Arnold Press

Arnold Press

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulder Press

Arnold Schwarzenegger invented what is now called the Arnold Press or Arnold Dumbbell Press as an effective shoulder exercise. In fact, Arnold himself called it "the best shoulder exercise he knows of". To do it right so as to maximize its potential, you will have to follow instructions very carefully. If you are a beginner bodybuilder, the Arnold Press may present you with a small challenge. You may also have heard of or maybe tried some other variations on the Arnold Press which include the Olympic Press, Bradford Press and Military Press.

Here is a complete explenation about the Arnold Press and about shoulder presses in general. To learn more about my training, my nutrition, my supplements, and bodybuilding in general, visit the start page of this website or use the navigation menu at the top.

First I will explain and show you in the picutres below how to do the Arnold Press, I am using 15kg doumbells for this exercise:

Starting Position:

Take 2 dumbbells and place them in front of your shoulders, palms facing your way and the elbows same line as your wrists.

Arnold Press Exercise

Execution Step 1:

Start the motion by taking elbows out to the sides.

Arnold Press Example

Execution Step 2:

Keep raising your elbows outward while pressing the dumbbells over your head till your arms are straight. Then go down the same way while turning your wrists back to normal and repeat.

Arnold Shoulder Press Example

Description about the Arnold Press Exercise:

As I already mentioned, the Arnold press was brought to us by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a unique exercise due to the motion involved with this exercise. This exercise is targeted on both, the front and side area shoulders. The start is extremely working the front side of the shoulders hard. When palms are twisted in an outward motion, the exercise begins to work on the front and side of your shoulders. It's extremely important that you learn the right technique when doing this exercise. Begin with light-weight doumbbells and get an understanding for this kind of shoulder press prior to using heavy weight.

Arnold Press VS Shoulder Press

what is the difference in between regular dumbbell shoulder press and the Arnold press?

When performing the Arnold Press you useualy sit down on a straight bench, identical like when performing the normal shoulder press, also called overhead shoulder press. When you perform normal shoulder press you increase the focus on your inside shoulder muscles. When doing the Arnold press, there is less side delts (shoulders) work and because of that the Arnold press is better for your front delts and upper chest. If you want to train your side shoulders and bring them out more, then you should do standard shoulder presses. So when it comes to Arnold press vs shoulder press, do the mix of both and also make sure to do military press.


When training shoulders you should be very careful with your body, if you will injure your shoulder even once then you will suffer for a long long time and will probably need to take a break from all kind of exercises like bench press and other types of presses. You should start off with low weights and learn the motions well and listen to your body, and whenever you feel uncomfortable or any kind of pain do not keep going and better hold off or lower the weight.