How to Do the Arnold Press for Fully Developed Shoulders

An workout’s identify doesn’t in most cases hang an excessive amount of price past summarizing what it’s or the way it’s achieved. The bench press has you mendacity on a bench whilst urgent. The barbell row has you, smartly, rowing a barbell. Squat’s gonna squat. But if a particular workout variation is known as after a person lifter or trainer, … Learn extra
The publish How one can Do the Arnold Press for Absolutely Advanced Shoulders gave the impression first on Breaking Muscle.

An workout’s identify doesn’t in most cases hang an excessive amount of price past summarizing what it’s or the way it’s achieved. The bench press has you mendacity on a bench whilst urgent. The barbell row has you, smartly, rowing a barbell. Squat’s gonna squat.

But if a particular workout variation is known as after a person lifter or trainer, it’s in most cases a hallmark that the motion is next-level and will have to be used accordingly. John Meadows’ Meadows row, Glenn Pendlay’s Pendlay Row, Steve Romania’s Romanian deadlift (Kidding. Even if, the extra correct “Nicu Vlad deadlift” would sound lovely cool, too.)

Relating to eponymous shoulder coaching, the Arnold press is known as after the quintessential bodybuilder of all bodybuilders — the Austrian Oak, the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Right here’s an in-depth have a look at this delt-builder from the seven-time Mr. Olympia.

How one can Do the Arnold Press

The Arnold press is a variation of the usual seated overhead dumbbell press. It makes use of a distinct trail of resistance and longer vary of movement to recruit extra muscle tissue into the workout.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

Man sitting in gym holding dumbbells at shoulders
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Sit down on a bench with a dumbbell in each and every hand, resting for your thighs with a thumbs-up grip. “Kick” the burden directly as much as leisure the thumb-side of each and every weight at the fronts of your shoulders. When each weights are up, fairly decrease your elbows and rotate your fingers to have your arms going through your mouth.

You will have to virtually be within the best place of a curl, along with your palms totally bent and your pinkies going through each and every different. Stay your shoulder blades pulled again, don’t permit the weights to tug your frame ahead.

Shape Tip: Fake you’re extra-shy and concentrate on overlaying your mouth with the weights on this place. This can be a just right goal for the ground place and can assist to inspire a complete stretch and entire vary of movement.

Step 2 — Press and Rotate

Man in gym pressing dumbbells overhead
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

In a coordinated movement, start urgent the weights up and again whilst progressively rotating your fingers and palms. Because the weights transfer overhead, your elbows will have to come to the perimeters in-line along with your shoulders and your arms will have to flip to stand ahead.

Proceed urgent the weights solely overhead, bringing them in combination on the best. Within the locked out place, the weights will have to be just about touching and your arms will have to be going through forwards, similar to a typical dumbbell overhead press.

Shape Tip: Some lifters have hassle appearing the important actions concurrently. Carry out the raise slowly and concentrate on mixing the upwards and backwards motion whilst rotating your fingers. The workout will have to in the end really feel easy and herbal.

Step 3 — Decrease to Your Chin

Woman sitting in gym holding dumbbells near shoulders
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From the locked out place, opposite all the procedure. Deliver the weights down whilst transferring your elbows to the entrance and rotating your arms against your face. Within the backside place, the weights will have to once more be in entrance of your mouth.

The ground place will have to once more resemble the highest a part of a curl along with your palms bent and your arms going through your head.

Shape Tip: Just like the urgent movement, some lifters have hassle appearing the motion in opposite order. Move slowly and concentrate on mixing each and every step to carry your elbows down and ahead.

Arnold Press Errors to Steer clear of

Since the Arnold press comes to such a lot of transferring portions, there are a number of commonplace method errors which is able to cut back the effectiveness.

Rotating Your Palms, No longer Your Hands

The Arnold press isn’t merely “turning your fingers whilst you press the burden,” as a result of turning your fingers doesn’t essentially trade the attitude of your shoulder, which means that you’re no longer essentially recruiting extra parts of the deltoid (shoulder).

Man outdoors performing dumbbell shoulder press
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The higher palms, no longer simply the fingers and wrists, want to transfer all through the clicking. Transferring the higher arm, which is managed through the shoulder and higher again, is what adjustments the urgent perspective and will increase muscle recruitment.

Steer clear of It: Ensure your elbows transition from pointing forwards (within the backside place) to pointing to the perimeters (within the best place). Your fingers will have to rotate as a herbal facet impact of transferring your elbows.

The usage of a Brief Vary of Movement

Appearing an workout with a brief vary of movement has been proven to construct much less measurement and power in comparison to a complete vary of movement. (1) The prolonged vary of movement of an Arnold press is certainly one of its defining options, and chopping that vary of movement brief will considerably cut back its advantages.

Man in gym lifting dumbbells
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Some lifters stay the weights at eye-level somewhat than reducing to their mouth, or they don’t rotate their elbows again in-line with their shoulders and as a substitute stay them angled fairly forwards, or they will keep away from locking out on the best. All of those are errors that may cut back the full muscle-building stimulus.

