The Arnold Press

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by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercises: Arnold Press

Muscle Groups: Anterior Deltoid, lateral deltoid, supraspinatus, triceps

Importance: It is important to work all muscles in different planes of motion, including your shoulders, and this exercise will do just that! The Arnold Press is a more dynamic exercise than a traditional overhead press, activating more muscles and giving you a better shoulder workout.

Proper Form:

Begin in the seated, upright position on a bench with the dumbbells positioned out in front of your shoulders

Your palms should be facing your body with your elbows under your wrists

Start the movement by beginning to move your elbows out to your side

While you are still moving those elbows out, begin to press the dumbbells up vertically overhead

Your elbows should only go out to a point slightly behind your ears

When your arms are pressed completely straight overhead, you have completed the concentric part of the movement

To return to the start position, you must completely reverse the movement from end to beginning until you have returned to where you began the movement


When pressing, place more emphasis on the horizontal abduction of the shoulder (moving your elbows from the midline out to your side) than the pronation (outward turning) of the forearm

Maintain a neutral spine throughout the press

Sample Workout:

Shoulder Burner!

  • Arnold Presses x12
  • Lateral Raises x2
  • Arnold Presses x10
  • Lateral Raises x4
  • Arnold Presses x8
  • Lateral Raises x6
  • Arnold Presses x6
  • Lateral Raises x8
  • Arnold Presses x 4
  • Lateral Raises x 10
  • Arnold Presses x2
  • Lateral Raises x 12

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