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Arnold Press

This Shoulder Exercise Adds a Twist to the Dumbbell Shoulder Press and Targets your Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles

Welcome to our Arnold Press Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you'll learn how to do this shoulders exercise using the correct technique. Below you'll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Routines.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this deltoid and trapezius exercise made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name:Arnold Press
Main Muscle:Deltoid
Secondary Muscle(s):Trapezius, Chest, Triceps
Exercise Type:Compound, Push
Equipment Required:Dumbbells, Bench

Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulders exercise is one of our dumbbell exercises and is a variation of the Seated Military Press (and more specifically the Dumbbell Shoulder Press). You'll start holding dumbbells facing your body and rotate your wrists outwards as you complete the lift to hit your deltoids and traps from a different angle. 

arnold press
arnold press

To Perform This Exercise:

  1. While sitting on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand on top of your thighs.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to chest height one at a time by kicking upwards with your thighs to create momentum and move the weights into position. The dumbbells should held perpendicular to your body at your shoulders with your palms facing inwards. This is your starting position.
  3. To begin the lift, exhale and push the dumbbells upwards, fully extending your. As you press the weight, rotate your wrists outwards so that your palms are facing away from your body at the top of the repetition. The dumbbells should be very close, but not touching.
  4. Pause for a moment, then inhale and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position, rotating your wrists inwards again as you lower the weight.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. This shoulder exercise is not recommended for those with shoulder problems.
  2. The exercise is pictured on a flat bench, but a short-backed bench or military press bench may be preferred. Back support will allow you to use more weight but does not engage the back stabilizer muscles.
  3. Focus on keeping your back straight and squeezing your traps at the top of the lift.

Now that you've seen the Arnold Press, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises. Or, view our most popular shoulder exercises and other related pages below.


Most Popular Deltoid and Trapezius Exercises:

Check out some of our other popular Shoulder Exercises and Variations:


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