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HomePowerlifting14 Greatest Arnold Press Alternate options (With Photos)

14 Greatest Arnold Press Alternate options (With Photos)


Best Arnold Press Alternatives

Nothing targets the three heads of the shoulder fairly just like the Arnold press, which is my favourite train throughout the board. 

Nevertheless, the Arnold press can’t be the only train of an efficient shoulder routine and may show to be redundant if carried out year-round.

Fortunately, this can be a minor hurdle since there’s an ample collection of workouts particularly concentrating on the shoulder in varied methods.

The 14 greatest Arnold press options are:

  • Smith-Machine Behind The Neck Shoulder Press
  • Smith-Machine Single-Arm Shoulder Press
  • Seated Machine Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Standing Barbell Overhead Press
  • Barbell Z-Press
  • Standing Single-Arm Shoulder Press
  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Cuban Press
  • Cable Lateral Raises
  • Cable Entrance Raises
  • Banded Rear-Delt Flys
  • Banded Single-Arm Shoulder Press
  • Banded Face Pulls

For this text, I’ve supplied shoulder workouts which can be handiest at constructing shoulder mass and power. I can even present shoulder circuits that make nice finishers for the top of your exercises.

On this collection of workouts, I’ve supplied my favourite barbell, Smith machine, machine, and banded variations to create dynamic and powerful muscle mass within the shoulder.

Let’s start!

What Makes A Good Arnold Press Various?

Arnold Press

A great Arnold press different will accomplish one of many following:

  1. Makes use of comparable muscle mass because the Arnold press, and
  1. Builds the shoulder muscle mass, or
  1. Builds shoulder power

Muscle tissue Used In The Arnold Press:

The muscle mass used within the Arnold press are:

  • Delts (the three heads of the shoulder – anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, and posterior deltoid)
  • Trapezius (the muscle mass that run alongside the again of the neck and shoulders and prolong right down to the mid-back – the higher, center, and decrease trapezius)
  • Triceps (triceps brachii lengthy and brief head)

The Arnold press is a dynamic shoulder train that promotes shoulder joint mobility whereas concentrating on all three heads of the delts, the trapezius, and triceps.

Takeaway: The Arnold press successfully targets all the shoulder muscle mass whereas rising the shoulder’s mobility and power. A great Arnold press different also needs to accomplish each targets.

Shoulder Improvement

One of many main causes for implementing the Arnold press is its excessive demand for dynamic motion, which consequently targets all the shoulder muscle mass and mobilizes the shoulder joint.

Because of this, the Arnold press is incessantly carried out into exercise routines to construct dimension within the shoulder. That is key for practical overhead actions, akin to reaching as much as cabinets, or the efficiency of overhead actions like throwing a baseball, doing a push jerk, and rowing a ship.

Shoulder improvement is extraordinarily troublesome for many, which is why the Arnold press is revered by power and conditioning professionals, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and Olympic lifters alike.

Takeaway: The workouts which can be used rather than the Arnold press ought to help in constructing shoulder dimension.

Shoulder Power

Arnold Press shoulder strength

Vertical urgent actions are a basic element of profitable programming for sports activities (i.e., bodybuilding, powerlifting, baseball, basketball) and normal populations (i.e., each day actions, pushing heavy doorways, reaching overhead).

Implementation of an Arnold press may be extraordinarily efficient for this function, and a robust substitute ought to obtain the identical. Nevertheless, there are Arnold press options which can be simpler at strengthening the shoulder quite than constructing the mass of the shoulder.

Because of this, this text is split into Arnold press workouts which can be greatest for power or dimension.

Takeaway: A great Arnold press different ought to strengthen a person’s capacity to press vertically, which ought to consequently carry over to their main exercise of selection.

Arnold Press Alternate options For Muscle Improvement

1. Smith Machine Behind The Neck Shoulder Press

The Smith machine behind the neck shoulder press permits one to concentrate on participating the shoulder muscle mass by way of an unconventional vary of movement, which makes this train different a fantastic muscle-building Arnold press different.

