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Working the Front of your Shoulders The "Front Raise"

Posted Mar 22 2010 10:23am
The front raise can improve the overall  shape of your shoulders by working the front of your shoulders. Strengthening the front of your shoulders can also help you perform everyday tasks, such as lifting objects and reaching up to take and object off a shelf.

While performing the front raise, make sure you do not lean back or forward or arch your back to help you lift the weight. You should also try not to lift the weight by rocking your body back and forth. Concentrate on using only your shoulders to lift the weight. As you raise your arms, keep your elbows slightly bent and make sure you do not raise your arms above shoulder height. 

If you want to focus on strengthening one shoulder at a time, you can alternate between your left and right arm to lift the dumbbells. Keep alternating arms until you finish a set.

You should use caution when performing the front raise if you have shoulder or neck problems.

1. Hold dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, both palms facing your body.

2. Stand straight with your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Make sure your knees and elbows are slightly bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles to help protect your back.

3. Slowly raise your arms in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor.

4. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Please Don't...

  • tilt your head forward or back. Keep your head, neck and back in a straight line.
  • arch your back, lean forward or lean back to help lift the dumbbells. Keep your back straight at all times.
  • lock your elbows. Keep your elbows slightly bent at all times.
  • raise your arms above your shoulders.

Ask Robin...

Is there a way I can protect my back more when performing the front raise?

A. To protect your back more, you can perform the front raise while sitting on a bench with a back support. Position your arms beside your body with your palms facing in and then rotate your wrists as you raise your arms so your palms end up facing the floor. This modification helps isolate the front of your shoulders more by making it more difficult to use other muscles to lift the weight.

Q. Is there a way to perform the front raise using a cable machine?

A. Yep. Position a cable on a tower of a cable machine at the lowest setting and then attach a handle to the cable. Stand to the side of the handle with your back facing the tower, your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Grasp the handle with your palm facing backward and then perform the same arm movement as described above. When you complete a set with one arm, repeat the exercise using your other arm.
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