You may have a general idea of how to train your shoulders, but now you are considering what you need to do to capitalize on your front delts. This is something that many people get confused about as they believe that the exercises for the medial or middle deltoid will suffice, and in some cases, they do, but not always. This article will look at how to do a front delts workout, building up your anterior deltoid correctly.
For this list, we examined workouts and movements that not only utilized but instead had a greater focus on the anterior delts, like the front delt raise.
The idea is to aid you in transitioning from having small front delts into building, not overdeveloped front delts, but well-proportioned ones and aid in the roundness and overall strength of this muscle group.
What follows is a list of front delt exercises; some are front delt exercises at home:
- Front Delt Raise
- Barbell Raises Lying On An Incline Bench
- Arnold Press
- Standing Overhead Press
- Push Press
- Hammer Press
- Military Press – Dumbbells
- Landmine Press
- Pike Push-Up
What follows is a comprehensive and in-depth look at what all you need to work your anterior deltoid muscles to grow in size, strength, and overall performance.
You will find everything you need to take your training to the next level with this post dedicated entirely to enhancing your anterior delts. Also, see our post on How to Correct Overdeveloped Front Delts and Best Shoulder Workouts to Get Bigger Delts to improve your knowledge of delt development.
See the table below if you are in a hurry to see the best products we recommend to use for these workouts.
1. Front Delt Raise
Maintain proper posture where your back is straight, and your abdominal muscles are engaged.
Standing with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand and allow your arms to hang comfortably at your front, with your palms facing your thighs.
Additionally, ensure that you have a firm footing on the ground for the front delt raise.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Inhale as you raise the weights and extend your arms with your palms facing the ground; it is good to maintain a slight bend in the elbow to reduce the risk of putting strain on your joints.
Once your arms reach a point parallel to the floor, briefly pause and lower the dumbbells to the starting position. At this point, it is a good idea to exhale in a controlled manner.
2. Barbell Raises Lying on an Incline Bench
It is always a great idea to mix up your workout.
Although something like the front raise is always a novel and convenient movement to do, which you are likely familiar with, your muscles will show diminishing returns. As they get used to the action; therefore, it is always a good idea to throw something completely foreign into the mix.
That is where this movement comes into play – you will lie against an incline bench with a barbell hanging in front.
You will have a slightly different range of motion with this exercise, and if you are committed to growing your delts, you will avoid trying to use any form of momentum to move the weight.
Instead, hang the weight in front of you with your palms facing you.
Then inhale as you raise the bar and reach the pinnacle where the bar is horizontal to the floor.
Allow a moment to hold the weight at the top, and then with strict control, lower the weight to the starting position.
See more great shoulder exercises in How To Barbell Shoulder Press: Muscles Worked And Technique Tips.
Check out our top three workout benches below.
3. Arnold Press
This list would be incomplete without the Arnold press; it is an effective movement that works most of your shoulder and chest; however, it works the anterior delts the most.
It is a movement you must learn to master, and although we will describe the move, it is best to do further reading on it.
Professionals can do this movement standing; however, if you are new to the exercise, we advise sitting on a bench while keeping your back straight while you grasp the dumbbells and move them.
You can knee the weight into position if it is heavy, but because of the dynamic maneuvering of the shoulder joint, we advise sticking with a lower weight.
Have your palms facing inward and hold the weights just above chest height, you should point your elbows slightly forward, and then you will rotate the weights 180 degrees as you press them vertically, exhaling throughout the movement.
The final position sees the weights suspended directly above the shoulders; your palms should be facing out.
You will then reverse the motion and return to the start position.
This is a movement that you can go heavier on.
Still, we highly recommend incorporating it as a super-set with another activity, focusing on form and aiming for volume rather than pushing heavy weights.
See more effective shoulder exercises like the Arnold press in the posts The 10 Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts and How To Build Bigger Traps And Grow Your Shoulders Fast.
4. Standing Overhead Press
The standing overhead press will work more than just your anterior delts. It is a slight compound movement that works other muscles simultaneously, but that does not mean it is not an excellent movement for your anterior delts.
First, stand with your feet hip-width apart and ensure that you have a solid footing and are adequately balanced to execute this.
Your feet should be parallel, and you can lock your knees for this movement as it is a strict press, and you do not want them or your hips to help drive the weight for you as you are working your front delts and not your whole body; we want to try our best to isolate the delts.
To aid with stability, engage your core and squeeze your glutes together.
You can begin with the bar racked and grasp the bar so that your elbows sit roughly 45 degrees from your torso.
Your forearms will be vertical, and your hands will grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Please do not allow your wrist to bend or rotate, but keep them locked and straight.
Once you have unracked the bar and are ready to press the weight, ensure that the bar path is straight and should be in line with your feet.
When the bar passes your head, do not tilt your head back, but rather retract your head as though you are making a double-chin.
You want to lockout at the top of the movement and then return the weight to approximately shoulder height.
Here are three of our favorite barbells to use for this exercise.
5. Push Press
The push press is highly similar to the overhead press. In this version, you are now allowing your lower body to aid you in pressing the bar overhead; this is an excellent alternative if your anterior delts are still underdeveloped and need some assistance.
You would be cheating as you allow yourself to bend at both the hips and knees to help with an exploding motion.
However, on the other hand, you are acquiring a more full-body movement.
You can use this exercise if you are a beginner or want to incorporate different muscle groups, especially if you are super-setting.
The setup is the same as the overhead press; the only difference is that you will bend slightly and then explode up to the final position.
See more in How to Perfect the Dumbbell Overhead Shoulder Press and A Legs and Shoulders Workout for Building Strength.
6. Hammer Press
There is bound to be a version where the hammer grip comes into play with various exercises where dumbbells are concerned.
