The front raise is an exercise for the shoulder, and its primary target is your front deltoid, which is one part of the three muscles that make up you
The front raise is an exercise for the shoulder, and its primary target is your front deltoid, which is one part of the three muscles that make up your shoulders. When performing the front raise, only your shoulder joint moves, which makes it an isolation exercise. It is relatively easy to perform the front raise. Still, many mistakes are made by people because they do not try to know precisely how to execute the movement. You need to take out time to learn how to perform the front raise properly as failure to do so would limit your strength severely in the movement. Also, it is important to note that you are not meant to overuse this exercise because when performing other movements, your front deltoids get a lot of work. Most lower and upper body movements where you hold a dumbbell or barbell give your front deltoids a bit of work.
Performing the front raise
While there are many variations of the front raise, the most common variation of the front raise is the one where you use a dumbbell and perform the movement while standing. These are the steps to perform the dumbbell front raise;
- Stand tall and keep your feet apart by a distance of your shoulder width, ensure your toes are pointed out a bit and facing forwards, then pick up the dumbbells.
- Rest the dumbbells on the front of your thighs
- Ensure there is a slight bend in your arm, and your elbow isn’t locked because keeping your arms perfectly straight would mess with your form.
- Squeeze your legs, then squeeze your abs to tighten your core. When you do this, you create a strong base, and because your core is tight, it provides help when the weight starts becoming heavier while your strength increases in the movement.
- Lift your left hand, and ensure it stays in the same position; keep lifting it until you get the dumbbell just above your head.
- Lower the dumbbell to its initial position with the same movement, make sure you do this with a controlled motion and bring it to rest on your left thigh.
- Repeat the same motion for your right hand.
- You have successfully completed one rep for each arm. Perform the required reps, as suggested by your workout plan.
Variations of the front raise
These are the different variations of the front raise you can try out if you want to add a little bit of variety to the exercise;
Barbell front raise
For this exercise, you will utilize a barbell, so find a barbell with the right weight. You can opt for the fixed weight barbells that are found on the stand, but you can go lighter if you have any doubts. These are the steps to perform the barbell front raise;
Stand tall and keep your feet apart by a distance of shoulder-width; ensure it is not wider as it could cause injury. Then, hold the weight in front of your thighs. Then, use a controlled motion to lift the barbell slowly until it gets to the shoulder level. Use the same motion to lower it back to its initial position.
Cable front raise
Ensure the straight bar attachment is set to the lowest pulley increment at one end of a cable cross-over station. These are the steps to perform the cable front raise;
Grab the attachment with a pronated grip (your palms should face your body). Ensure your feet are apart by a distance of shoulder width and allow the pulley to run between both legs. Keep your arms outstretched and raise the bar to shoulder level. Hold at the top for a moment, then lower back down.
Tips for the front raise
Make use of controlled and smooth movements. Also, ensure that the weight you utilize is light enough so that you can keep the steadiness for the entirety of the movement. Your shoulder should not experience any tightness. These are some major tips to keep in mind;
- Carry out some experiments with the position of your hands; turn your palms inward to the center.
- You can also try a standing split-stand position, then alternate your front leg before the next set.
- While lowering your arms, use resistance.
- All through the exercise, ensure that your wrists remain neutral, and also avoid wrist extension or flexion.
- You can perform this exercise in front of a wall and reach out to it while lifting your arms to target your muscles more deeply.
- Breathe in as you lower your arms and breathe out as you lift them.
Benefits of the front raise
When you perform the front raise, there are a lot of benefits that are enjoyed, and they include;
Strengthen stabilizing muscles
It is a well-known fact that your shoulder muscles are primarily targeted when doing the front raise, but there are also other muscles that work. The front raise with dumbbells also use your upper back muscles as stabilizing muscles, which means that you engage them with your deltoids while lifting the dumbbells. Your upper back muscles that are worked include your erector spinae muscles, rotator cuff, and trapezius. This move also targets your chest muscles and the muscles in the front of your arm, including your pectorals and biceps. You also recruit your obliques and transverse abdominis muscles because you engage your abdominal muscles as you look to keep your body steady while lifting the weights.
Improved functional ability
The benefits of having strong shoulders go beyond giving you that fine look. Strong shoulders are essential for performing day to day activities, especially when it comes to lifting objects. They give you the functional ability and strength to lift whether you want to put a heavy object on the shelf or you need to haul boxes because you are moving.
The front of your shoulders or your anterior deltoid muscles is the major muscle group that is targeted when performing this exercise. You will get that much-desired look because tones shoulder muscles give you a better definition for the top of your arms that you worked hard for. You will start seeing better muscle definition if you engage in regular practice and cardiovascular exercise to burn fat.
Since your anterior shoulder muscles are targeted with the front raise, you will get an increase in your muscular shoulder strength, depending on your training volume. The front raise is an isolation exercise, which means that movement is required around one joint alone. Because of this, it is a great exercise that is utilized to target a small number of muscles—doing the front raise with dumbbells while standing demands that your core muscles contract to provide stability and balance.
Mistakes when performing the front raise
Because most people do not take out time to fully understand how to perform the front raise, they make a lot of mistakes that impact their form and also see that they do not get the benefits of the exercise. These are the common mistakes you should avoid when doing the front raise;
This is a mistake that typically occurs when you go too fast. This happens because you do not focus on muscle stimulation, rather on emphasizing the weight. When this happens, you tend to raise the weight by any means. There are also times where people do not learn how to lift in such a way that would stimulate muscle gains. Because your ball and socket joints are very vulnerable to injury, you must maintain perfect form when training your shoulders.
- Going too fast
Just like with the side laterals, when performing the front raise, it is not advisable to use too much momentum. The delt heads are small muscles, and for you to isolate them, it is required that you minimize both assistance and momentum from other muscles. It might not be your desire to be seen with dumbbells that weigh 20 pounds. However, you should grab those weights if that is what it takes to isolate your medial delts.
Not using a higher rep range
This is a mistake you should avoid as you can damage your shoulders. It is recommended that you do not perform the front raise with very heavy weights and low reps. You should go for a higher rep range. Perform about 10 to 15 reps each set.
Lifting your arm higher than your head
Lifting your arm higher than your head would make the exercise harder, and it would not add to its effectiveness.
Not providing a solid base to push from
Most people do not squeeze their legs and tighten their core when performing the front raise. This would impact your form, and you would lack a solid base to push from.
Swinging your entire body to cheat the weight up
When you use too much weight, you will be forced to swing your whole body and momentum to complete one rep.
Straighten your arms without locking
Ensure your elbows are not locked, and your arms are almost straight to ensure that stress is placed on the target muscle.