How to Do Front Raises the Right Way (And Common Mistakes)

The front raise exercise is a staple for any weight training regime. This statement also applies to the Arnold press and push press. However, front raises are excellent in helping develop the shoulders and building strength while adding definition to the muscle. You can incorporate this exercise into your upper body workout, preferably on a push day. So this makes us wonder how to do front raises the right way to prevent mistakes and injuries.

To perform front raises, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, resting the dumbbells in front of your thighs, with palms facing inward. Ensure that you maintain proper posture and lift the weights until your arms are parallel to the floor; you will pause at the top and slowly lower the weights.

How to Do Front Raises the Right Way

When doing front raises, you need to be cautious, though, as rotation and poor form could lead to shoulder impingement, and if you have tendonitis or bursitis in the joint, you may need to be extra careful.

Therefore, if this is the case or if it is your first time performing the exercise, start with a more manageable weight and focus on honing your technique.

See the products below if you are in a hurry to see excellent products to help you do from raises correctly. Otherwise, let’s jump in to learn more about the front raise.

 

Performing The Front Raise Correctly 🏋️‍♂️

This post will examine how to do the front raise exercise, also known as the front shoulder raise.

One thing you need to pay close attention to when performing this exercise is the movement, and it is important not to cheat it or pick up weights that are too heavy for you to complete it with proper technique. 

 

Standing Dumbbell Front Raises

Front Raises

Performing the dumbbell front raise in a standing position is probably one of the most common forms, and there are specific benefits that come with it, such as the need to use your stabilizer muscles. 

Below we discuss the basic mechanics of the movement, which will apply to almost all variations.

  • First, stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and hang your hands, holding the dumbbells resting in front of your thigh.  
  • Keep your back straightened and engage your core to aid with stabilization.
  • Lift the weights upward and extend your arms in a motion where your palms are almost facing down (allow your thumbs to point up at a 45-degree angle). 
  • Maintain a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Take a momentary pause at the top with your arms parallel to the floor.
  • Ensure that you lower the weight in a slow and controlled motion; do not drop the weight back down. 

 

Common Mistakes Made When Doing Front Raises 🦾

Common Mistakes Made When Doing Front Raises

Technique and control are vital when performing the front lateral raise form. The shoulder is a joint that can easily be injured, especially if the muscles are under-developed. 

When it comes to the shoulder, there are three heads, the front (anterior), middle (medial/lateral), and rear (posterior) deltoids.

Although it works them all, the primary focus of the front raise will be the front of your shoulder. 

 

Negating Warming Up, Stretching, And Rest

How Long Should You Warm Up Before Stretching

One problem that plenty of gym-goers fall into is incurring injuries, and this can mostly be alleviated by warming up and stretching properly before you even touch the weights.

Then once you are ready to start lifting, do further ‘warm-ups’ by doing the first set with a weight about half that of your working weight.

Resting in between sets is also vital, even if you are doing super-sets or are looking to gain a serious ‘pump’ in the muscle.

Your muscles need to recover, and taking 30 seconds to a minute between sets is advisable, or super-set the movement with one that is not shoulder-dominant.

Additionally, leave at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours, between exercising this muscle group.

 

Rocking Back and Forth and Using Momentum

Rocking Back and Forth and Using Momentum

When performing the movement, whether standing or seated (but particularly standing), maintain a solid footing and do not allow yourself to rock on your heels or break your straight posture. 

Also, to combat the tendency to use momentum to move the weight, it is advisable to focus on the movement and maintain a steady and controlled movement instead of swinging the weight up and allowing them to drop back down.

 

Practicing Inadequate Form 

Practicing Inadequate Form

This note follows the previous point and refers to not keeping one’s back straight or core engaged while moving the weight. You need to maintain the proper technique as this will alleviate the chance of incurring an injury and help you to better focus on the muscle(s) in question.

Another tip is not to keep the dumbbells parallel to the floor while performing this exercise. 

Instead, maintain a slight external rotation in the shoulder by tilting your hands to point your thumbs upwards (at roughly a 45-degree angle).

 

Failing to Pause at the Top of the Movement

Failing to Pause at the Top of the Movement

Whether you want to gain mass or tone your muscles, pausing at the top of the movement is highly recommended. This pose is where your arms are parallel to the floor. 

It also helps you determine if your weight is too heavy or light.

If you cannot pause at the top and the weights plummet back down, reduce the weight; increase what you are moving if it’s too easy. 

So, if you keep proper form, slow down the motion and add a pause at the top of your movement, you should maintain constant tension on the muscles involved.

At first, it may be challenging, but you will see improvements with patience.

 

Using Excessive Weight

Using Excessive Weight

We have already mentioned this, but it cannot be stressed enough; you should only use a weight that you are entirely comfortable with.

Drop the ego and realize that over time the weight might be able to increase. 

However, this is not a movement you want to overload on in any case.

Instead, focus on working the muscle and maintaining high volume by increasing the number of reps and sets instead of the weight.

 

Variations of the Dumbbell Front Raise to Consider 🏋️‍♀️

Below are a few alternatives to the dumbbell front raise.

 

Single-Arm Dumbbell Front Raises

Single-Arm Front Raises

This movement follows precisely the same motion as the double-arm front raises; the only difference is that you will be alternating arms as you proceed through your set

So you will lift and lower the weights individually to incorporate unilateral training into your workout; focusing on each arm at a time allows for greater mind-muscle connection and is associated with more significant strength improvements.