This is no different from the hammer press, which focuses entirely on the front delts and fully activates them.
The form of grip ensures you tuck your elbows and that the movement focuses on shoulder flexion.
You can either execute this movement bilaterally (both arms at the same time) or alternate; what is excellent about alternating is that you can focus entirely on each side independently.
Doing so can focus on muscle imbalances, forcing you to engage your core more to ensure proper stabilization.
To perform the movement, you begin with a pair of dumbbells in hand and hold them with a neutral hammer grip.
Your elbows are bent and tucked in front of you; if necessary, you can knee the weights up.
But again, we advise you to refrain from this and opt for a lower weight.
You will then press straight up, pause briefly at the top, and return to the starting position.
See our top three recommended adjustable dumbells to help with your workouts.
7. Military Press – Dumbbell
The military press is a similar movement to the hammer press, but there are some distinct differences.
For this version, you should be seated on a bench and have a pair of dumbbells in hand (you can also perform this standing).
Keep your palms facing forward and away from your body and move them to shoulder level.
You will then press the weight vertically and fully extend your arms; the end position will see you holding the weights in hand over your shoulders.
Squeeze the muscles at the top, and then slowly and with control, bring the weights back to the start position.
See other great dumbbell shoulder exercises in How to Do a Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press.
8. Landmine Press
The landmine press offers a bit of variance from the other exercises we have seen thus far and is a wonderful way to target your anterior delts truly. Additionally, your scapula stabilizer muscles also benefit from this movement.
One thing you will note when performing this exercise, compared to others, is that the shoulder joint does not play as much of a role.
This seems redundant but highly beneficial as you can go rather heavy without worrying about injuring your shoulder joint. Additionally, you will either perform this standing or kneeling.
Still, your core will play a significant role in ensuring overall stability.
You begin by holding the end of the bar in one hand with a neutral grip, and almost like a hammer press, you go from a position where your arm is bent, and then you push the weight up (obviously, the bar’s path is predetermined by the pivot point, but you need to keep it in a straight line).
Note that you can do this double-handed, but you will engage your pectoral muscles more.
See exercises like these in Shoulder Workout With Weight Plates for Bigger Muscles.
9. Pike Push-Up
As you do not always have access to weights, it is reassuring to know that there are movements you can perform without them that are still highly effective.
This may sound like a simple and easy movement in theory, but it is just as intense as weighted shoulder exercises.
To begin, place your hands on the ground, facing forward or with your fingers facing each other.
Walk your feet back and raise your rear end to the air.
At this point, your head should sit over where you position your hands.
Next, you should begin the exercise by bending your elbows and lowering your forehead.
Now you will want to hold for a moment or two before activating your front delts to aid in pushing you back up to the starting position.
For more information on the pike push-up, see the following.
The shrug is a movement that most know activates the trapezius; however, they are also highly effective at working your deltoids.
You can perform shrugs with dumbbells, a barbell, or even the Smith machine.
If you have never done shrugs before, then the Smith machine is an ideal starting point as it allows for correct form and enables you to load the bar.
Suppose you use the Smith machine, set the bar at about mid-thigh height, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
Then take hold of the bar with an overhand (pronated grip) and ensure that your back is straight and core muscles are properly activated.
Then when you are ready, raise the bar, but focus on using your deltoids to engage the movement and focus less on your traps.
With whichever equipment you use, you want to bring your shoulders as close to your ears as possible, squeeze, and return to the starting position.
However, one thing to be aware of is not to allow your shoulders to roll during the movement, as this will strain the joints.
Check out our top three recommended smith machines below that can help you with various workouts.
11. Incline Push-Up
The incline push-up will work more than just your anterior delts, but that does not mean that they are not an effective movement to help build bigger delts, especially if you do not have any equipment.
You will need something sturdy to press against, so either a bench or, if you are at home, place a chair against a wall to support it.
Keep your feet apart and place your hands on the bench or chair.
Once you have done so, you can bring your feet closer together and be sure to engage your core and straighten your back throughout the movement.
Lower yourself toward the bench or chair and allow your elbows to go outward as you do so.
Do not let your back arch or knees lock out for this movement.
Also, note that you may wish to sag at the hips, this is incorrect, and you must avoid allowing this to occur; your body must be one solid and a straight line for the movement.
You can go so far as is comfortable, but try to get your chest to nearly or actually touch the bench or chair and then pause momentarily and push back off into your starting position.
There are also ways of making the incline push-up harder for yourself.
Also, see our posts on How to Split Shoulder Workouts Between Push and Pull Days.
Building Up Your Anterior Deltoid
If you have not already surmised, the anterior delts or front delts can be found on the front of the shoulder, and they are one of three muscles that make up the entire shoulder muscle.
The anterior delts should be the largest of the three muscles heads, and if you train them well, they can grow to a great extent, and their strengthening will aid in various other movements.
Front delt exercises can sometimes be seen as too isolated and do not give you enough bang for your buck.
However, there is a reason we need to train them in isolation: to capitalize on their aiding us in other movements.
Any movement where your arms are out in front of your body can guarantee that the anterior delts play a part in the workout.
You activate your anterior delts while pressing, arcing, and even some pulling movements.
The most common of these movements would be the bench press, push-up, and overhead press.
This is because your anterior delts are involved and responsible for shoulder flexion.
See more on building your delts in How to Build Bigger Rear Delts and Why Your Side Delts Aren’t Growing.
There are many exercises you can use to target the anterior deltoids specifically.
Some of these movements, though, incorporate the assistance of other muscle groups, which is fine so long as you make that mind-muscle connection and activate the anterior delts properly.
We recommend trying the front delts workouts listed on this page to help you build up your anterior deltoid the right way.
Let us know which of those mentioned above worked for you.
Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API