Of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s many accomplishments, this one doesn’t rank particularly high. Still, not only did it allow him to name an exercise after himself—the Arnold press—it’s also a uniquely effective move. While Arnold was experimenting with ways to spark new shoulder growth, he rein­vented the overhead press, twisting the palms from facing backward to facing forward. He found that this better targets your front delts than conventional overhead presses. Like its namesake, this exercise travels a unique path. Add it to your shoulder routine.

Arnold Press: Tip sheet

  • Hold two dumbbells under your chin, your forearms perpendicular to the floor, and your palms facing you.
  • In the same motion, press the weights up and rotate your elbows back, as if doing a normal shoulder press.
  • In the top position your arms are up but not locked. Your palms are facing forward.
  • You’ll have to use less weight than you do for regular dumbbell presses, but it’s crucial that you do full, controlled reps that begin with your elbows in front.

Arnold’s shoulder routine

EXERCISE                          SETS         REPS

Arnold press                        4–5            8–10
Standing side lateral          4–5            8–12
Seated rear lateral            4–5             8–12
Cable side lateral              3–4            10–12        

Pro tip: “To focus more on my shoulders and less on my triceps, I stop just short of locking out at the top of my reps.”

Arnold’s career highs

  • 1970-1975, 1980: 7-time Mr. Olympia
  • 1968-1970: 3-time Pro Mr. Universe
  • 1967,1969: 2-time Amateur Mr. Universe