The Arnold press is a great shoulder exercise. Popularized by Schwarzenegger, it’s an overhead press where you start by holding the dumbbells in front, palms facing you. As you press up, you twist the dumbbells around until your palms are facing away from you at the top.
It’s a monster at building strength and size. It hits the anterior and medial delts hard and even nails the rear delts to a certain extent. It’s superior in range of motion and time under tension to its more basic cousin, the dumbbell overhead press.
But what if there was a better way to do it, a version that lets you use more weight and fixes some common mistakes? Enter the Arnold push press:
Here’s why you need to be doing it:
- It gets you viciously explosive!
- It lets you use more weight.
- It improves your ability to stay tight and maintain tension.
This variation also fixes a lot of common errors in the traditional Arnold press. Standing combined with a heavier weight will force your core to stay rock solid. The explosive nature of the drive from the knees will force you not to bring the dumbbells too close at the bottom. It also prevents you from over-supinating the wrists.
Make either of these mistakes and you’ll notice that the lift becomes significantly slower. Perform it correctly and you’ll press through at lighting speed, giving you the thick powerful delts you’re looking for.
How to Program Arnold Push Presses
These should be done at the beginning of your workout. If you’re looking to improve explosive power, then do these at the very beginning for 3 sets of 5 when your nervous system is fresh.
If you’re more concerned with hypertrophy, do these as your second movement after a barbell lift. About 3-4 sets of 5-10 reps would be good.
Use a slightly heavier load than your traditional Arnold press, but not too heavy. You’ll be able to go heavier, but the goal is to be violently fast.