If you don’t own one already, here are our top three recommended adjustable dumbells

Preview
Best Quality
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
Best Plates
Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
Best Connector Options
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
Product Name
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
Set Of Two Dumbbells
Adjustable
Wider Weight Range
Up to 52.5 pounds
Up to 25 pounds
Up to 50 pounds
Best Quality
Preview
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
Product Name
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
Set Of Two Dumbbells
Adjustable
Wider Weight Range
Up to 52.5 pounds
Interested?
Best Plates
Preview
Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
Product Name
Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
Set Of Two Dumbbells
Adjustable
Wider Weight Range
Up to 25 pounds
Interested?
Best Connector Options
Preview
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
Product Name
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
Set Of Two Dumbbells
Adjustable
Wider Weight Range
Up to 50 pounds
Interested?

 

Hammer Grip Standing Front Raises

Hammer Grip Standing Front Raises

The hammer grip style of holding the dumbbells for a hammer curl can also be utilized for front raises.

For this, keep the weights close to the side of your thighs, with your palms facing toward one another

You will then follow the same movement pattern as for the standard standing front raises, with the primary difference being that your palms face each other and your thumbs are at the top.

If you are prone to shoulder injuries, this is an excellent alternative version as it is far less likely to lead to shoulder impingement, even as you up the weights.  

 

Seated Dumbbell Front Raises

Seated Dumbbell Front Raises

If you have incurred a leg injury or have a disability, you can still perform this exercise, but the difference is that you sit on a bench.

This move may also help if you feel unstable on your feet; the only thing to be aware of is that you need to maintain an activated core and a straight back.

You will follow a similar movement to the standard front raise, or you can do them with a hammer grip.

The best practice is to have the weights hang at your sides but close to your thighs; although both can work, the hammer grip will likely feel the most comfortable.

 

Incline Front Raise

Inclined Front Raise

Image Source: Muscle and Strength

This movement follows similar principles to the standard method, but there are some definitive differences.

Firstly, you are likely to find it more challenging than the other variations on this list. What you need for this version is a bench positioned at a 45-degree angle, and you will hang the weights at your side. 

This movement will go from the hanging position until you have raised your arms to shoulder height; you will find that this version allows for a more significant range of motion. 

Additionally, you can perform the incline front raise using a barbell. Rest the bar on your lower thigh, and then raise the bar to shoulder height before lowering it once more. 

Using a barbell for standing front raises can also be done, and you will hang the bar with your arms almost fully straightened out.

Then raise the bar until your arms are parallel to the floor, pause, and then slowly, with control, lower it back down.

See the top three workout benches we recommend below.

Preview
Overall Best
Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench with Upgraded Wider Backrest/Seat (2019 Version), 800 lb (2804)
Best For Beginners
Marcy Adjustable 6 Position Utility Bench with Leg Developer and High Density Foam Padding SB-350
Best Budget
obenater Exercise Bench Sit Up Bench Crunch Board Ab Bench for Toning and Strength Training with Reverse - Abdominal Exercise Equipment with 6 Adjustable Height Settings Full Body Workout
Product Name
SuperMax Adjustable Weight Bench
Marcy Adjustable Utility Bench
Obenater Workout Bench
Material
Alloy Steel
Vinyl, Foam, Alloy Steel
Alloy Steel
Max Capacity
800 Pounds
600 Pounds
300 Pounds
Item Weight
35 Pounds
51 Pounds
24.25 pounds
Item Dimensions
59 x 23.5 x 48.5 inches
64.5 x 23 x 42 inches
47 x 12 x 26 inches
Adjustable
Foldable
Overall Best
Preview
Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench with Upgraded Wider Backrest/Seat (2019 Version), 800 lb (2804)
Product Name
SuperMax Adjustable Weight Bench
Material
Alloy Steel
Max Capacity
800 Pounds
Item Weight
35 Pounds
Item Dimensions
59 x 23.5 x 48.5 inches
Adjustable
Foldable
Interested?
Best For Beginners
Preview
Marcy Adjustable 6 Position Utility Bench with Leg Developer and High Density Foam Padding SB-350
Product Name
Marcy Adjustable Utility Bench
Material
Vinyl, Foam, Alloy Steel
Max Capacity
600 Pounds
Item Weight
51 Pounds
Item Dimensions
64.5 x 23 x 42 inches
Adjustable
Foldable
Interested?
Best Budget
Preview
obenater Exercise Bench Sit Up Bench Crunch Board Ab Bench for Toning and Strength Training with Reverse - Abdominal Exercise Equipment with 6 Adjustable Height Settings Full Body Workout
Product Name
Obenater Workout Bench
Material
Alloy Steel
Max Capacity
300 Pounds
Item Weight
24.25 pounds
Item Dimensions
47 x 12 x 26 inches
Adjustable
Foldable
Interested?

 

FAQ ⁉

FAQ

Here are some related issues you may be interested in. 

How Do I Get Stronger at the Front Raise?

To become more robust and more efficient where the front raise is concerned, it is good to ensure that you start at a lower weight so that you do not injure yourself and experience the need to take a break from the exercise for a while.

The next thing to do is perform the variations we have mentioned, as they will aid in your shoulders’ overall strength abilities.

Can Front Raises Be the Foundation for My Shoulder Workout?

It is advisable to incorporate movement variations to ensure the proper working of all your shoulder muscles (deltoids).]

If you want to have sole exercises, something like an overhead press would be ideal.

Conclusion 😎

Desire to change

Front raises are undoubtedly an exercise that you should consider incorporating into your shoulder exercise regime; however, as discussed, do not fall into bad habits or negate form to move heavier weights.

It is not an exercise that should be your sole movement, but it is an excellent addition.

We hope you have learned about front raises and how to do front raises the right way, and you feel ready and confident to take them on. Please share with your friends.

Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

nv-author-image

James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy