The Arnold Press is a great variation exercise to add to the end of your main shoulder workout. The Arnold Press works your whole shoulder muscle, with emphasis on the front deltoid coming from the twist at the lowest point.

arnold press muscles usedBuilding big shoulders helps with the aesthetic look of your upper body and sets the tone for the tapered effect of both your arms and your torso. In essence, you can use the Arnold Press to create that V shape that is so commonly desired.

The strength you will build also helps with big lifts, such as Military Presses and Bench Presses. Shoulder strength and stability is very important in these lifts.

In this tutorial, you will learn the proper technique of the Arnold Press so that you can complete it with confidence and safety. Completing the Arnold Press properly will mean the best results for you while avoiding the potential for injury.

The most important part of the exercise is to keep your upper arms parallel to the ground at the lowest point and throughout the twist. This keeps the tension on your deltoids all the way through.

We have a full video tutorial below to show you the fine form points of the exercise. Also, if you need something to print off and take to the gym, you can find our step-by-step exercise walkthrough further down this page.

Arnold Press – Step-by-step Technique

    • Step 1: Sit on a bench, with either a slight decline from 90 degrees or completely vertical.
    • Step 2: Hold the dumbbells on your knees to start, then kick them up into a normal shoulder press position, with your arms at 90 degrees and the dumbbells level with your ears.
    • Step 3: Breathing out and squeezing the grip as tight as you can, press the dumbbells up overhead, bringing them slightly in front of your head.*Tip: You can touch the dumbbells together at the top of the movement to make sure you get the squeeze into your shoulders.
    • Step 4: Breathing in, lower the dumbbells back down to the start point, then rotate them inwards in front of your face.*Note: At the lowest point, your upper arms should be parallel to the floor and your palms facing you.
    • Step 5: Breathing out, rotate your arms back out and press the weight upwards as in step 3. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps and sets.

** Pro Tip #1: We recommend you go slightly lighter in weight than with a normal shoulder press.
** Pro Tip #2: We recommend starting the Arnold Press with 12-15 reps for 3 sets after you have done a bigger shoulder exercise.

Check out the One-Armed Dumbbell Row next, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.


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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the Arnold press