Incline Dumbbell Front Raise (How To & Alternatives)


Incline Dumbbell Front Raise

Incline Dumbbell Front Raises are a variation of the more popular Dumbbell Front Raises done from a standing position. Using an incline bench takes the lower body out of the equation (no cheating) and gets the medial delt more involved in the movement.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Incline Dumbbell Front Raises including muscles worked, important coaching points and alternative exercises.


How To Do Incline Dumbbell Front Raises


Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells
  • Adjustable Bench

Muscles Worked

  • Shoulders – specifically anterior and medial delts

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set up an adjustable bench to roughly a 45-degree angle.
  • Lay your chest down on the bench with your head just off the top edge of the bench.
  • Inhale in, brace your core and raise your arms straight out in front up to shoulder height
  • After a quick pause at the top, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, exhaling out on the way down.
  • Repeat for the designated number of reps.

Coaching Points

The angle of the bench will determine the amount of emphasis placed on the different muscles of the shoulder. The more upright the angle, the more emphasis that will be placed on the anterior part of the deltoid. The lower the angle, the more the medial (and possibly even the posterior) delt will come into play.

Easily the biggest mistake I see with Incline Dumbbell Front Raises is swinging the dumbbells at the bottom of the movement and using momentum to raise them back up. Stay in control of the weight throughout the movement.

If you feel you need to swing the dumbbells to lift them then the weight is too heavy. Lower the weight so you can use proper form.


Incline Dumbbell Front Raise Alternatives


If you don’t have an adjustable bench or dumbbells and you’re looking for an alternative to Incline Dumbbell Front Raises, here are a few ideas you might be able to try.

Plate Raise

If you have weight plates available to you, my first suggestion would be Plate Raises. A weight plate can be used for front raises in the same way dumbbells are used.

You can do Plates Raises standing, or you can even slightly hinge forward at the hips to more closely mimic the body angle you would have if lying on an incline bench.

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing

Yes, Kettlebell Swings are more of a hip movement to help develop power – and that’s why I love them as a replacement for Front Raises.

The front delts are still at work during Kettlebell Swings, but there are many more benefits. It’s a much more functional movement – power development, increased core involvement and coordination of the upper and lower body are all added bonuses that you just won’t get out of an Incline Dumbbell Front Raise.

More Links and Info

If you’d like to check out more shoulder exercises, head over to the Upper Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of exercises, all with detailed instructions and coaching points.

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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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