Arnold Dumbbell Press to Build Massive Shoulders

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dumbbell arnold press tutorial

Arnold Schwarzenegger is credited for having popularized many exercises. Here is a brief guide to help you understand and start practicing the Arnold dumbbell press.

The DB Arnold press is also known as rotating shoulder press and dumbbell shoulder press with pronation. It is a form of strength training that works on the shoulder muscles. While the primary muscles are the shoulders, the Arnold press with dumbbells also work on the triceps, what we call secondary muscles in strength training or workouts involving free weights.

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Getting Started

You would need a pair of dumbbells, an exercise bench and enough space to sit and lift the weights straight up. The weight of the dumbbells can be as light as ten pounds and as high as hundred pounds. Pick what suits your level of fitness and strength.

The Arnold dumbbell press exercise requires an intermediate level of fitness so those who are new to the gym or have just started exercising shouldn’t even attempt this shoulder exercise. Only those with strong arms and at least four or six months into their strength training routine should try the Arnold shoulder press with dumbbells.

How to Do Seated Arnold Press Correctly


  • Take your position on the exercise bench. Sit and make sure you have enough support for your back. Don’t sit in any position where there is no back support. You must keep your back in a normal position when you are sitting on a chair or bench.
  • Don’t stretch your legs as you wouldn’t get the required support. Don’t squeeze and fold your legs backward, underneath the bench or chair. That will disturb your poise. Have a straight and upright poise supported by the backrest.
  • Hold the two dumbbells in front at the level of the upper chest. The palms must be facing you, and the elbows must be bent. Keep your arms right next to your torso, as if you are holding the weights in a restive state. The folded arms and contracted biceps will give you a comfortable start, without effort. This is the starting position.
  • Now, raise the weights upward and as you do so rotate the palms so they face forward by the time you are holding the dumbbells high above your head, as much as you can take them up without getting up from the bench. As your arms are fully extended, your palms must be facing against you and you must have breathed out completely.
  • Lower your arms, reversing the rotation of your palms, so they face you by the time they are at your upper chest, and you must breathe in during the lowering of the dumbbells. Start with ten reps a set for three sets.

There are variations of the Arnold dumbbell shoulder press. You can stand up and perform the standing Arnold press, but it is riskier so avoid it if you have low back pain or if you are not completely fit, agile and very strong.

If you haven’t tried this movement before, I strongly recommended. It provides a full training for your delts to build muscle and strength.

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Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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