Strong defined shoulders not only have a positive impact on your figure but on your overall upper-body movement and posture.
The shoulder area is composed of numerous muscles, bones, and joints, encompassing one of the most mobile areas in the body. The wide range of motion permits great rotation, abduction, and adduction. Unfortunately, this wide range makes the shoulder area more prone to injury as well.
A great exercise for the shoulders is front raises, which can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, and even bands or a medicine ball. This exercise can be performed using different repetition-techniques (straight sets, pre-exhaust sets, drop sets, rest-pause sets, supersets, or paused reps). Today we’ll concentrate on a straight-set of Barbell Front Raises.
How to Perform Barbell Front Raises
- Place a barbell on the floor or rack pins and select a weight that you can safely lift for 8 to 12 repetitions. If you are not using a weighted bar, ensure that your barbell has an even amount of weight on both sides of the bar.
- Pick up the bar with palms facing down and a shoulder-width grip. Having an excessively wide grip decreases the range of motion and the emphasis of the front deltoid muscles. On the other hand, an excessively narrow grip leads to excessive internal rotation of the shoulders which can cause injury and discomfort.
- Your elbows should be straight (but not locked) or slightly bent during all portions of the movement.
- Tight up your abs and take a deep breath. Exhale as you raise the bar in front of you and upwards (or you can exhale in between repetitions -- choose the breathing pattern that feels comfortable for you).
- Raise the barbell until the upper arms are at or slightly above parallel with the ground and hold for 1 to 5 seconds. Then slowly lower the weight in a controlled manner back to the starting position, resting the barbell on or slightly off the hips.
- Avoid bending the arms in order to avoid workout your biceps instead.
- Avoid locking the elbows so you don’t injure yourself.
- Avoid momentum. If your body is swinging to generate momentum to raise the bar, the weight is too heavy. This momentum decreases the tension on the desired muscle and increases the likelihood of injury.
- Increase the intensity by holding the bar at the top for a longer period (5 to 10 seconds). Or you can lift completely overhead, increasing the range of motion, further stimulating stabilizing muscles, front deltoids, middle and lower trapezius muscles, and helping improve your posture.
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Now that you know how to perform barbell front raises, incorporate them into your weekly routine. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions or 8 if you are aiming to get stronger. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.
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The Fitness Wellness Mentor