Arnold Chest Press

Chest exercises are a crucial part of your upper body workout regime, but you’ve undoubtedly noticed that it can be hard to establish a well-balanced routine for your upper and side chest muscles. Regular pushups, chin-ups, and lifting exercises are great, but only provide minimal work for several of these muscle groups. 

In the past, a lot of experimental exercises have been tried, hoping to find ways to target these muscles. Most of these have proven either ineffectual or even possibly dangerous. Fortunately, however, a simple exercise once just used as a way to work the biceps, has proven effective in working these upper chest muscles, as well as shoulder muscles and strengthening the elbows as well. 

This exercise, known as the “Arnold chest press”, is remarkably easy to perform, has minimal impact on those with possible back problems, and has fairly quick results, when worked into your standard exercise routines. 

What You Need 

All you need are two matching dumbbells, and a comfortable bench you can lay back on. Be sure that you can also keep your feet planted on the ground, as this could be a posture issue otherwise. 


  • First, grip both dumbbells and lie back on the bench. Plant your feet on the ground, at about shoulder width in distance apart. Turn your palms inward and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. This should leave you on your back, with the barbells pointing upward. Turn your palms inward so they face your sides. 
  • Lift the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling, until you’re reaching entirely upward. (Were you standing, your arms would be fully extended outward.) 
  • As you lift, rotate your palms so that when you reach the zenith, they point towards your feet. (Were you standing, they would point to the floor.) 
  • Hold them up and squeeze for a second, before lowering them back down to their original state. 
  • As you lower them, rotate your palms back inward.

This exercise is very effective in working several muscle groups, including tightening your chest, and is remarkably easy to get the hang of, and get into a rhythm with. However, remember a couple cautionary things. 

  • Avoid excess weight. 
  • Don’t use momentum/inertia to thrust the weights up – slow, deliberate lifting is what works the muscles properly. 
  • Don’t forget to rotate your palms. 
  • Don’t let gravity do the work of lowering the weights, this could result in injury! 

To learn more about this and many other simple, powerful exercises with powerful results, fill out our contact form or call us today. Let us help you get into the shape you want, and do it safely!

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