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Front Dumbbell Raise

When working on the shoulders, it is very important to properly target the three heads of the deltoids: anterior, lateral, and posterior. Today we will focus on the anterior part of the deltoids with a detailed analysis of why and how it should be worked.

Even if your anterior deltoids are used in most of the pectoral exercises, it is also important to isolate them just as you must also do for the other two portions of the shoulder. Studies have shown that many injuries to the rotator cuff result from an imbalance in the development of the shoulder muscles.

The most common exercise to isolate the anterior deltoids is Barbell Front Raise. This exercise mainly targets the front of the shoulder but will also be assisted by the pectoral muscles, the serratus anterior, and the biceps. However, the tension must remain in the shoulder and not be transferred to another muscle.

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Why Do Barbell Front Raise

Barbell Front Raise is a defining movement to develop the anterior part of the shoulders and the upper part of the pectoral muscles. When performed in full amplitude with a neutral grip, the front elevation movement is particularly effective for the full development of the front part of the deltoid muscles.

How To Make Barbell Front Raise

1- Starting position

  • Take two dumbbells in your hand and stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your torso straight, adopt a stable posture and contract your abs.
  • Extend your arms and let the dumbbells rest at the thighs, palms facing the latter (overhand grip).
  • For a larger movement, place your hands not in front of you, but on your side.

This is your starting position for frontal dumbbell elevations.

2- Execution of the movement

With one arm at a time

  • While holding your torso still, raise one of the dumbbells in front of you. Keep your arm straight, elbow slightly bent, and the palm of your hand facing the floor.
  • Continue the effort until the arm is slightly above the horizontal.
  • Stay one to two seconds at the point of contraction.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and simultaneously raise the second one using the same method.

Continue alternating ups and downs with the two dumbbells until the end of your series.

With both arms at the same time

  • Keep your torso still and at the same time raise the two dumbbells in front of you, arms outstretched and elbows slightly bent, palms facing the ground.
  • Continue the effort until the arms are slightly above the horizontal.
  • Be sure to keep a distance between the hands equal to the width of the shoulders during the climb.
  • Stay one to two seconds at the point of contraction.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Continue rehearsals until the end of your series.

Targeted Muscles

At the level of the shoulder joint, the main muscles used are the anterior deltoid and the clavicular bundle of the pectoralis major, or upper part of the pectorals. These muscles are assisted by the external deltoid, the correct-brachial, and the short portion of the biceps. At the level of the shoulder girdle, the main muscles are the small pectoral, the large serrated, the upper and lower bundles of the trapezius, the rhomboids, and the angular of the scapula (scapula levator muscle).

Risks And Mistakes To Avoid

  • Do not unbalance your shoulder: the front elevations essentially develop the front of the shoulder, balance your weight training sessions to also work the rear portion.
  • Keep your torso still during the entire exercise: do not compensate by leaning back or giving impulse with your hips and lower back.
  • For an optimal result: favor light loads, long series, and slow and controlled execution of the movement.

5 Training Tips

  1. To place more stress on the anterior deltoid, use a neutral grip and mount the dumbbells above the horizontal but not completely above the head.
  2. Using a heavier load places more stress on the upper part of the pectoralis major, but only when the dumbbells are brought up to shoulder height or slightly above. This more fully involves the deltoid and the anterior portion of the outer deltoid in the last half of the upward movement.
  3. To shorten the deltoid as much as possible, raise your arms above your head, we also work on the upper and lower beams of the trapezoid and the large serrate.
  4. Do not lean back or push forward with your hips to lift the dumbbells. Use lighter loads and correct techniques to achieve optimal muscle development.
  5. To vary, do alternate elevations using either a neutral grip or an overhand grip or low pulley, and raise your arms slightly above your shoulders or completely over your head. Work at a moderate speed to make sure the amplitude is complete.

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With one arm at a time:

  • Inhale when the arms are in the up and down positions.
  • Exhale as they descend and ascend.

With both arms at the same time:

  • Inhale in the starting position.
  • Exhale at the end of the climb and during the descent.


  • Barbell Front Raise with one or two hands.
  • Barbell Front Raise with a straight bar.
  • Barbell Front Raise with a barbell.
  • Barbell Front Raise on an inclined bench.

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