It’s generally believed that urgent behind the top can result in shoulder accidents. Whereas that is true typically, this variation of the behind the neck shoulder press generally is a useful gizmo when completed appropriately to stimulate progress of the shoulder muscle mass.

How To Do It

  • Be seated on a flat bench or seat beneath the Smith machine.
  • Guarantee that you’re seated in entrance of the bar with an upright posture.
  • Place your arms exterior of shoulder-width aside.
  • To unrack the bar, press the bar till your elbows are at full extension.
  • For the downward section of this motion, management the bar right down to the knot behind your head.
  • To finish the repetition, push the bar overhead till your elbows are at full extension.

Professional Tip

To extend the problem of this motion or to get nearer to absolute failure with submaximal weight (50-75% of a latest 1 rep max), set a goal rep aim for every set. Upon reaching the rep aim, have a associate apply strain in opposition to the bar in the course of the upward section of the motion till full exhaustion. 

Added strain from a associate can domesticate further pressure to permit heightened ranges of fatigue, which may result in further muscle progress.

2. Smith Machine Single-Arm Shoulder Press

In contrast to the Smith machine behind the neck overhead press, this train engages the person muscle mass of a single shoulder. This lets you obtain a better vary of movement, which makes it a fantastic different to the Arnold press.

For the Smith machine single-arm shoulder press, your physique will probably be positioned perpendicular to the rack, permitting for a singular engagement of the shoulder muscle mass.

I’d particularly advocate the Smith machine single-arm shoulder press in case you are involved with imbalances between your two sides.

How To Do It

  • Be seated on a flat bench or upright seat positioned perpendicular to the Smith machine.
  • Place the vertically positioned bar into the bottom of your hand, then press your single arm till it’s virtually totally locked out.
  • Bend your elbow and management the bar down till it’s positioned at about chin stage.
  • To finish the repetition, press the elbow out till your arm is nearly fully straight once more and the bar returns to the beginning place.

Professional Tip

Deal with implementing lighter a great deal of (50-75% of a latest 1 rep max) with a better rep rely (6 to fifteen reps) to expertise better fatigue leading to a better impact of constructing mass.

3. Seated Machine Shoulder Press

The seated machine shoulder press is an easy and efficient train for concentrating on the shoulder muscle mass, making it a fantastic muscle-building different to the Arnold press.

How To Do It

  • Arrange the seat to the place the knees are flexed at 90 levels, and also you’re capable of preserve an upright posture.
  • Place the handles to be simply above the shoulders in order that the higher arms are parallel to the ground.
  • With a slight bend in your wrist, maintain the handles within the base of your hand so the load is stacked over your wrist joint.
  • Press the handles up till your elbows are straight. The handles must be simply over the shoulder joint on the remaining place.
  • Bend the elbows to return the handles to the beginning place.
  • All through, preserve an upright posture and a giant open chest to make sure you aren’t dumping the load ahead or inserting pointless stress on the joints and supporting muscle teams. 

Professional Tip

Doing burnout units with a seated machine shoulder press is extra possible for the reason that danger of damage is decrease. Implement a few units till full failure on the finish of your exercise to emphasise reaching muscular fatigue.

In any other case, you possibly can implement 2 to 4 units of 8 to 12 reps in direction of the start of your exercise to advertise hypertrophy. 

4. Dumbbell Shrugs

Dumbbell shrugs are a fantastic different to the Arnold press for particularly concentrating on the trapezius muscle mass.

Along with one of many vertical urgent workouts supplied by this text (seated shoulder press, lateral raises, standing overhead barbell press), dumbbell shrugs are a fantastic addition for complete muscular improvement of the shoulder/entice space.

How To Do It

  • Maintain a dumbbell in every hand together with your palms going through you.
  • Preserve each arms straight and permit the dumbbells to thoroughly relaxation in your arms.
  • Drive each your shoulders in direction of the ceiling to shrug the dumbbells up your thigh. A cue to successfully drive this motion is an “I don’t know” shrugging gesture.
  • Return to the beginning place by reducing your shoulders to the beginning place.

