• You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

Dumbbell Step-ups to Balance and Arnold Press

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

For step-ups, you use your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to lift your entire body weight. Arnold presses work your shoulders through a controlled range of motion. But to really take it to the edge, you'll do it all on one foot. The balance challenge will require additional strength and greater control.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Stand upright facing one long side of a flat bench, with dumbbells held in each hand. Hold your hands at shoulder level with your elbows bent in front of your torso with your palms facing in towards your chest. Place your right foot flat on the center of the bench with your knee bent in front of you (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, use your bent right leg to bring you up on top of the bench, trying to lift with the bent leg rather than pushing off with the foot on the floor. You'll end up standing on your right foot on top of the bench (see Photo 2).
  2. At the top of your lift, keep your left foot in the air slightly behind you and perform an Arnold shoulder press. Bring the weights directly up overhead, keeping your elbows close to your body, until your elbows are by your ears and your arms are straight. As you lift, allow your hands to rotate until your palms face front (see Photos 3 and 4).
  3. Lower the weights back to their starting position following the same trajectory, and turning your palms back to face you as you bring the dumbbells down (see Photo 5).
  4. Step back to the floor with your left foot, leaving your right foot still on the bench in the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the right leg for a full set of step-ups and shoulder presses, and then switch legs and repeat the set for an additional set with your left foot on the bench and your right foot on the floor.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.