The 24 Hour Fitness Blog

The Arnie Press!

by ScottG. on April 25, 2012

Yesterday I worked out upper body with my trainer Frank. He sometimes pulls the Arnold Press out of his bag of tricks - an exercise made famous by our former California Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Every time Frank says "time for some Arnies" I get an ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach. They're darn hard and I know I'm going to be sore in a day or two. The only reason I'm willing to participate is that I realize the pain is a good pain - letting me know that my workout was productive and I'll look a smidge better in a tank top this summer.

The Arnold Press is one of my favorite shoulder exercises but don't tell my trainer Frank. As with most exercises, there are variations. I like this variation because you get the biceps and shoulders at the same time - a two for one that'll get you out of the gym faster. I also like it because you're standing so I'll also use my legs and core muscles at the same time.

If this is your first time doing this exercise, be sure to use a very light weight and get the movement down before challenging yourself.


  • Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells at your side. Start with a weight that you'd use for a shoulder press (usually less than a biceps curl).
  • Exhale as you do a standard biceps curl.


  • At the top of the curl, lift your arms to create a 90 degree bend at the elbow and rotate the dumbbells so that your palms are facing forward.
  • Press both arms up over your head for a standard shoulder press.


  • Lower the dumbbells slowly, following the same sequence back down to the starting position (the beginning of the biceps curl with your hands by your sides).
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Why it's better...
Some people think an Arnold Curl is better because you're emphasizing different parts of your shoulder muscle. While that is true, I think the most important thing is that it's something different - something to keep your body guessing and growing.