Professional Tip

As a result of simplicity of this motion, you should use heavy hundreds. This can permit you to promote each forearm and entice muscularity.

A pair of straps can enable for better load choice and full isolation of the trapezius muscle mass whereas limiting forearm/grip involvement. 

Arnold Press Alternate options For Power

1. Standing Barbell Overhead Press

As a power and conditioning coach, my opinion is that the standing overhead press is a basic motion that may obtain all kinds of targets. Because of this, the standing barbell overhead press is a superb Arnold press different for constructing shoulder power.

I’m an excessive advocate of implementing a cycle or two of standing overhead barbell press, particularly for novice to intermediate lifters.   

How To Do It

  • Alter a rack so the bar is simply above the chest.
  • Grip the barbell together with your arms simply exterior of shoulder-width aside and unrack the bar.
  • Be certain that the elbows are cocked in entrance of the bar to help with driving the bar into the top place.
  • Keep a pleasant upright posture and take into consideration breaking the bar in half together with your arms to extend the stress of your again muscle mass.
  • Take a giant breath to extend intra-abdominal strain and guarantee there’s full rigidity within the core muscle mass of the again and stomach.
  • Whereas pushing your head again, push the bar up and again so the top place is correct atop the shoulder joint whereas being according to the knot behind your head.
  • On the finish place, the elbows must be straight and the barbell must be fully overhead.
  • To finish the repetition, enable the bar to return to the beginning place.

Professional Tip

To successfully get probably the most out of this train, you are able to do decrease rep counts throughout the 1 to five vary to thoroughly concentrate on power improvement. A minimum of as soon as every week, place the standing overhead barbell press as your main beginning motion to strengthen your urgent capacity.

Implementing a cycle of about 4-8 weeks of strengthening the standing overhead barbell press can have direct carry over to actions akin to bench press, push press, and push jerk.

Study extra about how the overhead press can enhance your bench press in Does Overhead Press Assist Bench Press?

2. Barbell Z Press

As a powerlifter, I’ve used the barbell Z press to raised discover ways to have interaction my core, which has had super carry over to strengthening all of my lifts. This makes the barbell Z press a fantastic shoulder power different to the Arnold press.

How To Do It

  • Arrange the safeties in a squat rack to be according to the higher chest or simply above shoulder stage.
  • Sit beneath the bar in an upright postural place and your legs fully prolonged in entrance of you.
  • Place your arms on the bar wider than shoulder-width aside.
  • Be certain that the elbows are cocked in entrance of the bar to help with driving the bar into the top place.
  • Keep a pleasant upright posture and take into consideration breaking the bar in half together with your arms to extend the stress of your again muscle mass.
  • Create a giant brace by taking a breath by way of your stomach to extend strain and rigidity by way of the backbone.
  • Just like the overhead press, press out till the elbows are fully prolonged. The bar place must be simply over the shoulder joint and according to the knot behind your head.
  • Return the bar right down to the safeties to finish the repetition.

Professional Tip

Whereas this text mentions the barbell variation of this motion, the Z press may be completed with kettlebells or dumbbells as nicely. Dumbbell and kettlebell variations are a lot simpler and permit for the shoulder joint to maneuver by way of a better vary of movement. 

The better vary of movement allowed by dumbbells and kettlebells can enable one to prioritize mobilizing and constructing shoulder mass.

3. Standing Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The standing single-arm dumbbell shoulder press is a superb Arnold press different which permits for a better vary of movement whereas strengthening the core to successfully goal all of the muscle mass within the physique.

Usually, individuals will do seated urgent, which is efficient however doesn’t obtain the identical stage of core activation. As a bodybuilder, I feel there’s quite a lot of worth in implementing the standing variation of workouts to realize better core and stomach improvement.

How To Do It

  • Have a single dumbbell in certainly one of your arms.
  • Begin with the elbow bent and the dumbbell resting just under the chin/on the higher chest.
  • Press the dumbbell up and over your head till the elbow is totally straight.
  • All through the motion, guarantee that you’re sustaining an upright posture.
  • Slowly decrease the dumbbell again right down to the beginning place to finish the repetition.

