits

  • The Arnold press is one of the rare shoulder exercises developed by Arnold Schwarzenegger that works the 3 heads of the deltoids (front of your shoulders, lateral deltoids, posterior deltoids). This exercise is done with dumbbells to work the triceps muscle group in your upper arms, including the trapezius, rotator cuff, and delts in your upper body.
  • Remember that the Arnold press is a more advanced variation on the overhead press. This exercise works many muscles in the shoulder, but because of the rotation it requires, it may be a more risky exercise than a overhead press if you have shoulder discomfort. Be careful not to increase the weight too much to get efficient results with Arnold press. If you experience shoulder pain or shoulder injury consult your doctor or a personal trainer before continuing the exercise.

Arnold Press Muscles Worked

The Arnold press primarily works all the deltoid muscles, including the anterior, medial, and posterior. At the same time, the supraspinatus, levator scapula, serratus anterior, trapezius, and triceps muscles are involved in movement to aid balance, support, and stabilization.

Target - Anterior Deltoid (Lateral and Posterior)
Synergists - Supraspinatus
Synergists - Triceps
Synergists - Trapezius
Synergists - Serratus Anterior
Dynamic Stabilizers - Triceps, Long Head
Stabilizers - Levator Scapula
Stabilizers - Trapezius, Upper
arnold press muscles worked

In a study on the Shoulder press alternatives, the Overhead press and the Arnold press, it was concluded that the Arnold dumbbell press is a more effective exercise for activating the Anterior and Medial deltoid muscles compared to the Overhead Dumbbell Press. It was also found that the anterior deltoid muscle activation was much higher than the Medial Deltoid while performing both exercises.

Arnold Press Variations

arnold press

Arnold press Muscles Worked 1