The Arnold press is the infamous Arnold Schwarzenegger’s variation on the traditional dumbbell shoulder press. He created this exercise to target the three key muscles in the shoulder in one fluid movement.
For shoulder gains, this exercise is not to be missed.
How to perform the Arnold press
You can do this sitting or standing. Sitting will encourage better target muscle isolation.
Start with a dumbbell in each hand, sitting upright on a bench with your back firmly against the back rest.
Curl the dumbbells up in towards your chest, with your wrists facing your body and your elbows bent. The dumbbell start position should be just above your upper chest with your elbows tucked in.
To perform the exercise; simply raise the dumbbells up over your head, rotating them on the way up so that your arms are fully extended over your head and your wrists are now facing forward.
Pause at the top, before lowering the dumbbells back down to start position through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.
Arnold press: Common mistakes to avoid
Avoid twisting or tilting your torso in any direction. Maintain good posture throughout the exercise.
As always; sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your Arnold press with incorrect form, it is likely that you will poorly engage the intended muscle groups. Poor muscle engagement will hinder your gains at best and result in injury at worst.
When performing the exercise; always keep the muscle you intend to work in mind. This is the ideal way to ensure best results. Use the illustration above as a guide.
Reps and sets
The Arnold press should be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond the Arnold press...
More shoulder exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of shoulder exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.