Dumbbell Lateral Raise vs Front Raise

Dumbbell Lateral Raise vs Front Raise (Full Comparison)

Dumbbell exercises are a staple in strength training, offering a wide range of benefits to help you build muscle, increase strength and improve performance. Two of the most popular dumbbell exercises, especially for shoulders, are the Dumbbell Lateral Raise and Front Raise.

Both of these exercises are effective for targeting the shoulders and can be incorporated into a variety of workouts. However, the Lateral Raise and Front Raise differ in the way they target the shoulders and the muscles they work.

In this article, I will compare the Dumbbell Lateral Raise and Front Raise, discussing their benefits, differences, and how to perform each exercise correctly. In just a few minutes you should have a good understanding of how to incorporate both of these shoulder movements into your strength program.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells


  • Hold dumbbells-palm in, arms straight down at sides.
  • Raise dumbbells in semicircular motion slightly above shoulder height tilting the head of the dumbbell down.
  • A slight pause, then lower to starting position under control.
  • Keep your arms straight with just a slight bend in the elbow.
  • Use the same path to continue repeated reps.
  • Exhale up, inhale down.

Coaching Points

To keep the focus on the medial delt, make sure to keep your palms down at the top of the movement. Many lifters like to pull back, instead of lift straight out to the sides, which brings the stronger muscles of the upper back into play.

Also, always start the movement at the side of the thigh. Bringing the dumbbells in front of the body allows for more of a momentum swing and takes away from the stress placed on the delts.

Benefits of Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Dumbbell Lateral Raises provide several benefits, including:

  • Isolating the Lateral Delt: This exercise specifically targets the lateral deltoids, improving their strength and stability.
  • Injury Prevention: By strengthening the shoulders, Dumbbell Lateral Raises can help to reduce the risk of injury, particularly in sports that involve overhead movements and repetitive motions.
  • Developing Upper Body Strength: The Lateral Raise can be utilized in a complete strength and conditioning program to improve overall strength and athletic performance.

RELATED –> 11 Dumbbell Lateral Raise Alternatives to Grow Your Shoulders

Dumbbell Front Raise

Dumbbell Front Raise

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.

Lateral Raises vs Front Raises: What’s the Difference?

Now, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the two dumbbell shoulder exercises and examine how they differ.

Muscles Worked

This is the primary difference between the two. The shoulder, or deltoid, is made up of three parts: the anterior, middle and posterior.

Lateral Raises focus on the middle delt and Front Raises focus on the anterior delt. (For what it’s worth, Rear Delt Raises is the dumbbell movement that focuses on the posterior delt)

There is some carryover to the other muscles of the shoulder, but each does a pretty good job of isolating their particular part of the shoulder.

Is One Better For Beginners?

No. Both exercises are safe, easy to learn and easy to execute. As long as you start light and focus on technique first, most beginners shouldn’t have any issues with either exercise.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped to explain the differences between Dumbbell Lateral Raises and Front Raises. I also hope it gave you some ideas on how you can utilize both exercises in your own strength program.

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