Barbell Front Raise: Muscles Worked, Form and Alternatives

If you want to strengthen your shoulders, the barbell front raise exercise is a great place to start.

The barbell front raise is an effective shoulder exercise that targets the front deltoids. It also engages the lateral deltoids, upper chest, and trapezius muscles to a lesser extent.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Barbell Front Raise, including proper form, variations, and benefits.

What is Barbell Front Raise

The Barbell Front Raise is a compound exercise that primarily targets the anterior deltoids, which are the front muscles of the shoulders. This exercise also works the anterior deltoids, lateral deltoids, upper chest, and trapezius muscles to a lesser extent. Doing the barbell front raise helps you to build a bigger and stronger shoulders.

It is possible to overload the muscles with the barbell to a greater degree than one may be capable of doing with dumbbells.

This exercise should be a part of your barbell shoulder workout routine.

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Muscles Worked During Barbell Front Raise

The deltoid muscle of the shoulder consists of three separate sections or heads. The anterior deltoid (In front)Lateral deltoid (at the side) and Posterior deltoid (behind)

The barbell front raise primarily works the anterior deltoid muscles group.

Muscles Worked During Barbell Front Raise

How To Do Front Barbell Raise

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip a barbell with an overhand grip, hands shoulder distance apart6.
  2. Hold the barbell in front of your thighs with your arms straight and palms facing down.
  3. Slowly lift the barbell straight up in front of your body until it reaches shoulder height.
  4. Pause for a moment, then lower the barbell back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Barbell front raise
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Set, Reps For Barbell Front Raise

The number of reps you should perform depends on your goals. They may be to increase strength, build muscle mass and endurance.

  • For muscle growth, it is best to do for around 6–12 reps per set.
  • For strength, around 3–8 reps per set are recommended.
  • Muscle Endurance, do 15-20+ reps per set.
Beginner2-38-121-2 times per week
Intermediate3-48-122-3 times per week
Advanced4-58-152-3 times per week

Form And Tips

  • This is an isolation exercise, so the focus should be on form and muscle contraction, not weight.
  • Keep your back straight and your head up. Keep your body still. Only your arm should move.
  • Avoid shrugging your shoulders; keep them down and back.
  • Use a full range of motion to maximize muscle engagement.
  • The front raise is a good exercise to superset with a shoulder pressing exercise.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Breathe out as you lift the barbell and breathe in as you lower it.
  • Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the exercise
  • Always warm up your shoulder joints with lighter weights or arm circles before going heavy.

Benefits Of Doing Front Raise With Barbell

  1. Targeted Shoulder Development: Focuses on the anterior deltoids for sculpted front shoulders.
  2. Muscle Imbalance Correction: Helps balance the shoulder muscles when combined with other shoulder exercises.
  3. Increased Range of Motion: Enhances shoulder flexibility and reduces stiffness.
  4. Improved Functional Strength: Assists in daily activities and sports requiring strong shoulders.
  5. Better Posture: Contributes to upright posture by strengthening shoulder muscles.
  6. Versatility: Suitable for all levels and can be done with different types of equipment.
  7. Enhanced Core Stability: Requires core engagement, offering an indirect core workout.
  8. Improved Grip Strength: Holding the barbell helps in enhancing grip strength.
  9. Easy to Progress: Straightforward to add weight or reps for continued progress.

Variations and Alternates Of Barbell Front Raise

Alternative exercises targeting similar muscle groups:

1. Dumbbell Front Raise

The more common free weight alternative to the cable front raisethe dumbbell front raise. It is simply a cable front raise that uses evenly weighted dumbbells to induce a similar training stimuli as the latter exercise.

2. Incline Dumbbell Front Raise

The incline dumbbell front raise is a variation of the dumbbell front raise that is performed on an incline bench. This allows you to target both the upper chest muscles and the front shoulders more effectively.

This variation of the Front Raise targets the upper portion of the front deltoids and can be done on an incline bench

3. Cable Front Raise

The cable front raise is an isolation exercise, with the anterior deltoid muscle group being the main focus of this exercise. It is an excellent exercise for strength and conditioning in the deltoid’s muscle groups.

The cable front raise is mostly done by athletes and regular gym goers to make the anterior deltoid muscle bigger and stronger.

4. Plate Front Raise

The Plate front raise exercise is a variation of the traditional barbell front raise that increases forearm and hand strength, while targeting your front deltoids. You can do the plate front raise seated or standing.

If you lift heavy, the weight plate front raise will significantly challenge your core and especially your lower back. Therefore, increase weight gradually to give your lower back time to adapt.

How To Incorporate It Into Workout Routine

The barbell cable front raise can be incorporated into your upper body workout routine in several ways.

1. Superset With Other Exercises

Supersetting the one arm cable front raise with other upper body exercises, such as push-ups or bench press.

It can make your workouts more intense and make your muscles work harder.

2. Perform As A Standalone Exercise

Perform the one arm cable front raise as a standalone exercise to improve your form and technique, and target your shoulder muscles more effectively.

3. Combine With Other Cable Exercises

Combining the one arm cable front raise with other cable exercises, such as the cable chest fly or cable tricep pushdown.

It will help you achieve a full-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups at once.

4. Sample Shoulder Workout Routine

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time
Warm-Up3-512-1520-30 sec
Barbell Overhead Press48-1060-90 sec
Dumbbell Lateral Raise3-410-1260 sec
Barbell Front Raise3-410-1260 sec
Face Pulls312-1560 sec
Seated Dumbbell Arnold Press38-1060-90 sec
Bent-over Rear Delt Fly310-1260 sec

Are barbell front raises good

Yes, barbell front raises are a good exercise. Barbell front raises can help to build shoulder strength and muscle mass, improve shoulder mobility.


The Barbell Front Raise is a highly effective exercise for building stronger and more defined shoulders. The Barbell Front Raise primarily strengthens the shoulder muscles (deltoids) and works the upper chest (pectorals). 

This is an isolation exercise that helps to attain a bigger and stronger shoulder through consistent practice and utmost dedication. So, why not give the Barbell Front Raise a try and see the results for yourself.

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