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Training For Deltas – Dumbbell Front Raise

The dumbbell front raise is one of the most effective deltoid exercises. These muscles cover the shoulder joint and consist of three bundles: anterior, middle, and posterior. The front bundle is responsible for leading the arm forward, and, accordingly, this exercise maximizes its use.

Regular exercise will make the deltas rounded, well-defined, develop their strength and volume. The exercise is very popular among professional athletes, in particular tennis players and wrestlers.

How does exercise work on muscles?

First of all, the dumbbell front raise develops the shoulders, namely the front and middle deltas. The front pulls the hand up, and the middle one stabilizes its position.

Additionally, the following muscles are involved in the exercise: pectoral, trapezius, inner biceps, and dentate. Since the correct execution of the dumbbell front raise is possible only with a tense press, the exercise also tones the abdominal muscles. The muscles of the legs and back play the role of trunk stabilizers.


Deltoid muscles

“Dumbbell front raise is an isolating exercise that develops a specific muscle group. It’s necessary to combine it with other arm and shoulder exercises to make the body harmonious.”

Weight selection and warm-up

Newbie girls can start with 2 pounds. For men, it’s 4–5 pounds. You’ll determine the optimal weight for yourself after a couple of sessions. Deltas are small muscles, they tire quickly, and too much weight simply won’t allow you to complete your workout.


As for men, it’ll gradually be possible to bring the weight up to 16–20 kg. Don’t increase the load by more than 2 kilograms at a time. Heavy lifting requires superior technique. A small number of reps are performed.

Based on your fitness level and selected weight, you can perform simultaneous or alternating swings. Keep in mind that lifting two heavy dumbbells forward at the same time is extremely difficult and inconvenient. The exercise technique may be disturbed. Focus on your own feelings. Lifting the dumbbells alternately won’t reduce the effectiveness of the session. This will allow the muscles to rest.


Option with the alternate lifting of dumbbells

“When working with weights, a preliminary warm-up is recommended. Pay special attention to your arm muscles. Try arm swings and shoulder rotations. These simple movements will prepare the body for the load and make the exercise safer.”

Exercise technique

How to do dumbbell front raise correctly? First, take the correct starting position. Take dumbbells in your hands and place them in front of you at hip level.

Two types of grip are used – neutral and palms down. In the first case, the hands are located opposite each other. In the second case, they look at the hips. The hands are turned towards each other with their thumbs. You can work in any mode and change your grips.


Exercise technique

You shouldn’t touch your hips with your hands. Straighten your back, shoulders, and chest. Lock the body in this position. Bend your elbows slightly and tense the muscles. You’ll be in this position throughout the exercise. Now you can lift the dumbbell.

1As you exhale, raise your arms with dumbbells to the level of your chin. During movement, the arms remain slightly bent at the elbows and do not straighten to the end. The movement is made exclusively by rotation in the shoulder joint

2Make sure that the movement of the hands is carried out in a vertical plane without horizontal displacements. When lifting two dumbbells at once, the distance between the arms should be equal to the width of the shoulders. It’s forbidden to bring or spread your arms to the sides

3The extreme point of the movement is at the level of the chin. Hold in it for a couple of seconds, strain the deltas as much as possible, and slowly return to the starting position

4Take a short pause (1-2 breathing cycles) and repeat the exercise

Work at a moderate pace. Do 10-12 reps. Rest for 1 minute and repeat it 1-2 more times.


When is dumbbell front raise prohibited?

  • Fresh injury to the shoulders or arms

  • Abdominal surgery performed within a year

It’s also not recommended to train if you feel unwell, weak, or dizzy. If you feel uncomfortable at the beginning of the exercise, limit yourself to one set or end the exercise immediately.

Training recommendations

The following tips will help make the exercise more effective.

1Don’t bend your lower back or use inertial force. Control each movement by synchronizing it with your breathing

2Don’t slouch. Control the position of your chest and shoulders. They must be straightened out

3When moving the dumbbells forward, do not help yourself with the body. Don’t tilt your pelvis and shoulders back. If it’s too difficult for you, take lighter dumbbells

4If, in addition to improving muscle shape, you want to lose weight (women are characterized by the presence of fat in the shoulder area), pay attention to cardio. Do a 30-minute, medium-intensity workout immediately after strength training

5Finish the exercise by stretching your arm muscles

The dumbbell front raise is a deltoid exercise. It’ll make your shoulders strong and defined, as well as prepare them for other types of stress.

I'm a professional fitness instructor and nutritionist, runner, husband and father. I do my best in providing the right guidance when it comes to the grounds of sexual health, nutrition and common fitness.

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