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Seated Front Raise [Exercise Guide]

seated front raise

A seated front raise might be a perfect choice if you are looking for an effective and simple workout to load your anterior delts. Read on to learn about muscles worked, benefits, proper form, tips, and more.

What Is Seated Front Raise

Seated front raise is a strength workout, primarily targeting front delts. Thanks to muscle isolation, it is possible to load this area to the maximum. Practicing the exercise, you will develop your pull power. But it’s not the only benefit. The technique is straightforward, which practically eliminates the possibility of errors and injuries. So it’s a perfect movement for those who want to train the anterior deltoid effectively and safely. You also don’t need fancy equipment for trying this workout. To perform the seated front raise, you will need only a chair with back support and a pair of dumbbells.

What Muscles Does Seated Front Raise Work

The exercise targets:

  • anterior deltoid
  • lateral deltoid
  • serratus anterior

The anterior head of the deltoid is the primary focus of this workout. The front delts work best during abduction of the arms when you move them away from your body. The supraspinatus muscle is responsible for the initial momentum. The lateral deltoid also plays an essential role cause it guarantees shoulders stability throughout the movement.

How To Perform A Seated Front Raise

Step 1. Set up

Make sure that you have a comfortable bench and dumbbells of the right weight. If your goal is a maximum load on the front delts, your bench must have back support. Otherwise, you will put more tension in the core muscles during the exercise.

Step 2. Get into the starting position

Sit on the bench and grab dumbbells. Consider the following recommendations to promote greater muscle activation and stay in the safest position possible. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Before you raise the weights, ensure your shoulder blades are back and down.

Step 3. Raise the dumbbells

Raise the weights right in front of you, keeping your palms facing each other. Reach towards the wall in front of you when you do the lift. This trick helps to engage the targeted muscles more. The extreme point of the lift is your shoulder level.

Step 4. Return to the starting position

Slowly and confidently lower the weights to their original position. Avoid swinging; your movements should be accurate and calibrated. 

The number of reps depends on your goals. Experts recommend 8 – 12 reps for 4 sets to achieve muscle hypertrophy and 3 – 6 reps for 4 sets to gain strength.

Seated Front Raise Benefits

Anterior deltoid isolation

This exercise is a real gift for those who want to train the shoulder’s front muscles. Seated front raise has almost no competitors in the pumping of the anterior deltoid. The secret of efficiency is the static position of the body during practice. The movement is isolated and implies only one direction.

Preventing injuries

Athletes’ shoulders are one of the most vulnerable spots because these muscles are very mobile. Therefore, complex exercises are often fraught with injuries. And here, seated front raise comes to save the day. A simple motion trajectory will prevent injuries. Moreover, exercise is recommended as a safe method of recovering after unsuccessful experiences.

Seated Front Raise Alternatives

1. Plate Front Raise

This workout’s distinctive feature is unusual equipment. To practice the plate front raise, one should hold a weight plate between two hands. The technique is a bit tricky, but it has many benefits. Anterior delts isolation and maximum effect with less weight are among numerous advantages.

How to do a Plate front raise:

  • Start the exercise by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a plate.
  • Lift the plate in front of your body explosively with your arms. If necessary, maintain a small bend in your elbows.
  • Lift the weight above your head. Maintain a slight retraction of your shoulder blades. Avoid employing too much force.
  • Come back to the starting position.

2. Underhand Front Raise

The underhand front raise is quite similar to the front variation with dumbbells. The primary distinction is the usage of an underhand grip. You get the most out of your lats’ contraction at the conclusion of each rep when you use an underhand grip. As a result, you may work your delts and lats.

How to do an Underhand front raise:

  • Keep your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. It’s a starting position.
  • Grasp the dumbbells from the bottom, palms facing away from you.
  • Raise the weights to the height of your chin, then lower them. 
  • Feel your way through each phase of the movement.

3. Cable Front Raise

Cable front raise is a compound exercise with the main focus on the anterior deltoid. It’s an excellent workout for anyone looking to improve shoulder strength and function. Regular practice will result in bigger and well-defined shoulders. The movement also works for muscle recovery and is beginner-friendly. 

How to do a Cable front raise:

  • Place the pulley in the lowest position and face the cable machine. Allow the cable to flow between your legs by holding the handle with a neutral grip. 
  • Your body should be erect. Keep your arms outstretched. Exhale and raise the bar to shoulder level. To increase tension, pause at the apex of the exercise for a few seconds.
  • Inhale deeply and lower the bar to the starting position. Move slowly and deliberately, and avoid relying on momentum.


Seated front raise has enough benefits to add this workout to your routine. The exercise has a simple technique and loads the anterior deltoid to the maximum. Practicing the movement is an excellent approach to enhancing upper-body strength, shoulder mobility and stability. Also, it can help to train your shoulders safely and prevent injuries. It’s totally OK to begin with lesser weights while you polish your form. One more good news is that the movement has alternatives if you want to spice up your training program.