Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Standing Arnold Press Overview

The standing Arnold press is a slightly more advanced variation of the seated Arnold press as it requires more core stability, and is an exercise utilized to build shoulder muscle size and strength.

The Arnold press, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, is an exercise used to target every single head of the deltoid.

The exercise is best used by those seeking aesthetic benefits due to its long time under tension, but can also be used as an accessory movement by those attempting to build strength.

Standing Arnold Press Instructions

  1. Set up for the exercise by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and standing up with your feet around shoulder width apart.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height on each side, and twist so that your palms are facing your body.
  3. The dumbbells should now be positioned in front of your shoulders. Your back should be straight and there should be a slight bend in your knees. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  4. Slowly raise the dumbbells above your head while rotating your wrists so that your palms face forward.
  5. Keep raising the weight until your arms are almost fully extended.
  6. Do not pause at the top of the movement. Instead, begin lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position - rotating at the wrist until your palms are facing your body once again.
  7. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of reps.

Standing Arnold Press Tips

  • Always use a full range of motion and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  • If you have lower back problems, it is best to perform this exercise seated, with a backrest.
Peter White
Posted on: Mon, 11/29/2021 - 11:43


Love your site. You list this as a compound exercise yet state there are no secondary muscles used. Wouldn't that make this an isolation exercise?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/29/2021 - 19:28

Hi, Peter, The fact that the shoulder and elbow joints are involved is what makes this a compound movement. However, the triceps will also be involved to an extent. Thanks for pointing that out.