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The Arnold Press: Ultimate Exercise For Your Shoulders

The Arnold press
The Arnold press is a weight training variation of the standard overhead press exercise. Arnold press as the name suggests is invented by the legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. This exercise is more effective than its other variations because it target’s all three major shoulder muscles. This exercise helped Arnold in his bodybuilding days to achieve broader and muscular shoulder muscles.
This exercise does not require heavy weights as it keeps your muscle under tension for a longer duration due to its high range of motion.

Muscles Involved:

This exercise primarily targets the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid muscles. The secondary muscles which work during this movement are the triceps, biceps, trapezius, pecs, lats, and forearm.


1) Builds a Muscular Physique

This exercise is great for people who want to build an aesthetic physique. This move keeps your muscles under tension for a longer period compared to the traditional overhead press. The Arnold press is a compound exercise therefore it targets many groups together which promotes lean muscle mass in your body.

2) Primarily Target’s Your Shoulders

Strengthening your shoulder muscles enhances your appearance and helps you in your daily activities. Shoulder muscles are great supporters for your bicep and tricep muscles while performing weight training exercises.

3) Improves Your Posture

During this move, your back muscles act as stabilizers to maintain your form. The Arnold press can be performed either by sitting or standing hence both forms helps you in improving your posture.

Equipment Required:

1) You need a set of dumbbells with weight according to your fitness level.
2) You need an adjustable or flat bench.

How To Perform:

1) Sit on an adjustable or flat bench with your back straight and feet wide. Hold the dumbbells in each hand and bring them in front of your shoulders with your palms facing you. This is the starting position for the Arnold press.
2) Pull your shoulders and brace your core. Move your elbows in a lateral direction while twisting your hands so your palms face forward.
3) Lift the weights above your head using your back and shoulders muscles. Breathe in while lifting the dumbbells. Without locking your elbows at the top, hold the position and return by lowering the weights back to the starting position. Breathe out while lowering the dumbbells.
4) This is one repetition of the Arnold press exercise. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions with 30 seconds of intervals.

Common Mistakes:

1) Locking Elbows

The most common mistake that you can do during this movement is locking your elbows while lifting the weights above your head. Locking your elbows will generate stress in your elbow joint and can cause injury. Remember to keep your elbows slightly bent at the top.

2) Heavy weights

Lifting weights higher than your fitness level in this exercise is not a good thought as the movement involves rotation of your wrist and a great range of motion. Doing any mistake while lifting heavy weights can cause severe damage to your joints and muscles.


1) Standing Arnold Press

The standing Arnold press is performed mostly when there is no bench available to perform the seated version. This exercise is a lot harder than its variations as you have to maintain the form without any external support.
The standing variation target’s overall back muscles to stabilize the movement. You can also perform this exercise if you have gained experience with the seated variation.

2) Dumbbell Overhead Press

The dumbbell overhead press is the original exercise from which these variations are invented. This move is great as it builds a base for beginners before performing harder variations.
In the dumbbell overhead press, your wrist remains fixed throughout the repetition. This leverage gives you the freedom to use heavy weights. You can perform this exercise by either standing or sitting on an adjustable or flat bench.

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