Muscles Targeted: Seated front dumbbell raises are a great exercise to include in your shoulder workout to hit the front head of the deltoid muscle. Since there are 3 main heads of the deltoid muscle, you want to use specific exercises to target the front, middle and rear portions of the muscle. By lifting the weight out in front of you, this will engage the frontal area of the shoulders and allow you to target this area. Moving the weight directly overhead and to the side will work more of the middle head and moving the weight to the rear will target the posterior head of the deltoid.
Exercise Advice: Choose a seated bench with back support when doing seated front dumbbell raises. Grab two light dumbbells and sit down on the bench with your back flat against the back rest. Place both feet firmly on the ground for stabilization and let the dumbbells hang naturally to your sides. Using both arms, slowly bring the dumbbells up in front of you at the same time until they reach the top position, which will be at about chin level. Pause for a brief moment at the top and then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position to complete one full repetition. Using a slow and controlled tempo is very important when doing this exercise, so make sure to always be in control of the weight and try to really feel the front deltoid muscles working during the movement. Remember that this exercise is not a mass building movement like the barbell shoulder press, so the overall weight is not very important. This is considered more of a shaping movement, so focus on a lighter pair of dumbbells and make sure your exercise technique is spot on during the entire range of the movement.
Things To Avoid: Avoid swinging your upper body when performing this exercise. You should avoid bending forward, arching your back and hunching your shoulders when you lift the weight up and lower it back down. If your technique suffers, decrease the weight immediately and choose a lighter pair of dumbbells. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself because your ego got too big and you wanted to lift heavy weights. Always be safe and perform the exercise slowly and completely controlled to ensure you place maximum tension on the deltoids. You also want to avoid raising the dumbbells too high at the top of the movement. Bringing the weight way above your head enables your trapezius muscles and also your rotator cuffs too much, so focus on bringing the weight to about chin level to target the front deltoids primarily. Placing too much stress on the rotator cuffs can cause shoulder injuries down the road, which is something you definitely want to avoid.
Reps and Sets: Since the seated front dumbbell raises are more of a shaping movement and not a mass builder, your repetition range will be on the higher end at around 12-15 reps per set. Start out this exercise by warming up with a very light pair of dumbbells (5-10 pounds) to warm up your muscles before you increase the weight. Your overall sets will depend on your current level of fitness. For beginners, choose a total number of sets for your entire shoulder workout to be in the range of 3-4. This will consist of a single exercise for each head of the deltoid (front, middle and rear). For advanced athletes, the total sets will increase to 9-10 by choosing 3 different exercises and doing around 3 sets for each one. Total time for your shoulder workout should be in the range of 45-60 minutes. Anything longer than this and you will basically be overtraining the muscle which can easily lead to a plateau in both muscle growth and strength gains.
Other Exercises To Use: Since your goal should be overall development for all three heads of your deltoids, you want to combine seated front dumbbell raises, which is a front deltoid exercise, with a middle mass building movement and a rear deltoid exercise. These exercises include the seated dumbbell deltoid presses and the bent over cable rear deltoid raises. By combining all three exercises, you will be able to hit the shoulders from different angles and really work the deltoids.