Professional Tip

Since this can be a dumbbell variation, there are better ranges of movement to work in.

For instance, the standing single-arm press may be completed with the identical approach as an Arnold press, leading to a better concentrate on transferring the shoulder by way of better ranges of movement.

4. Cuban Press

The 3D nature of the Cuban press makes it a wonderful Arnold press substitute for an train warm-up.

The Cuban press is a dynamic motion that’s efficient for strengthening the smaller shoulder muscle mass and warming up for the bench press, overhead press, and any Olympic motion (the snatch and clear and jerk). 

How To Do It

  • Maintain two 2.5 – 5 lbs plates with the palms down.
  • Provoke the motion by driving the elbows excessive and outdoors in an upright row.
  • Whereas sustaining a hard and fast elbow place, rotate the shoulder till the plates are according to the ears.
  • Press the plates up till the elbows are at full extension.
  • At lockout, be sure that the load is according to the knot behind your head or stacked atop the shoulder joint.

Professional Tip

Executing the Cuban press with a quicker tempo will mobilize the shoulder joint, whereas a slower tempo will place a better emphasis on time beneath pressure, successfully rising blood move and activation of the shoulder muscle.

Arnold Press Alternate options For Each Power and Muscle Improvement

1. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Identical to the Arnold press, the seated shoulder press is a multi-purpose train that’s wonderful at strengthening and constructing the shoulder muscle mass, making it a fantastic different.

Since constructing muscle is a necessity for getting stronger, the seated dumbbell shoulder press can be the proper train to implement with the aim of power.

How To Do It

  • Sit in an upright place with a proud chest and shoulder blades squeezed collectively.
  • Maintain a dumbbell in every hand, at about ear stage.
  • Press the 2 dumbbells till elbows are at full extension.
  • Return the dumbbells to the beginning place to finish the rep.

Professional Tip

At full extension, slowly management the load down with a better concentrate on time beneath pressure. That is generally known as gradual eccentrics. Sluggish eccentrics are perfect for the targets of constructing management, power, and dimension.

Questioning what makes the seated press completely different from the standing press? Take a look at Is It Higher to Do Shoulder Presses Standing or Sitting?

2. Cable Lateral Raises

Cable lateral raises place fixed pressure on the lateral deltoid (the center of your shoulder), which makes this train a fantastic muscle-building Arnold press substitute.

Cable lateral raises isolate the lateral deltoid, whereas the Arnold press targets the whole shoulder. This enhance in isolation makes the cable lateral elevate certainly one of my favourite shoulder-building actions.  

How To Do It

  • Anchor the cable pulley at hip top with a single deal with.
  • Stand perpendicular to the pulley.
  • With a slight bend within the elbow, elevate the hand out till the hand is according to the decrease chest.
  • Return to the beginning place to finish the repetition.

Professional Tip

Use gradual and managed repetitions to get probably the most out of this train. A good friend can apply guide resistance in opposition to the skin of the arm on the reducing section to realize better muscular fatigue

3. Cable Entrance Raises

Cable lateral raises place fixed pressure on the anterior deltoid (the entrance of the shoulder), which makes this train a fantastic muscle-building Arnold press substitute.

How To Do It

  • Anchor the cable pulley on the lowest setting.
  • Stand together with your again in opposition to the pulley system.
  • Increase the deal with till the fully prolonged elbow is at shoulder stage.
  • Decrease the deal with to the beginning place to finish the repetition.

Professional Tip

Just like the cable lateral raises, elevate and decrease the deal with to a 2-second rely to extend the time beneath pressure. Implementing the usage of gradual and managed reps helps to realize the best progress potential on the shoulder.

Conversely, fast and explosive ballistic reps with lighter hundreds at 30-40% for larger 15-30 rep counts can show to be helpful for development as nicely.

4. Banded Rear Delt Flys

Banded rear delt flys generally is a nice bench warm-up and a great way to focus on the again of your shoulders, making this train a fantastic banded Arnold press substitute. 