Steer clear of it: Be mindful 3 key issues: Get your fingers in entrance of your face on the backside, have your elbows in-line along with your shoulders on the midpoint, and feature the weights just about touching at lockout.

Advantages of the Arnold Press

The Arnold press is known as after some of the biggest bodybuilders of all time and it’s been used persistently for many years, so it’s going to be a “lovely just right” selection for including muscle.

Man sitting in gym pressing dumbbells overhead
Credit score: Ihor Bulyhin / Shutterstock

Listed here are a couple of extra causes so as to add this entire muscle-builder to any higher frame exercise.

Lengthy Vary of Movement

In comparison to the usual dumbbell shoulder press, the Arnold press extends the variety of movement a number of more inches. This added vary will increase the stretch, in particular at the entrance delt muscle, and is a sturdy stimulus for extra enlargement.

Shoulder Measurement

The Arnold press is a major delt-building workout. The variability of movement and very long time beneath rigidity cause muscle enlargement in all the shoulder, in particular the entrance and facet heads, with some help within the higher again and traps.

Muscle groups Labored through the Arnold Press

The Arnold press is essentially a shoulder workout, however because of the burden’s trail of movement, the higher again or even the biceps play a task in executing the motion.

Bodybuilder flexing back, shoulders, and arms
Credit score: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

By way of controlling the weights from in entrance of the frame to the perimeters, muscle tissue are recruited in a singular approach, which calls for some extent of shoulder and higher again mobility but additionally delivers extra muscle enlargement.


The deltoids, or shoulders, are composed of 3 separate heads of the muscle — the anterior/entrance, lateral/facet , and rear. Each and every head has a fairly other position dictated through the arm’s place relative to the frame. The entrance delt lifts the arm in entrance of the frame, the lateral delt controls the arm out to the facet, and the rear pulls the arm again at the back of the frame.

Because of the movement of the weights, the Arnold press recruits all 3 delt heads considerably, with greater emphasis at the entrance delts which paintings extraordinarily laborious when the burden is within the backside place.


The triceps are made of 3 separate heads — the lengthy, the lateral, and the medial. Whilst the lateral and medial heads connect to the higher arm, the lengthy head connects to the scapulae (shoulder blades), with each and every head being recruited when the arm is in more than a few positions relative to the frame (down through your aspects, directly in entrance of your frame, overhead, and so on.). (2)

The triceps develop into extremely activated all through the Arnold press when the weights are kind of ear-level and are recruited to press into the lockout place.


The biceps, consisting of the lengthy head and the quick head, are keen on bending or flexing the arm in addition to rotating the forearms. The lengthy head, in particular, additionally performs a task in elevating the higher arm in entrance of the frame.

The biceps aren’t activated all through usual shoulder presses, alternatively, the Arnold press recruits the biceps as stabilizers to regulate the burden all through the decrease part of the workout when the arm is bent and circled into the overhead place.

Higher Again

The higher again is a collective time period for more than one muscle tissue working from shoulder to shoulder and across the shoulder blades, together with the trapezius, teres main and minor, rhomboids, and rear deltoids.

The higher again supplies balance all through the clicking and is actively engaged to tug the palms backwards all through the Arnold press.

Who Must Do the Arnold Press

The Arnold press is a slightly complicated shoulder press variation that can be utilized through any lifter who can grasp its efficiency. 

Lifters Coaching to Construct Muscle

The Arnold press places the shoulder via a very long time beneath rigidity, which is proven to be a major factor for constructing muscle. (3) This intense workout will upload measurement in your shoulders, palms, and higher again.

How one can Program the Arnold Press

The Arnold press can play a task in any muscle-building regimen, particularly as some of the first workouts carried out in a shoulder-focused exercise.

Average Weight, Average Reps

Coaching this vintage bodybuilding workout with a vintage bodybuilding manner of 3 to 4 units of 8 to twelve reps is a competent plan to develop wider delts. You’ll want to use a gentle, or fairly gradual, rep velocity and take each and every set to thorough muscular fatigue.

Mechanical Drop Set Methodology

One complicated muscle-building method that may be very efficient with the Arnold Press is mechanical drop units. It’s a approach to proceed coaching a frame section after achieving muscular failure on a particular workout.

Whilst conventional drop units permit persevered coaching through the use of a lighter weight, mechanical drop units use the similar weight and turn to a fairly much less difficult, just about equivalent, workout to in an instant proceed coaching.

For instance, when you carried out a suite of Arnold presses to muscular failure the use of 40-pound dumbbells, as a substitute of briefly grabbing 25-pound dumbbells and appearing extra Arnold presses, you possibly can in an instant start appearing usual overhead dumbbell presses the use of the similar 40-pound dumbbells.

