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The pursuit of a V-shaped body all starts with the shoulders. Why? Because the wider and broader you can make your delts, the narrower and slimmer your waist will seem (even if that’s an area that still needs a bit of training time spent on it). And one of the best ways to build broader shoulders is to do those exercises that target the side and rear parts of your shoulder muscles. Not many moves do that more effectively that the dumbbell reverse flye.
Each rep hits both parts of this important muscle group, while building stability through your shoulder girdle and rotator cuff muscles to build stronger and more injury-proof shoulder joints. Just remember, you never want to lift too heavy with this move – good form is very important to avoid putting too much stress on your shoulder joint.
How To Do A Dumbbell Reverse Flye
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a light dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other. Lean forwards from the hips, maintaining your chest up, glutes and core braced and keep your back again, with the weights hanging forwards before you and hook bend in your elbows.
Keeping the bend in your elbows and leading with them, raise the dumbbells out to the side until they reach shoulder height. Pause at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then lower them back to the start.
It’s vital to engage your muscles to lift and lower the weight, rather than relying on momentum to swing them up and down. Using momentum means you won’t work the target muscles effectively and exposes your shoulder joint to a significant risk of injury.
How To Master The Front Raise
This is a biology lesson, so pipe down at the back – you’re only wasting your own time, Simpkins. The shoulder comprises three heads: the front (anterior), middle (medial) and rear (posterior) deltoids. When you are looking to build your front delts then there is no better exercise than the front raise. All you need is a pair of dumbbells, though it can be done with other free weights and gym machines.
The two ways of doing the dumbbell version – the double-arm front raise and the alternating, one-arm front raise. Here’s how you perform both exercises.
Double-Arm Dumbbell Front Raise
By grasping both dumbbells of equal weight in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body (a pronated grip). Remaining your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart, lift the dumbbells in front of you in a controlled manner until your hands are in line with your shoulders. Then slowly lower back to the starting position then.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Front Raise
Follow the all guide above for the double-arm version, but instead of raising both dumbbells at once, lift one to shoulder height, lower and then repeat with the other arm and keep alternating.
Common Mistakes To Avoid
Lifting Above The Shoulders
Going any higher is unnecessary. It’ll provide no extra stimulation to the front delt, but will increase the risk of injury to the surprisingly delicate shoulder joint.
Using A Heavy Weight
Check your ego (for this exercise and everything else). The front side of the shoulder is such a relatively small muscle that light weights provide adequate muscular tension and will lower the chance of injury.
Front Raise Variations
Cable Front Raise
At one end of a cable cross-over station, set the straight bar attachment to the lowest pulley increment. Grip the attachment with palms facing your body (a pronated grip), your back to the cable station, feet shoulder-width apart and the pulley running between your legs. Lift the bar to shoulder height keeping your arms outstretched, pausing at the top of the movement, then slowly lower again.
Plate Steering Wheel Raises
You should take a weight plate that you can safely raise for 15 to 20 reps. Hold the plate in the same ten-to-two position that you use with a steering wheel. With your foot shoulder-width apart and back straight, raise before you slowly, arms outstretched, until the hands reach shoulder height.
Barbell Front Raise
Select an appropriate weight – the fixed weight barbells that you typically find on a stand are a great choice for this variation – but if in any doubt, go lighter. With your feet shoulder-width apart, position your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar (any wider can injure the shoulder joint) and bring the bar to the front of your thighs. Lift slowly under control until the barbell reaches shoulder height. Slowly lower back to the start.