How To Do It

  • Stand in the course of the band.
  • Cross the band in entrance of your self, and maintain every finish of the band as a deal with.
  • With a impartial backbone, hinge again till the higher torso is parallel with the bottom.
  • Drive your elbows again in direction of the ceiling above you.
  • Return the 2 arms to the beginning place.

Professional Tip

To program this successfully right into a muscle-building program, the goal rep aim may be as many as doable till full failure.

Nevertheless, when programming for power, banded rear delt flys may be carried out into the warm-up of a bench, overhead press, or an Olympic lifting day.

For extra workouts that focus on the rear delts, try 18 Rear Delt Exercises (Barbell, Dumbbell, Cable, Machine).

5. Banded Single-Arm Shoulder Press

The banded single-arm shoulder press may be carried out with minimal tools, making it a fantastic on-the-go or at-home Arnold press different. 

How To Do It

  • Place the foot by way of one finish of the band with the center of the foot on prime of the band.
  • Maintain one aspect of the band together with your elbow bent and hand according to the ear.
  • Press the band up over the top till the elbow is at full extension.
  • Return to the beginning place to finish the repetition.

Professional Tip

Banded actions are usually simpler than barbell or dumbbell variations and may require 15 – 30 repetitions per set to realize a hypertrophy impact.

As soon as you possibly can full all units and reps with a lightweight band, progressively overload this motion by doubling up on mild bands earlier than advancing to a heavier band.

6. Banded Face Pulls

Face pulls are a giant staple for growing the posterior chain, which makes them a fantastic banded Arnold press different.

In addition to the banded rear delt flys, banded face pulls are nice for concentrating on the rear delts. This train is nice for both warming up for bench press or ending off a shoulder exercise with burnouts.

How To

  • Anchor a band round a publish on a squat rack to be according to the decrease chest.
  • Seize the top of the band with the palms going through down.
  • Stand away from the anchor level till there’s desired pressure on the band.
  • Drive the elbows excessive and outdoors whereas pulling the band in direction of your face.
  • Return the band to the beginning place to complete the repetition.

Professional Tip

You are able to do the banded face pull with the rope attachment on the cable pulley system as nicely. 

Each face pull variations are equally efficient. Nevertheless, the banded variation is simpler for burnouts, and the rope attachment is nice for strengthening the shoulders.

Arnold Press Various Circuits

Arnold Press shoulder exercise

Right here I’ve supplied a number of Arnold press different circuits which can be efficient for quite a lot of targets. Do both of these for 1 – 4 rounds to successfully goal the complete shoulder, whether or not for dimension or power.

Circuit For Measurement

  • Seated DB Shoulder Press – x 8
  • Cuban Press – x 8
  • DB Shrugs – x 12
  • Lateral Raises – x AMRAP

Circuit For Power

  • Smith-Machine Behind The Neck Shoulder Press – x 5
  • Smith-Machine Single Arm Shoulder Press – x 5 ea
  • Cable Entrance Raises – x 8 ea
  • Cable Lateral Raises – x AMRAP

Circuit With Bands

  • Banded Single Arm Shoulder Press – AMRAP
  • Banded Lateral Raises – AMRAP
  • Banded Face Pulls – AMRAP
  • Banded Rear Delt Flys – AMRAP

Ultimate Ideas

The Arnold press is a superb train for strengthening the shoulder in a number of ranges of movement whereas constructing that 3-D look by concentrating on all three heads of the shoulder. Nevertheless, it isn’t reasonable to solely program Arnold presses or to implement the train year-round.

It is very important make the most of quite a lot of workouts to construct shoulder power and dimension. The overhead barbell press is my favourite Arnold press different for constructing power, whereas the lateral elevate is greatest for constructing dimension.


About The Writer

Javad Bakhshinejad

Javad Bakhshinejad was born and raised within the Washington Space. At present, he’s a pupil at Seattle College the place he’s been pursuing an MS in Kinesiology, and has been a Power Coach within the athletic division. He was a aggressive bodybuilder for 8 years the place he later transitioned to aggressive powerlifting for 4 years. At present, He has his personal private teaching enterprise, the place he works with powerlifters and bodybuilders.

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