One of the most effective exercises you can do to build your front delts is the cable front raise. The exercise hits the front and lateral delts and is incredibly beneficial when done correctly.
When most people think of shoulder training, they often think of the standard barbell or dumbbell shoulder press, but the cable front raise should also be included in your shoulder workout if you want your shoulders to look the best they can!
In fact, our shoulders are made of three main parts. The anterior (front) delt, lateral (middle) delt, and posterior (rear) delt. Hence, your shoulder workout must target all these areas.
Having said that, your front delts are used a lot! Many upper body pressing exercises already use the front delts so you might be overtraining them which might cause injuries. We will look into this in a little more detail later on in this article.
But first, let’s get into how to perform this exercise with proper form and the key the benefits.
How To Perform The Cable Front Raise
Like any exercise, you must perform this with proper form to get the maximum benefits.
Initial set up:
You want the cable to be position at the very bottom. Now, attach a bar and select an appropriate weight. Face the opposite side of the pulley and perform these steps:
- Pull the bar attached to the machine using both hands so that the cables will run between your legs.
- Have you elbows slightly bent and keep raising the bar until it is line with your shoulders.
- Pause for a moment keeping the tension mainly on your anterior delts.
- Slowly drop the weight down maintaining that constant pressure in your shoulder.
- Perform 2-3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions for the maximum benefit.
Quick tips: Perform this slowly! I’ve seen many people perform exercises and finish reps and sets to quick. The slower you perform an exercise, the more tension you put on the working muscles. Even when dropping the weight back, perform that motion SLOWLY!
Another key point to keep in mind is to pause at the top of the moment. This again increases the tension on the shoulder and will maximize your gains.
Do You Need To Train Your Front Delts?
If you’re training chest and shoulders in the same day, you’re probably already getting a lot of front delt activation. In fact a lot of the upper body pressing movements like bench press, incline press, dips and shoulder press all hit the front delt hard.
Does that mean you should completely ignore any front delt isolation exercises? No! Include it in your workout strategically. The point is, training the front delts too much can cause imbalances and injuries.
However including an exercise that hits the front delt mainly like the cable front raise can be beneficial in your shoulder workout.
Common Mistakes When Performing the Cable Front Raise
The cable front raise itself isn’t hard however there are a few mistakes I see people make in the gym when performing this exercise. These mistakes decrease the effectiveness of the exercise and, worse, can cause severe shoulder pain. So, make sure to avoid these and focus on form and technique.
1. Lifting More Then You Actually Can!
Not just for the cable front raise, in any exercise you must use a weight that challenges your working muscles and doesn’t sacrifice your technique. I would much rather have you perform the exercise with a lower weight but with proper form instead of using a heavy weight with poor form.
2. Going Too High
As you are lifting the weight up, don’t go higher then shoulder length. Going too high may result in shoulder pain.
Lift the weight until it is in line with your shoulder to get maximum front delt activation.
3. Elbows Bent Too Much
This is another very common mistake I see people making. Bending the elbows too much decreases the front delt activation and put’s the pressure on other muscles. Your elbows should only be slightly bent to make this exercise most effective for your anterior delts.
4. Using Your Traps
You might have seen people shrugging their shoulders when performing this movement. This increases your trap activation decreases your front delt involvement. If this is something you do, try to pull your shoulder blades back and down or decrease the weight.
Variations of the Cable Front Raise
The cable machine is amazing! You can target so many muscle groups from chest and triceps to biceps and back. That’s why these cable machines are always taken at the gym! I am taking from personal experience here.
So, it’s good to know a few variations just in case the cable machines are taken, or if you just don’t feel like doing the same exercise every time!
1. Dumbbell Front raises
For this, stand upright and grab a pair of dumbbells with both hands and position them in front of your thighs. Your palms should be facing your thighs. Perform similar motion as the cable front raise and lift the dumbbells up until the weights are in line with your shoulders. Make sure your elbows are slightly bent.
The only problem with this is that you are more likely to use momentum as opposed to using cables.
2. Seated Dumbbell front raise
If you find that standing version is a little difficult, then you could simply perform this seated. Especially if you have a lower body injury, performing this exercise seated will still hit those front delts.
3. One arm Cable Front Raise
Unilateral training involves using one side of your body at a time. For example, one arm cable front raise. There are many benefits of unilateral training. One is that it avoids overtraining the dominant side and corrects muscle imbalances!
Benefits of the cable front raise
The cable front raise is a great way to build shoulder strength, in particular the anterior deltoids. One key benefit of this exercise is that it improves shoulder mobility and stability.
Our front delts assist in the abduction of the shoulder which helps our arms move straight out and away from the body. So, it’s good to train them however, as mentioned previously, train them STRATGECIALLY.
The anterior delts makes our everyday lifting activities a LOT easier. From lifting the garbage bag to placing heavy items on the shelves.
It’s a good thing that our front delts get used in a lot of upper body exercises like chest and dips however, adding cable front raise to your shoulder can really isolate this muscle group.
The cable front raise is a great exercise if you are looking to hit those anterior deltoids. However, make sure you know how much of the front delts is being worked because this muscle is used in various other upper body pressing exercises like bench press, shoulder press, and dips.
We hope this article has helped you and stay tuned for our upcoming articles!