The Arnold Press — form, muscles worked & benefits | MuscleSquad

icon Jun 11, 2024 - Cameron Brierley

How to perform an Arnold Press

The Arnold Press is a versatile shoulder exercise that can be performed with a pair of dumbbells and a weight bench. It was popularized by bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger himself and is trained in gyms around the world. Here’s how to perform the exercise with personal-trainer-approved form, along with the muscles worked and how it’s different to your traditional shoulder press.

Performing an Arnold Press with perfect form

Muscles worked in the Arnold Press

The Arnold Press is a compound shoulder exercise, so the primary muscles worked are the anterior and lateral deltoids — more commonly known as the front and side delts. Due to the twist involved during the lift, you also activate your posterior deltoids—or rear delts—which are a commonly-overlooked aspect of people’s shoulder routines.

There’s also some minor activation in other parts of your body, most notably your traps, forearms and triceps.

The Arnold Press is a compound lift, not to the level of the bench press but it’s certainly an effective exercise for building all-round strength in your upper body.

Arnold press vs traditional shoulder press

Why make the extra effort to perform an Arnold Press on your push days when you could just do a standard shoulder press?

Well, it’s always good to mix up your routines and there are some distinct benefits to the Arnold Press. The first is that it activates your rear delts more effectively due to that rotation during the lift, which is a part of the shoulders that often gets neglected due to it being less visible. On top of that, an Arnold Press increases your shoulder flexibility. The rotation is great for toughening up the rotator cuffs and developing more rounded shoulders.

The traditional shoulder press, on the other hand, is preferred for hitting your front and side delts hard if you’ll then be targeting your rear delts in another exercise. It’s easier to lift heavy and progress up in weight with the traditional shoulder press, but we’d recommend incorporating the Arnold Press into your routine every now and again for a little twist (quite literally!) in your schedule and to strengthen your rear delts and shoulder mobility.

  • How to perform an Arnold Press

    Jun 11, 2024 - Cameron Brierley

    How to perform an Arnold Press

    The Arnold Press is a versatile shoulder exercise that can be performed with a pair of dumbbells and a weight bench. It was popularized by bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger himself and is trained in gyms around the world. Here’s how...

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