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Arnold's Bench Press

Arnold's Bench Press is a popular basic exercise for developing deltoid muscles. As the name implies, it came into widespread use thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who built his entire shoulder training around him. Dear friends, what do you think Arnie took anabolic steroids in the USA? I am waiting for answers in the comments under the article. This exercise has its advantages relative to the classic sitting dumbbell bench press. For example, it more strongly involves the middle bundle of the deltoid muscle, due to which the shoulders become more voluminous. Today we will figure out how to do the Arnold bench press and how to apply this exercise in our shoulder training.


Benefits and contraindications

This exercise is intended for experienced athletes who know how to properly feel the work of the deltoid muscles. Most often, it is put at the end of a workout to finally finish off the already tired front and middle bundles. Remember that shoulders are very “fond” of pumping, this is the basis of their growth. Given that before the Arnold press you did various swings, pulls to the chin, leads in the simulators and other presses, the blood supply will be enormous.

Benefits of åxercise

Its main advantage concerning the simple sitting dumbbell bench press is a small rotation of the dumbbells. This makes the middle deltas work harder. It is due to the development of the middle bundle of deltoid muscles that the visual width of the shoulders is created. It is also a good backroom for other bench press exercises. Having pumped the front delta well in this exercise, you will feel more confident at work with large weights in exercises such as the bench press lying or standing. Remember that a strong bench press is impossible without strong front deltas, and Arnold's bench is the best fit for this.


Exercise should not be performed with a heavyweight. The optimum working weight is about 25-35% less than in the classic sitting dumbbell bench press. This will reduce the burden on the shoulder joint and rotator cuff of the shoulder at the lower point when you pull the dumbbells slightly forward. Accordingly, the number of repetitions can be increased, say, to 15. Too much weight will create a heavy load on the rotator cuff of the shoulder, for an untrained athlete, this poses a huge risk of injury. A similar story is for those who already had shoulder injuries. The weights in the press exercises should be small for you, it is better to work in multi-repetitive mode. More blood supply, less risk of injury, what else is needed for a good shoulder training? Also, if you perform the exercise while standing, a sufficiently strong axial load on the spine is created. It is recommended to refrain from working with maximum weights and use an athletic belt for prevention.

What muscles work?

The main work is performed by the anterior and middle bundles of the deltoid muscles. Triceps are also involved in the movement. The supraspinatus muscles take up a small part of the load. If you perform a standing Arnold press, you also create an axial load on many of the stabilizers, including the spine extensors, hip biceps, abs and trapezius muscles.

Types of Arnold press

Exercise can be performed while standing and sitting. To perform sitting you will need a bench with an adjustable angle. Often people place their backs perpendicular to the floor, but this is not entirely correct. It’s better to make the angle slightly less than the straight, so it will be easier for you to focus on the work of the shoulders.

Option exercise sitting

Arnold's bench press is done as follows:

• Sit on a bench, press firmly against the back. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level or ask your partner to give them to you. Turn your arms with your knuckles forward. This is your starting point. Due to the rotation of the hands, the dumbbells are located a little in front, this will increase the load on the front delta.

• Start dumbbell exercise. When the dumbbells will be located approximately at the level of the forehead, begin to rotate them. The press is done on the exhalation. You need to plan the time so that you finish the turn by the time you press them at full amplitude.

• Without making stops at the top, gently lower them down. With a spread, the principle is the same - we finish rotate dumbbells at the same time as lowering. The entire negative phase of movement takes place on inspiration.

Standing exercise option

Arnold's standing press is done as follows:

• The hardest part of this exercise is to roll the dumbbells up. If you cannot do this without cheating with your whole body, then the weight is too big. Work with the weight that does not cause you discomfort when lifting dumbbells to shoulder level.

• Straighten, keep your back straight, feed your chest a little forward and up. Turn the dumbbells so that the hands are positioned with the knuckles forward. Start pressing them up in the same way as with a bench press. The most important thing, in this case, is not to help yourself with your feet. The movement should be due to the isolated work of the shoulders. There should be no cheating, deviations to the side or rounding of the spine.

• As you inhale, lower the dumbbells to shoulder level while simultaneously rotating them.

Common Mistakes When Performing Exercise

Arnold's bench press is not the most technically simple exercise from our Crossfit exercises section. Many "do not understand" him, not seeing much of a difference between it and the usual bench press of dumbbells sitting.

If you are from this number, follow the guidelines below to understand the essence of the exercise:

• Throughout the approach, the gaze should be directed strictly in front of you.

• Straighten your elbows fully at the top, but do not make long stops. At this point, your shoulders relax, and the effectiveness of the exercise falls.

• No need to beat dumbbells against each other at the top point - take care of sports equipment.

• The optimal rep range for this exercise is 10-15. This will give a good pump and create all the prerequisites for the growth of mass and strength.

• Choose the optimal dumbbell position for yourself. Do not be afraid to bring them forward a few centimetres at the lowest point. If you use a moderate weight dumbbell, it will not result in injury.

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