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Form, Benefits and Muscles Worked

The barbell front raise exercise, also known as the shoulder front raise or front raise, is one of the most functional weight training exercises that helps develop strength and gives definition to the shoulder muscles. You can add this exercise to any upper body workout routine to specifically train the shoulders and back.

Suitable for all fitness levels, the barbell front raise exercise offers great shoulder flexion while also improving strength and mobility in the shoulders. Moreover, it helps tone other upper body muscles as well. As the name says, this exercise is done with a barbell, but depending on your preference and fitness level, it can also be done using kettlebells, dumbbells, or resistance bands

Continue reading to learn more about how to do the standard barbell front raise, the muscles worked, and the benefits of this super-effective upper-body exercise.

How to do the basic barbell front raise exercise?

The barbell front raise targets the anterior and lateral deltoid muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Victor Freitas)
The barbell front raise targets the anterior and lateral deltoid muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Victor Freitas)

The barbell front raise is one of the best exercises that can help give you a V-shaped torso. The key, though, is to perform it correctly while maintaining the right form and technique.

Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to do the shoulder front raise correctly:

  • Hold a barbell using a pronated grip, and stand tall with your feet at a shoulder-width distance.
  • Slightly bend your knees. Ensure that your body posture is straight, with the shoulders relaxed and over your hip joints.
  • Evenly distribute your weight along each foot, and engage your core. Also, keep your shoulders and glutes tight throughout the exercise.
  • With your arms straight, lift the barbell, and hold it at the top position. Pause for a few seconds, and lower back the barbell to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise for the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked

The primary muscles targeted are:

Anterior deltoid

Also called the front deltoids, this muscle helps rotate the shoulder joints towards the middle of the body and is also used in a variety of tasks that require upper body strength.

Lateral deltoid

Also called the middle deltoids, this muscle helps keep the arms in place while also allowing you to carry heavy items. The middle deltoid plays a crucial part in rotating the shoulders away from the middle of the body and pulls the arm outward.

The secondary muscles targeted are the side (lateral) deltoid, serratus anterior, lower, and upper trapezius, biceps, and the clavicular part of the chest (pectoralis major). Apart from that, you will also engage the wrist extensors and core muscles.

Barbell front raise exercise benefits

The front raise helps define upper body muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Mike Jones)
The front raise helps define upper body muscles. (Photo via Pexels/Mike Jones)

There are several benefits to adding a barbell front raise exercise to your workout routine:

Builds strength

When done correctly and consistently, this exercise can not only help increase shoulder strength and size but also strengthen other upper body muscles. That includes the chest, arms, and erector spinae. Moreover, it also strengthens the abdominals by contracting the core when you’re lifting the barbell.

Isolates the shoulder

The shoulder front raise is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the muscles in the shoulders, particularly the anterior and lateral deltoid muscles. That, in turn, improves shoulder flexion and increases your range of motion.

Gives defined muscles

The barbell front raise exercise targets the shoulders, which allows you to attain more toned and well-built muscles. This exercise also adds size to the anterior delts and provides you with the desired muscle definition.

Provides lean muscle mass

The barbell front raise is one of the best isolation exercises to add to your strength training routine that helps develop lean muscle mass and strength throughout the upper body.

Boost overall strength

Weight training moves such as the barbell front raise exercise helps burn calories and shed fat while also helping achieve more strength and lean muscle mass throughout the body.

An effective training programme paired with clean carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein can help you achieve a better body boost and improve your overall physique.


The barbell front raise exercise is an easy, effective, and isolation exercise that’s sure to develop your shoulder muscles while also enhancing overall upper body strength and endurance.

If you want well-defined, bigger, and stronger shoulders, this exercise should be added to your upper body strength training programme.

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