Forgotten Exercises: The Scott Press

The first Mr. Olympia and one of the 60s most admired bodybuilders, Larry Scott is rarely credited these days as being a bodybuilding great. Whereas Zane, Arnold or Olivia are regularly, and rightly, praised for their physiques, Scott is too often seen as an afterthought. Trained by Vince Gironda and the winner of two Mr. Olympia’s Scott’s thoughtful training style should not be underestimated. It was, after all, Scott who helped popularise Gironda’s preacher curl in the 60s and 70s.

Working together, Gironda and Scott made quite the formidable pair. The object of today’s post, the forgotten Scott Press, is testament to that statement. So in today’s brief post, we’re going to examine the history of the Scott Press before giving some words as to how to best implement it in your own training programmes.

The History of the Scott Press

According to, my one stop site for all things Vince Gironda, the Scott Press was initially created by Gironda to bring up Scott’s delts prior to a Mr. America competition. Scott, whose body always seemed to respond well to Vince’s dictates, immediately took to the exercise. Within months, Scott’s shoulders had markedly improved, displaying the much coveted boulder look. Vince had, as was characteristic, worked his magic once more.

But How Does One Do the Scott Press?

In terms of set up, the Scott Press is a relatively simple exercise to explain but a trickier thing to master. Grab two dumbbells, one in each hand. Bring the dumbbells to shoulder height and lean in about 15 degrees.

How you hold the dumbbells is, as Charles Poliquin previously pointed out, of utmost importance. Hold the dumbbells so that your baby fingers and the outer part of your hand are pressed against the outside plates. Tilt the dumbbells slightly so that the baby fingers are pointed up and the thumbs are pointed down. Place the hands just outside the delts and as wide as possible. Poliquin’s advice, to imagine you are trying to make your elbows touch behind your head, is a nice explanation for what we’re trying to achieve in the set up.

From here we’re going to press the dumbbells from roughly ear height to just before lock out, slightly turning the dumbbells out. Think of it like an abbreviated Arnold Press. The key here is continuous tension throughout the movement. For our visual learners, YouTube, rather remarkably, has an example of Larry Scott demonstrating the exercise for a trainee.


How to Implement the Scott Press

From personal experience the Scott Press works best with high reps and a relatively light weight, especially in the early stages when you’re still learning the movement. Don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to fully retract the shoulder blades the first time you do this movement. It takes a while before the movement begins to feel natural.

Having ‘discovered’ this exercise earlier this year, I like to use it immediately after I’m done military pressing as I find it exhausts whatever remaining energy is left.

How about you? Have you used the Scott Press before? Let us know in the comments below.

As always…Happy Lifting!

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