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Mastering the Arnold Press

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
October 18, 2017
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Slay your front delts with the Arnold press. Arnold Schwarzenegger is legendary, a literal god, in the bodybuilding industry. He worked tirelessly every day in the gym continually seeking out ways to stimulate muscular growth and improve his physique. One exercise that he improved upon was the overhead press. He added rotation and different positioning of the elbows to the exercise which made it very effective for targeting the front delts instead of the mid-delts (like you would with a regular overhead press).That’s how this epic exercise got its name. Because YOU are on a quest for improved muscular mass in your shoulders, you should add this exercise to your shoulders routine.

How To Do The Arnold Press:

  1. Secure a bench that has a back support.
  2. Select the appropriate weight of dumbbells for you. Hold them in front of you at upper chest height, directly below your chin, with your elbows bent and your palms facing your body. Your upper arms will be very close to your mid-section and perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Begin by raising the dumbbells straight up while you also rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing away from you. The two movements should be happening simultaneously.
  4. Continue the lift until your arms are fully extended above your head, but don’t lock out your elbows.
  5. Pause at the top of the movement and then begin to lower the dumbbells to their original position. This means you will again have to rotate your palms, but this time back toward you.
  6. That is one repetition. Repeat this exercise for the recommended number of reps.

Trainer Tips:

Make sure that you warm your shoulders up adequately before beginning this exercise. It requires a lot of movement from your rotator cuffs, so you don’t want to jump on a heavy set before getting some blood flowing to your muscles. You will likely have to drop the weight for this exercise when compared to the weight you use for overhead presses.

Sample Exercise Plan:

  • Warm up 5-10 minutes on the treadmill


  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Cross body arm stretches

The Workout:

  • Side lateral raises 3 sets of 12
  • Seated barbell military press 3 sets of 12, 10, 8
  • Smith machine upright rows 3 sets of 12, 10, 8
  • Arnold press 3 sets of 12, 10, 8
  • Rear delt fly 3 sets of 10
  • Front raises 3 sets of 12
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