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The dumbbell front raise exercise targets the anterior deltoid.
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The front of your deltoids are primarily responsible for lifting your upper arm up in front of you, but they also assist in lifting your arms up and out to your sides. Therefore, when looking to target your front, or anterior, deltoid, the exercises you assign will involve movements where your shoulders are lifting your arms against resistance. Your workout volume will be dictated by whether you're looking to develop strength or size in your shoulders.
To ensure your shoulder joints are warm and prepared for exercise, before each workout, perform a 10-minute dynamic warm-up. Walk, ride a stationary bike or jump rope for about five minutes to get your blood flowing and increase overall body temperature. Use the other five minutes to directly target your shoulders. Incorporate movements such as arm circles, self-hugs and pushups with your hands against a wall or bench. Incorporate the front deltoid workout into your regimen no more than two to three days per week and be sure to schedule a day off in between each one.
Size or Strength
Training to build mass in your anterior deltoid is different than working out to develop strength. When focused on strength, you'll perform fewer reps of each exercise while lifting relatively heavier weights. Building shoulder size requires a higher volume workout with a higher number of reps and subsequently a lower intensity of weight lifted. Dr. Helen B. Binkley recommends doing at least three sets of six or fewer reps when training for strength and at least three sets of six to 12 reps when focused on size. Whichever training goal you're shooting for, select a weight for each exercise based on the number of reps you're looking to complete and your current strength levels. If following a strength program, use a weight that doesn't allow you to complete more than six reps. Use a weight that allows you to do at least six, but no more than 12 reps when following the mass program.
Begin your anterior deltoid workout with compound exercises, which are activities that require movement from more than one joint. Compound exercises that target the front of the shoulder include barbell military press and dumbbell shoulder press. Military press is performed while standing and holding a weighted barbell at your upper chest, with your hands placed in a slightly-wider than shoulder-width position. Press the bar up toward the ceiling until your arms are fully straight and then control it back to your upper chest. Perform dumbbell shoulder press from an erect seated position. Start with the dumbbells at your shoulders with palms facing forward. Press the weights overhead until your elbows are extended and then return them to starting position.
After you've completed compound exercises, move onto isolation movements that target the anterior deltoid. The front raise is an isolation exercise that utilizes dumbbells to develop the front of the shoulders. Stand and hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing inward. Keeping your elbows straight, lift your arms up in front of you until they're level with your shoulders. At the top position, your palms should face the floor. Control the weights back to your legs. The exercise can also be performed one-arm at a time, alternating back and forth until all reps are completed.