How to Perform the Arnold Press

Arnold Schwarzenegger performing the Arnold Press.

The Arnold Press is a shoulder exercise performed with dumbbells to build bigass cannon-ball shoulders. The shoulders (or deltoids) are a three sided muscle and will need to be worked evenly to develop big and round shoulders. The Arnold Press was developed by Arnold Schwarzenegger to simultaneaously work all three heads of the shoulder (in laymans terms the front delt, the side delt, and the rear delt) at the same time, whereas a standard dumbbell overhead press will put more emphasis on the front delts, little (if any) emphasis on the side delts, and no emphasis on the rear delts. The Arnold Press is an all-in-one exercise. However, the benefits are only seen when the Arnold Press is performed correctly, which rarely happens.

The Arnold Press is probably the most misunderstood exercise in existence. It is one of the best shoulder exercises but is continuously performed incorrectly. Today we will learn how to correctly perform the Arnold Press so we can build up some bigass cannonball shoulders.

The Arnold Press is the most common name of the exercise, but there is another name for this exercise: The Scott Press. It is also called the Scott Press because Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia, developed the exact same exercise to turn his small, little shoulders into show-stopping behemoths. The Arnold Press/Scott Press will put some meat on even the smallest of shoulders, if performed correctly.

The most common way to perform the Arnold Press is to start with two dumbbells in your hands and hold them in front of your chest with palms facing in, pressing the dumbbells over head while simultaneaously rotating the hands so that at the top of the movement your palms face away from your body and using a full range of motion. This method completely ignores the intricacies of the movement and doesn’t give the same results as performing it correctly does.

The correct way to perform the movement as described by both Larry Scott in the video below and by Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. It is a rather awkward movement looking much like a Chicken flapping its wings while pouring tea from a tea-pot. Below is the correct way to perform the Arnold Press/Scott Press as described the Larry Scott himself:

Starting Position for the Arnold Press/Scott Press

Ending Position for the Arnold Press/Scott Press

Photos: Larry Scott, Mr. Olympia 1965

Now get in the gym and build those suckers up!

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