Round, defined shoulders that look amazing in a tank top… yes please! I find that balancing overhead press work with a combination of lateral and front raise exercises is the best option to build strong shoulders. One of my favorite things about the plate front raise over the traditional dumbbell front raise is that by using a plate, your hands stay at a consistent distance and you can really engage your core to stabilize the movement. Want to find out specifically what makes this shoulder exercise
How to do a Plate Front Raise
- Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart and hips slightly rolled under.
- Grasp a weight plate from each side being sure to stand up tall with your chest lifted.
- As you contract your abdominal muscles, lift the plate up bringing it to eye level with your arms straight but a very modest bend in your arms.
- Hold the plate front raise for 1 to 2 counts for a short isometric contraction before lowering the plate back down to the front to the starting position.
Benefits of Strong Shoulders
Your shoulders do a fair amount of work whenever you perform back and chest exercises, but performing exercises that single out your delts are also important for the following reasons:
Real-life benefits: Strong shoulders make most arm movements easier, whether you’re throwing a baseball, passing food across the table, or lifting a suitcase that’s a little too heavy. Virtually every upper-body exercise involves your shoulder muscles to some extent, so strengthening your shoulders enables you to lift heavier weights for chest and back exercises.
Injury prevention: If your shoulders are weak, they’re going to take a beating even if you perform chest and back exercises perfectly. Shoulder exercises also can prevent common injuries that many women experience, such as a torn rotator cuff from repetative motions. If your shoulders are weak, you can even injure yourself from some relatively simple everyday activities like pulling on a door.
Self-confidence factor: Open up any bodybuilding or fitness magazine and you see headlines such as, “Delts to Die For” or “Sexy, Strong Shoulders.” Bodybuilders take their shoulder training seriously because they know that these muscles play a big part in their appearance, which, after all, is what bodybuilding is all about.
Even if you don’t want to build competition-level delts, you can still develop toned, shapely shoulders and reclaim your confidence to wear sleeveless shirts. (You should wear sleeveless shirts any time you please, but a toned shoulder muscle may put a little pep in your sleeveless step.)
Ready to take it to the next level?
If you want to push hard and really challenge yourself, you can take the plate delt raise to the next level by continuing the motion overhead. I like to call this a Straight Arm Overhead Front Delt Raise and it will engage the rear delts on a whole new level!
Want to know more… The plate front raise is an isolation exercise for the shoulders, more specifically the front deltoids. This exercise also improves stability and strength through the shoulder joint.
Additional Tips for Plate Front Raise
- Don’t swing or lower the weights or Olympic plate too quickly.
- Lift and lower them slowly and with control. Do NOT use momentum to get the weight moving upwards.
- Focus on contracting the shoulder muscles (delts/deltoids) and start with a weight that allows you to maintain full control until you master the form.
- Keep a slight bend in your elbows at all times.