The dumbbell front raise is a shoulder exercise that primarily works your front deltoid which is one of three muscles in your shoulder.
This exercise is an isolation exercise because it is a single joint exercise which means only one joint moves, in this case your shoulder joint.
Whilst the front raise is an easy weight lifting exercise to perform, many people get it wrong because they don’t take the time to understand exactly how to perform the movement.
This can severely limit your strength in the movement so learning how to do it properly is worth taking the time to do.
Before we jump into how to do a front raise, a quick word of warning… be careful not to overuse this exercise as your front deltoids get a lot of work from other movements.
Chest presses, chin and pull ups, most upper body movements and even some lower body movements where you hold a barbell or dumbbell work your front delts to some degree.
How To Perform A Dumbbell Front Raise
- Start by picking up the dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forwards or pointed slightly out
- The dumbbells should rest on the front of your thighs
- Your arms shouldn’t be perfectly straight so ensure your elbow isn’t locked and there’s a slight bend in your arm
- Tighten your core by squeezing your abs and squeeze your legs. This creates a firm base and your core being tight also helps when the weights start getting heavier as you get stronger in this movement
- Raise your right arm upwards keeping it in the same position and keep going until the dumbbell is just higher than your head
- Bring the dumbbell back down in the same way as it went up, ensure this is done in a controlled fashion and return the dumbbell to the starting position on your right thigh
- Repeat with your left arm
That’s one rep for each arm, complete the number of reps your workout plan suggests.
Common Front Raise Mistakes
When performing the front raise make sure you’re avoiding these common errors:
- 1 – Don’t lift your arm higher than your head – The extra range of motion doesn’t add to the effectiveness of the exercise but does make it harder
- 2 – Use a Higher Rep Range – Doing a front raise with low reps and very heavy weights can damage your shoulder so I usually avoid it. Stick to a higher rep range like 10 – 15 reps per set
- 3 – Don’t swing your entire body to cheat the weight up – If you have to swing your entire body and use momentum to complete a rep you’re using too much weight
- 4 – Not providing a solid base to push from – Tightening your core and squeezing your legs provides a solid base for you to push from. This will help your perform the front raise in good form
- 5 – Straighten your arm without locking – To put the stress on the target muscle your arm should be almost straight but without your elbows locked
That’s it! You’re now fully equipped to perform the front raise in good form and you know exactly the mistakes to avoid.
Next time you’re in the gym and see someone doing the dumbbell front raise, pay attention to their form. You’ll then see the common mistakes that you may have been making but you’ll also know that you’ll never make those mistakes again!