Since the vary of movement with usual overhead dumbbell presses is shorter than with Arnold presses, the workout is slightly much less difficult and it is possible for you to to accomplish a number of further repetitions prior to hitting muscular failure once more. This high-intensity method lets in extra overall quantity to be carried out, which is able to building up the exercise’s muscle-building stimulus.

This similar method works for any comparable workouts, like front squats and again squats, incline bench press and flat bench press, or dumbbell curls and hammer curls.

Arnold Press Diversifications

The Arnold press may also be slightly complicated, however there are a number of choices to coach the shoulders with equivalent measurement and power advantages.

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press

The seated overhead dumbbell press is a vintage motion to coach the shoulders and triceps. It’s an immediate urgent workout to paintings the shoulders and triceps.

This workout is an easy and efficient approach to educate the overhead press with out over the top method cues like status balance, greater vary of movement, or different variables.

Arnold Push Press

The Arnold push press is a status variation which makes use of planned leg power, versus subconscious dishonest leg power, to transport the burden from the ground place.

This help means that you can use heavier weights whilst incorporating extra overall frame power and gear.

Arnold Z Press

The Arnold Z press combines an workout named after some of the biggest bodybuilders of all time (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with an workout named after some of the biggest strongmen of all time (Zydrunas “Giant Z” Savickas). So, yeah, it’s almost certainly value testing.

Sitting unsupported at the ground forces your core to be lively right through the workout and removes the facility to cheat the motion with momentum, making it an especially targeted shoulder workout.

Arnold Press Choices

No longer all lifters can carry out the Arnold press, frequently because of shoulder mobility problems. There are some efficient possible choices to ship similar effects.

Impartial-Grip Overhead Press

The neutral-grip overhead press maintains your arms going through each and every different and your shoulders angled against the entrance right through the motion.

This adjusted hand and elbow place reduces shoulder joint pressure and is the most popular urgent motion for any lifters coping with shoulder mobility restrictions.

Landmine Overhead Press

The landmine overhead press is a singular and efficient approach to educate the shoulders at an perspective, somewhat than at once overhead. This makes it extra appropriate for lifters with mobility problems.

The angled urgent trail fairly adjustments the muscle recruitment, will increase core engagement, and decreases joint pressure.


I listen my shoulder “clicking” all through the workout. Is that dangerous?

Usually talking, any noisy joints are a nuisance, however no longer an actual worry. (4) It’s frequently air transferring across the cartilage of the joint, no longer essentially the joint grinding itself into oblivion.

On the other hand, listening to noises within the joint accompanied through ache and/or irritation is a wholly other state of affairs and may also be a hallmark of imminent issues. When doubtful, get checked through an orthopedist, physiotherapist, or certified skilled.

It’s named after a bodybuilder, so is it just for large, jacked bodybuilders?

No, any lifter who desires extra muscular-looking shoulders can have the benefit of the Arnold press. Similar to any lifter who desires more potent glutes and hamstrings can have the benefit of the deadlift although it’s some of the aggressive powerlifts. You don’t want to be a aggressive powerlifter to have the benefit of it.

The extra workouts you have got on your toolbox, the extra choices it’s important to fine-tune your individual coaching program to succeed in no matter targets you’ve set. Experiment and be informed a number of actions – “bodybuilding” workouts, Olympic raise permutations, gymnastic-type bodyweight exercises, no matter you suppose could be helpful.

Simply make sure to use just right method and sound coaching ideas, and also you’ll handiest recover in the end.

Do The Arnold Press. Do It Now.

The Arnold press received’t essentially flip you into an elite bodybuilder, and it unquestionably received’t flip you into an motion superstar, however it’ll come up with an intense shoulder exercise and pack measurement onto your delts. So it’s time to terminate the justifications and get to paintings.


  1. Pallarés JG, Hernández-Belmonte A, Martínez-Cava A, Vetrovsky T, Steffl M, Courel-Ibáñez J. Results of vary of movement on resistance coaching diversifications: A scientific evaluate and meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports activities. 2021 Oct;31(10):1866-1881. doi: 10.1111/sms.14006. Epub 2021 Jul 5. PMID: 34170576.
  2. Kholinne E, Zulkarnain RF, Solar YC, Lim S, Chun JM, Jeon IH. The other position of each and every head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2018;52(3):201-205. doi:10.1016/j.aott.2018.02.005
  3. Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, et al. Muscle time beneath rigidity all through resistance workout stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional artificial responses in males. J Physiol. 2012;590(2):351-362. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200
  4. Pazzinatto, M. F., de Oliveira Silva, D., Faria, N. C., Simic, M., Ferreira, P. H., Azevedo, F. M., & Pappas, E. (2019). What are the scientific implications of knee crepitus to folks with knee osteoarthritis? An observational find out about with knowledge from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Brazilian magazine of bodily treatment, 23(6), 491–496.

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The publish How to Do the Arnold Press for Fully Developed Shoulders gave the impression first on Breaking Muscle.

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