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Being in the fitness arena, competing, training, and coaching others, I find the shoulders to be of great importance. A great exercise to build and strengthen the front shoulder or anterior deltoid is the front raise. By reading this article, you can learn how to properly perform dumbbell front raises, what muscles front raises work, benefits and mistakes associated with the front raise to get the most out of them. Check out some ideas for a shoulder workout and watch the video on how to do it properly.

The shoulder has several muscles that attach to the scapula, humerus, and clavicle. The largest shoulder muscle is the deltoid, which consists of the anterior, middle, and posterior fibers, giving the shoulder that nice rounded look. There are other muscles – the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis – that form the rotator cuff and are vital in the dynamics of shoulder movement.

Other muscles involved in shoulder movement are the deltoid, supraspinatus, coracobrachialis, serratus anterior, pectoralis, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, teres major, and rhomboid major among others.

The shoulder area is one of the most mobile spheres in the body. The wide range of motion permits great rotation, abduction, and adduction. Simultaneously, this versatility makes the shoulder area more prone to injury.

One of the best exercises to build and strengthen the front shoulder or anterior deltoid is the Front Raise. This part of the deltoid performs shoulder flexion but also assists with shoulder abduction, transverse flexion, and internal rotation.

What Muscles Do Dumbbell Front Raises Work?

The main muscle targeted by the front raise is:

  • The anterior deltoid: the muscle in the front area of the shoulder

Front raises, also, engage various secondary muscles:

  • Trapezius – triangular muscles extending over the back of the neck and shoulders
  • Lateral deltoids – the side of the shoulders
  • Wrist extensors – the brachioradialis, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis longus, and brevis. These muscles extend the wrist, helping you grip
  • Serratus anterior – muscle originating on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs at the side of the chest and ending at the medial border of the scapula. It pulls the scapula forward

Benefits of Dumbbell Front Raises

  • Isolation: Great isolation exercise that concentrates and targets the front of the shoulder.
  • Strength: Front raises help increase strength in the frontal shoulder area. This helps to facilitate other movements such as the chest press.
  • Aesthetics: They help sculpt the front deltoids and a beautiful upper body since they also involve your pectoralis major, lateral deltoid, trapezius, and serratus anterior muscles.
  • Shoulder Stability: Working all areas of the shoulders including the front deltoids helps to improve shoulder joint stability. The shoulder area is one of the most mobile spheres in the body, permitting rotation, abduction, and adduction. Simultaneously, this versatility makes the shoulder area more prone to injury.
  • Efficiency: They don’t require you to use a lot of weight and still give you great results. You can feel them working even with light weights.
  • Versatility: You can perform different variations of the front raise. You can raise both arms at the same time, one arm at a time, or alternate arms.
  • Posture: Front raises engage your core, upper back, and neck muscles which help you to maintain a more upright posture.
  • Simplicity: There is not much involved in the movement – all you need is a pair of dumbbells.

How to Do Dumbbell Front Raises

  • Plant your feet solidly on the ground and grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand with arms at the sides of your body and resting by your thighs
  • Stand with your back straight, core tight, and shoulders back
  • Lift the weights out in front of you until your arms are slightly higher than parallel with the floor, with the elbow slightly bent
  • Hold the weight at the peak for a second or two
  • Slowly bring the weight down to the starting position
  • Pause at the bottom for another second
  • Repeat 8-12 times

Besides lifting the weights with your palms facing your body and the ground (when the weights are up), you can grab the dumbbells and twist the wrists until the thumbs are facing up. This variation challenges the anterior delts a little bit differently.

Dumbbell Front Raises Mistakes

  • Bouncing the Weights: Avoid using your back to lift the weights. This takes off the emphasis away from the anterior deltoid and engages posterior muscles that shouldn’t be engaged
  • Moving the Weights Fast: Avoid moving the weights up too fast since this keeps the muscles under tension for a shorter period. You should control the weights and perform the exercise in a controlled fashion
  • Shrugging: Avoid shrugging to lift the weights – This over-emphasizes the traps and doesn’t allow you to properly perform the exercise. Your shoulder blades should be down and back.
  • Rounding Your Back: Avoid rounding your lower back. This excessive arching can hurt your back and may indicate that the weights are too heavy. Keep your back straight and use a weight that allows for proper movement mechanics.

Dumbbell Front Raises Video

You can also perform front raises with a barbell as shown in my Barbell Front Raise video.

Shoulder Workout

You can complete your shoulder workout by performing the following exercises:

As you can see the dumbbell front raise is a wonderful shoulder exercise. It offers tremendous benefits associated with hypertrophy, strength, endurance, and aesthetics. Now that you know how to properly perform dumbbell front raises, you can avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy their benefits. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, or gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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