Barbell Front Raise 101: The Best Guide

Improve your shoulders.

The barbell front raise is a popular exercise for building the front deltoid muscles.

It also targets smaller stabilizer and accessory muscles in these areas as well as the traps, forearms, and core.

This exercise can be performed using an Olympic barbell or a standard fixed-weight barbell if available and is suitable for intermediate to advanced lifters with upper body strength to complete the lateral movement.

How to Do the Barbell Front Raise

  • Lift a barbell from the rack or deadlift it into position from the floor.
  • Hold with a pronated grip, shoulder width apart.
  • Inhale and brace your core, grip, glutes and shoulders.
  • Keeping the arms straight, lift the barbell upwards.
  • At the top, pause for a second and slowly lower back to the starting position.
  • Exhale.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

What are the Benefits of the Barbell Front Raise?

Front raises are a great way to build the shoulders, deltoids and anterior deltoid muscles.

It is also a highly effective exercise that can improve shoulder strength and power.

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Build strong shoulders

The front raise has been used for decades by bodybuilders, athletes and fitness enthusiasts because it works the entire shoulder girdle in one simple movement.

What Muscles Does the Barbell Front Raise Work?

The barbell front raise is an isolation exercise that targets the anterior deltoid, front deltoid, and teres major.

The anterior deltoid muscle is located on the front of your arm; it helps you rotate your arm outwards.

The teres major muscle sits under your shoulder blade and extends from there down to just below your armpit. It helps you lift your arms up overhead.

Finally, the front deltoids are located on the outside of both shoulders—they’re responsible for rotating them forwards when you lift heavy objects overhead (like a barbell).

Barbell Front Raise Variations

There are many different variations of the basic barbell front raise. If the first technique isn’t working for you, try one of these:

  • Dumbbell Front Raise: This variation is more difficult because you have to stabilize both weights and keep them in proper alignment with each other.
  • Kettlebell Front Raise: Similar to dumbbells, but with an added challenge due to the shape of kettlebells (which are inherently unstable). Kettlebells come in many different sizes, so choose one that is heavy enough for you based on what feels challenging but not impossible with good technique and form.

Barbell Front Raise Alternatives

There are other ways to perform the barbell front raise, and some of them may be better for you depending on your goals.

  • Dumbbell Swing.
  • Kettlebell Swing.
  • Sled Pull Legless Rope Climb.

Barbell Front Raise Mistakes

One of the most common barbell front raise mistakes is not using a full range of motion.

A lot of people think that they’re doing a full range when they only go up maybe 18 inches or so, but you need to go all the way down and all the way up in order for this exercise to be effective.

This is because it’s very easy for your shoulders and elbows to get injured if you don’t use them properly.

How Heavy is an Olympic Barbell?

An Olympic barbell weighs 20kg for the male version and 15kg for the female variation.

Barbell-Exercises-Guide barbell front raise

It’s also known as a men’s Olympic barbell or a standard-sized men’s Olympic barbell, and it’s 7 feet long and 44.5 inches in diameter. The women’s version is slightly shorter at 6-foot-6 inches (1.98 meters).

Are Barbell Front Raises Suitable for Beginners?

Yes, barbell front raises are suitable for beginners. However, it’s important to remember that this is not an exercise you can just jump into without proper preparation. If your form isn’t perfect or if you’re using too much weight, you could hurt yourself!

As with any other movement, it’s important to start with the right kind of exercise when working on your form. Start with a light weight so that you have time to learn how best to perform an exercise correctly before moving on to heavier weights and higher reps.

Is the Front Raise or Side Raise Better?

It depends. If you’re looking to build the anterior deltoid, front raises are probably your best bet. If you’re looking to work both the anterior and lateral heads of your deltoids, then side raises may be a better option for you.

Why? As mentioned above, front raises target the front head of your shoulder more than any other type of shoulder exercise can offer.

Side raises hit the lateral head well but don’t really do much for that pesky rear-facing muscle that keeps popping up in photos everywhere!


As you can see from all this information, the barbell front raise is a powerful exercise that can work wonders for your fitness goals and overall health.

It’s an excellent way to build up strength in your shoulders and arms, as well as increase flexibility throughout these areas.

By varying the weight, you use or taking advantage of some of these great alternatives, you can improve your performance even more!

If you’re looking for a simple yet highly effective workout routine, then give this exercise a try today. The results will speak for themselves!

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