How to do an arnold press

Sculpt shapely shoulders with an Arnold press

Posted by for Workouts

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: Arnold press.

Having strong shoulders is important; strong deltoids are the cornerstones to building toned arms and good upper body strength. There are few better exercises to target the shoulder quite like the Arnold press.

What exactly is an Arnold press and what muscles does it work?

An Arnold press is a bit like an overhead press, except for the fact that you’ve got a wrist rotation going on as you lift the dumbbells above your head. It’s great because it:

  • Improves posture: This move targets the muscles at the tops of your upper arms, which helps you to build more defined shoulders that are better able to retract –helping you to improve posture.
  • Gets the shoulder cuff moving: This exercise sees your shoulders’ rotator cuff moving in order to rotate the arms and therefore weights.

Which muscles are worked?

This move primarily targets the shoulders and arms, including:

  • Anterior deltoid (outside shoulder)
  • Lateral deltoid (lower shoulder)
  • Serratus anterior (ribs)
  • Triceps brachii (backs of the arms)

How to do an Arnold press

Remember, this is like a shoulder press but with a rotation.

  1. Sit or stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your weights up to collar bone height, with the weights pointing horizontally (bulky ends pointing out at the sides, not in front). Your palms should be facing your body. Brace as you lift and as you do so, start to rotate the weights so that your palms now face out from you.
  3. Straighten out the arms to lift the dumbbells directly over your shoulders.
  4. Come back down, rotating back the way you came so that you end with your palms facing you.

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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