Incline Arnold Press for a BIG Bench

By Cory Gregory

Of all the reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered a legend – and there are certainly many – the Arnold Press, a shoulder exercise named after the oak, is one that every gym rat has performed. As a guy who has loved the gym for as long as I can remember, that’s a definite sign of continued legacy.

Since then, most all of us have performed this exercise, enjoying the benefits this unique movement & the results it gives you.

In most cases, the lifter instantly feel the stability of the move and how it basically works the entire shoulder, making it one of the most complete shoulder movements around.

As far as building shoulder mass and development it was one of my go-to movements and I made it a major part of my shoulder workout for years at my hardcore gym, Old School Gym in the Columbus, OH area.

But almost by accident I found an amazing tweak and twist on the Arnold Press, and it gave me an impressive exercise to help build a bigger bench press.

For anyone struggling with getting their own bench press up – whether in competition or just in the gym – implementing what I’m about to tell you may just be the key to your own bench press blast-off.

One day I was waiting to use the 90-degree bench for my set, but it was in use so I jumped on the incline bench and went to work on my set. Instantly, I knew I had found a winner. It felt sick and I was blown away with the effect it had on pretty much my entire upper body.

By rotating the dumbbells down in the hole (at the bottom most part of the movement), it really loaded up my lats, triceps, shoulders and pecs to an explosive position. It engaged all of them and really made all of those muscle works, making it very similar to a paused bench press in a competition.

While I was competing in powerlifting, I became almost obsessed with this movement, as its benefits were immense. In my mind, I had found my own golden ticket when it came to the perfect accessory movement to boosting my bench press. I eventually worked up to an impressive six reps using 115-pound dumbbells and the carry-over was huge.

For your own benefit, I suggest 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, using it on your bench day if your goals are more powerlifting related and throwing it in on shoulder day if your goals are centered around bodybuilding.

Ultimately I was able to bench press around 400 pounds raw – double my bodyweight – and 500 in a bench shirt, and I attribute a great deal of that improvement to the Arnold Press tweak and simply doing it on an incline bench.

The reasoning behind why it helped was evident to me. The stability this movement gave my shoulders, pecs, triceps and upper back was remarkable and my pop out of the hole – usually a weakness for a raw lifter – increased significantly.

Well fast forward a little bit and I feel like I almost owe Arnold an apology because I pretty much forgot about the exercise until recently.

I was fortunate enough to shoot five covers for different magazines and even competed in a bodybuilding show in the early fall, so the Arnold Press with a twist got left on the backburner.

But it’s time to switch gears and get back to powerlifting, and that meant immediately going back to this movement.

I threw it back into my rotation and it was like an old friend had returned. I rediscovered the move, why I loved it and why I believe it is so integral for anyone looking to build a bigger bench.

So thanks, Arnold, for having the intuition to create such a powerful movement and I can only hope you guys like my tweak to this already legendary exercise.

For more of Arnold’s workouts, check out the Arnold Blueprint here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html


Cory is one of the most unique stories in the fitness industry today. A former underground coal miner, Cory diligently saved money to start his first small gym. He opened it when he turned 20 and, in the last 14 years, Cory has seen every aspect of the fitness industry. Cory has his Exercise Specialist certificate from Columbus State and is also NESTA nutrition coach certified, Westside Barbell certified and a Cross Fit level 1 trainer. Cory is also the Co-Founder of Musclepharm, which has quickly become one of the hottest brands in Sports Nutrition, grossing an impressive $78 million in just its fourth year of business. He has achieved a powerlifting total of 1755 pounds, weighing just 208, putting together a career-best 700-pound squat. Most recently Cory was featured on the cover of the popular Inside Fitness Magazine. Cory eats, breathes and lives fitness everyday, helping people reach their goals through his free plans on social media especially his Twitter account that has more than 250,000 + followers.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MusclePharm

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MusclepharmPres