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


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Alternating Standing Arnold Press Overview

The alternating standing Arnold press is a variation of the standing Arnold press and 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.

Performing unilateral movements can help improve weaknesses, balance your strength and aesthetic physique, and work towards reducing injuries by addressing imbalances in the body.

Alternating Standing Arnold Press Instructions

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and assume a shoulder-width stance.
  2. Raise the dumbbells to around shoulder height, and rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing your body. This is the starting position.
  3. Slowly press one dumbbell overhead by extending the elbow and contracting the deltoids. As you press, rotate the dumbbell until your palm is facing forward.
  4. Once your arm is fully extended, begin lowering the dumbbell back down to the starting position - rotating your wrist until your palm is facing your body once again.
  5. Immediately repeat this movement with your other arm. This is one rep.
  6. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Alternating Standing Arnold Press Tips

  • Always use a full range of motion and control the dumbbell throughout the set.
  • As you press the dumbbell overhead, exhale and drive the bicep to the ear.
  • If you sense any pressure in your neck or traps during the movement, look to address a lack of thoracic spine extension or shoulder flexion.
  • If you have lower back problems, the seated Arnold press may be a better version to try.