DB Front Raise

DB Front Raise - How to - Exercise Library

DB Front Raises are one of the most popular shoulder supplemental exercises. They’re a great isolation movement to focus on the front delts once you’ve completed your big compound lifts for the day.

In this guide I’m going to show you how to do DB Front Raises, what muscles they work as well as a couple variations and alternatives.

How To Do DB Front Raises

Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells


  • Hold dumbbells in front of thighs, palms facing in.
  • Arms should be straight, elbows very slightly bent.
  • Raise dumbbells straight up in front of the body, keeping arms straight, until they reach about eye level.
  • Return to the starting position using the same movement path.
  • Repeat for designated number of reps.

Coaching Points

Elbows should not be completely locked out as this puts an unnecessary strain on the joint. Instead, keep a slight bend in the elbow throughout the movement.

Return the dumbbells to the front of the thighs each rep. Letting them swing down beside the body will create momentum and reduce the emphasis on the shoulders.

Speaking of momentum, do not rock. If you find yourself rocking back and forth to help you lift the weight – the weight is too heavy. Grab lighter dumbbells and keep your torso still during the lift.

Muscles Worked

Front Raises specifically target the Anterior Deltoids and to a lesser extent the Middle Deltoids and Upper Pecs.

DB Front Raise Variations

Looking to change your workout up just a bit? Here are a few DB Front Raise Variations:

Barbell Front Raise

The most common variations for Front Raises is to simply change the form of resistance, aka the dumbbells.

By switching to a Barbell, you can keep the same movement pattern, but a barbell will typically allow you to move a little bit more weight.

Plate Raise

Plate Raises are another DB Front Raise variation that simply involves changing the piece of equipment used.

Again, use the the same movement pattern, but instead of dumbbells use a weight plate. Can be an iron plate or a bumper plate, either will work fine.

DB Front Raise Alternatives

If you simply can’t do DB Front Raises, for whatever reason, here are a couple alternatives that may be a better option for you.

Seated DB Front Raise

If standing while doing front raises is a limitation, then you might be able to try Seated DB Front Raises instead.

Sit at the edge of a bench, dumbbells in hand, arms hanging straight down by your side.

Maintain good posture and lift the dumbbells straight up in front, the same way you would do if standing.

Single Arm DB Front Raise

If you have an injury or some other limitation to one arm, hand or shoulder – single arm DB Front Raises may be a good alternative.

Keep the movement exactly the same, simply use one arm instead of two.


Featured Image Photo Credit: ruigsantos / shutterstock.com

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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