DB Front Raise - How to - Exercise Library

Dumbbell Front Raise (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Dumbbell 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 of variations and alternatives.

How To Do Dumbbell 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 the 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 for 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.

Benefits of Dumbbell Front Raises

  • Front Raises help to build strength in the anterior deltoids, which can help improve overall shoulder stability and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Strengthening the anterior deltoids can also improve athletic performance by providing additional stability and power in movements such as overhead lifts, presses and throws.

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 variation for Front Raises is to simply change the form of resistance, aka the dumbbells.

By switching to Barbell Front Raises, 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.

Dumbbell 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.

More Links and Info

Featured Image Photo Credit: ruigsantos / shutterstock.com

If you’d like to see more exercises that target the chest, back and shoulders make sure to check out the Upper Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of movements, all with complete step-by-step instructions.


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