Muscles Targeted: Seated front alternating dumbbell raises are great for developing the front head of the deltoids. The deltoid muscle consists of 3 main heads which include the lateral (middle), anterior (front) and posterior (rear). Developing all 3 heads is very important for both symmetry and to make sure you do not have an area that is lacking in development since this could lead to injuries down the road. Since many of the mass building exercises like the barbell shoulder press target both the middle and frontal area of the shoulders, many people forget to work the rear deltoids with specific exercises. The rear deltoid area is crucial and needs to be targeted with specific movements in order to ensure maximum overall development in the entire deltoid region.
Exercise Advice: Choose a bench with back support to allow for maximum safety while doing the seated front alternating dumbbell raises. Grab a light pair of dumbbells and safely position yourself on the bench with your back flat against the back rest and your feet squarely flat on the floor for complete stabilization. Let the dumbbells hang naturally at your sides and begin the exercise by raising one arm up in front of you to the top position which will be at about chin level. Pause slightly at the top of the movement to place maximum tension on the front deltoid muscle and then slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position. Perform the exercise with your other arm using the same technique to complete one full repetition.
Things To Avoid: Technique and form is crucial with the seated front alternating dumbbell raises. Since this is considered more of a shaping movement and not a mass builder, you do not need to use a lot of weight when doing this exercise. Avoid swinging the weight in a fast or erratic manner. Always use a slow and controlled tempo throughout the entire range of the movement. Make sure you avoid hunching your shoulders over or arching your back when you raise and lower the dumbbells. Your posture should be erect with your back flat against the back rest, feet flat on the floor and your shoulders back. If you notice yourself swinging your body in order to get the weight up to the top position, decrease the weight of the dumbbells immediately. Your goal should be to place the maximum amount of tension on the front deltoid and this is accomplished by using a very slow and controlled technique. Do not allow ego to get in the way with this exercise. Remember, it’s about exercise technique and not the weight used. You can focus on lifting a heavy weight when doing more mass building movements such as the barbell shoulder press or Military press. The seated front alternating dumbbell raises are a shaping movement to develop the front deltoids, so focus your attention on this area when performing the movement.
Reps and Sets: Since the seated front alternating dumbbell raises are more of a shaping movement, your repetition range will be around 12-15 reps per set. Make sure to warm-up with a very light pair of dumbbells (5-10 pounds) in order to get blood into the muscle before increasing the weight. Your total number of sets will depend on your fitness level. For beginners, shoot for 1 set for this exercise and include 2-3 additional exercises to hit the two other heads of the deltoid muscle (middle and rear heads). If you’re more advanced, shoot for 3 sets for this exercises and also include additional exercises to target the other heads of the shoulders. Total workout time should be 45-60 minutes in length. Do not go over an hour for your workout session, since your hormone levels start to decrease at this time and you will be overworking your muscles which can lead to overtraining issues and hitting a severe plateau which is something you definitely want to avoid.
Other Exercises To Use: A few other exercises to include along with the seated front alternating dumbbell raises, are the standing twisting dumbbell presses which is a great mass building exercise for the shoulders along with reverse incline dumbbell flyes which is a great finishing movement for the rear head of the shoulders.