Are Front Raises A Waste Of Time?

incline front raises
March 1, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are front raises a waste of time?”. Front raises are an exercise for the front delts, typically they are performed using dumbbells. 

You can also use cables for front raises and you can choose to do them seated or standing. This article will explore whether there is any utility to this exercise. Is it really a waste of time?

Are Front Raises A Waste Of Time?

For most people, front raises are not necessary. Many people who lift weights already have over developed front delts from bench pressing and other pressing movements.

Therefore, doing further isolation work for the front deltoids is not needed and it can exacerbate issues in terms of posture and mobility. If your front delts become too over developed your shoulders will droop forward.

For people who don’t do too many heavy presses and don’t include much shoulder pressing into their routines, the front raise does have utility. In some cases, people over estimate how much front delt development they have.

Bodybuilders in particular can benefit from front raises. Working all three heads of the shoulder with isolation work is important in bodybuilding for a well balanced look. You just have to regulate how much volume you do on front raises based on your individual needs.

Heavy Pressing Enough For Most

For most people heavy pressing is all that is needed to achieve well developed front delts. The bench press will target the front delts along with the triceps and pecs. The overhead press or seated shoulder press will hit the front delts hardest.

Therefore if you are already doing heavy pressing for the chest and heavy shoulder pressing, adding in more work for the front deltoids is simply overkill and not needed.

You will end up with over developed front delts which will hinder your physique structurally and aesthetically. In addition it would cause a muscle imbalance.

Useful To Bring Up Lagging Front Delts

Where the front raises are useful is for specifically bringing up lagging development in the front deltoids. If you find that your front delts are not growing much, then you should look into adding in front raises.

Everyone is different in terms of stubborn body parts. Some people find it tough to build their chest, others may have problems building up their calves. For the people whose stubborn body part is shoulders, they would need to incorporate more isolation work for all three heads of the shoulder.

In addition, if you don’t do much shoulder pressing in your routine you will find that your front delts are not growing as much as they could be. If you are not doing shoulder presses because of discomfort, you could experiment with performing front raises from different angles.
incline front raises

More Rear Delt Work Needed For Most People

The majority of people could do with doing more work for the rear delts. Many have over developed front delts relative to their rear delts.

To compensate for this, they should do more rear delt flies and more pulling in general. Very often the back musculature is neglected relative to the muscles that can be seen more clearly in the mirror – like the chest and shoulders.

This is a critical mistake and one that will hold you back from developing the well rounded physique that you want. 

Therefore, for many lifters more front raises is not the solution and would be a waste of time. 

Use Case In Bodybuilding

In bodybuilding, front raises are one of the isolation exercises that are used to work the shoulder muscles. 

Typically a good complex in bodybuilding would be to hit all three heads of the shoulders with front raises, lateral raises and rear delt raises. This would ensure well balanced development and is something that many bodybuilders have in their routines.

 Bodybuilders in general do a lot more isolation work. This is to hit all the small muscles that don’t get hit by compound exercises. In addition, you can bring up weak links in this way and it can help you to lift weights for a longer period of time.

John Meadows Views

In the video below, the late John Meadows shares his views about the front raise. He explains that they are not a useless exercise and do have their place in bodybuilding.

He also states that a lot of people over estimate how impressive their front delts really are. There is some truth to this. He explains how the incline bench press can be incredibly effective for building bigger front delts.

In addition, the high incline smith machine press is fantastic for building boulder shoulders. I also agree with going down to your chin on that exercise. This range of motion is sufficient for keeping optimal tension on the shoulders throughout the movement.

It will also help to keep your shoulders healthy and avoid discomfort. I especially like the front raises on an incline bench that John demonstrates at the end of the video. This exercise would afford you a greater range of motion and you will start with some tension on the front delts already.

Final Thoughts

Are front raises a waste of time? Overall, I would say no. They are useful for bodybuilding to build up lagging front delts. They can also be used as a circuit exercise to be done quickly along with side raises and rear delt raises.

By doing them in a circuit like this you won’t be wasting too much time. For people who already do lots of heavy shoulder pressing and respond very well to it, the front raise would be largely unnecessary.

The most important thing is to ensure balance and that is true for shoulder muscles as it is of any other body part. You want to minimise muscle imbalances and therefore have to pay attention to this.

If you have any comments about the front raise please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Are Machine Lateral Raises Effective?

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