2 Arm Raises to Add Size to Your Delts

arm raises

Front and lateral raises are a great way to broaden your frame. 

Arm raises are potent exercises that effectively target and fortify the muscles in your shoulders. A study published by the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) in 2020 revealed that engaging in regular shoulder-arm exercises for thirty minutes each day can significantly enhance your quality of life (1).

With several variations of arm raises available, it’s easy to confuse them. However, this article aims to clarify any misunderstandings. We introduce you to two powerful arm raise variations that promise to develop defined shoulders. Moreover, this guide will outline the advantages of these exercises and provide step-by-step instructions for performing them effectively.

Arm Raises 

  • Front Raise
  • Lateral Raise

Front Raise

The front raise is an isolation exercise that works your shoulders, primarily focusing on the anterior deltoids. Secondary muscles include your pecs, traps, and core muscles, like the abs and obliques, which act as stabilizers during this exercise.

The dumbbell is the primary equipment used during this exercise, though you can also use other free weights like barbells, EZ bars, and kettlebellsTo get the most from your workout sessions and place constant tension on your target muscles, you can use resistance bands or a cable machine. This exercise is a good way to build shoulder size and arm strength. Below is a step-by-step guide highlighting how to do the front raise using a dumbbell.

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells using an overhand grip and rest them on your thighs with your arms hanging down. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees, brace your core, and pull your shoulders-blades back. 
  3. Keep your chest up and back straight throughout this exercise. This is your starting position.
  4. Next, take a deep breath and slowly lift the dumbbells away from your body in front of you. Keep your arms as straight as possible until they align with your jaw. Pause for about two seconds in this position.
  5. Return the dumbbells in a slow and controlled manner back to the starting position, making it one rep.
  6. Repeat this movement for as many reps as you desire.

Benefits of the Front Raise

The front raise is an arm raise variation that builds strong shoulders and arms. It’s a flexible exercise that accommodates many equipment, including free weights, resistance bands, and cable machines. Front raises are regarded as one of the best exercises for working the front delt, which is one of the three heads of the deltoid muscles. Here’s a list of benefits for performing this exercise.

  • It’s an isolation exercise primarily focusing on building the anterior deltoids (front delts), giving it strength and definition.
  • It strengthens the core muscles.
  • Since it strengthens the shoulder muscles, it improves posture and helps prevent injuries.
  • It improves your mind-muscle connection, which induces muscle hypertrophy.
  • Improves shoulder joint stability.
  • Improves your form for other exercises like pull-ups and bench presses

Lateral Raise

The lateral raise is another arm raise variation that works your shoulders. It primarily focuses on the lateral deltoid muscles. Secondary muscles include your anterior delts and upper traps. The abs and obliques also act as stabilizers during this exercise.

Similar to the front raise, the lateral raise’s go-to equipment is the dumbbells, but like it, you can use other free weights, too. These free weights build the target muscles and offer extra stability for this exercise. However, resistance bands and cable machines are the way to go if you want to activate your medial delt muscles differently by placing constant tension on them and increasing their range of motion. Below are instructions on how to do the lateral raise using a dumbbell.

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells using a neutral grip, rest them at your sides with your arms hanging down, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees, brace your core, and pull your shoulders-blades back. 
  3. Keep your chest up and back straight throughout this exercise. This is your starting position.
  4. Next, take a deep breath and slowly lift the dumbbells away from your body and out to your sides. Keep your arms straight until they align with your shoulders or slightly above. Pause for about two seconds in this position.
  5. Return the dumbbells in a slow and controlled manner back to the starting position to complete a rep. 
  6. Repeat this movement for as many reps as you desire.

Benefits of the Lateral Raise

The lateral raise is another arm raise variation that builds strong shoulders. This helps with proper upper body structure and can improve mobility and quality of life. It’s considered one of the best exercises for working the side delts. Here’s a list of benefits for performing this exercise.

  1. It’s an isolation exercise that primarily focuses on building the lateral deltoids (side delts), giving them strength and definition.
  2. It activates and strengthens core muscles.
  3. As the front raises, it strengthens the shoulder muscles, improves posture, and helps prevent injuries.
  4. It improves your mind-muscle connection, which induces muscle hypertrophy.
  5. Improves shoulder joint stability.
  6. Improves your form for other exercises.

Studies prove the front and lateral raises are excellent workouts for bodybuilders looking to build and strengthen their shoulders and other secondary muscles like the arms and traps (2).

FAQs

Do arm raises build muscle?

Yes, arm raises build muscle. Depending on the variation of the exercise, they primarily work the shoulders. The lateral raises primarily work the lateral deltoids (side delts), while the front raises primarily work the anterior deltoids (front delts).

Are front raises effective?

Front raises effectively build bigger shoulders, explicitly targeting the anterior delts. They also work secondary muscles like the upper pecs. During this exercise, the core muscles are activated.

Is it good to raise your arms?

It’s good to raise your arms. Raising your arms, such as lateral raises, has numerous benefits, from improving your health to strengthening your joints and preventing injuries. This article provides a comprehensive look at arm raises and their different variations.

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References

  1. Chen, I. H., Wang, C. H., Wang, S. Y., Cheng, S. Y., Yu, T. J., & Kuo, S. F. (2020). Mediating effects of shoulder-arm exercise on the postoperative severity of symptoms and quality of life of women with breast cancer. BMC women’s health, 20(1), 101. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-020-00968-w
  2. Coratella, G., Tornatore, G., Longo, S., Esposito, F., & Cè, E. (2020). An Electromyographic Analysis of Lateral Raise Variations and Frontal Raise in Competitive Bodybuilders. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(17), 6015. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176015 
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.