Plate Front Raise Exercise Guide

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If you’re looking to improve your fitness and build a well-rounded physique, the plate front raise is a great addition to include in your workout routine.

It will help you sculpt your deltoid muscles at home or the gym. All you need is a single weight plate.

What Is A Plate Front Raise?

A plate front raise is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the front of your deltoid muscles – your rounded shoulder muscles.

It is performed by holding a weight plate in front of your body with your arms relatively straight and both hands lifting the weight to eye level.

The plate front raise is a great exercise for beginners as it’s relatively easy to perform and a good way to sculpt your shoulders and build overall strength.

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How To Do Plate Front Raises

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly do the plate front raise:

1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a weight plate in front of your thighs with both hands.

2. Brace your core from the starting position and throughout the movement. Raise the plate up to eye level, keeping your arms relatively straight, but elbows slightly bent.

3. Slowly lower the plate back down to the starting position – your thighs.

4. Repeat for desired reps.

Plate Front Raise Form

When doing the plate front raise, it’s important to maintain good form to maximize shoulder activation.

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your core lightly engaged and slowly raise the weight up
  • At the top pause for a moment and let the weight in a controlled motion down
  • Go above shoulder level, when lifting the plate
  • Don’t use momentum to raise the weight plate up

Make sure to keep a good form in mind, and you’ll be on your way to building strong, healthy shoulders.

Plate Front Raise Hand Position

As mentioned before, this exercise targets the rounded shoulder muscles, the delts – especially the front or anterior delts.

By alternating your hand position on the weight plate, you can change the muscle loading a bit.

There are three different positions, which change the target of your deltoid (shoulder) muscles worked slightly:

Neutral Grip

Standard hand position – both hands on the middle of the plate (palms facing each other) => front and middle delt activation

Nearly Pronated Grip

The palms of your hands are on top of the plate facing down => more side delt activation

Nearly Underhand Grip

Palms almost facing up > more front delt activation through isolation, but harder to balance throughout the movement

Drop Sets With Plate Front Raises

Drop sets are a great way to add intensity to any exercise. This variation of the plate front raise is no exception.

To perform a drop set with plate front raises, start by lifting a weight that feels challenging for 12-15 reps. Once you reach failure, reduce the weight by about 25% and continue performing reps until failure once again.

You can continue dropping weight and add repetitions until you can no longer perform the exercise with good form.

Not only does this increase the time under tension for your muscles, but it also allows you to keep working them even when your body is fatigued. This is a great way to push yourself and see results.

If you’re looking for a new challenge, give drop sets with plate front raises a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Front Plate Raise vs Dumbbell

The main difference between using a weight plate (for the plate raises) and dumbbells (see dumbbell front raise below) is, that the front plate raise allows you to use more weight because your hands are locked and therefore in a stronger position.

Whereas the movement through dumbbells allows more motion because of the rotation of the wrists.

Plate Front Raise Muscles Worked

By now you maybe already know, that the plate front raise works your shoulder muscles. Specifically your anterior deltoid – the front delt (the front of your round shoulder muscles).

As mentioned before, by altering the grip you can also target side delts or isolate front delts more.

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Plate Front Raise Alternatives

The plate front raise is a common shoulder exercise that can be performed with a variety of alternatives and tools, including dumbbells, barbells, and bands.

Each variation of these raise exercises has its benefits and drawbacks.

Dumbbell Front Raise

The dumbbell front raise is a basic exercise that can be used to target the front deltoids. This exercise is typically performed with light weights and higher reps.

You can alternate between arms for every rep and rotate your hands.

Barbell Front Raise

The barbell front raise is a more advanced exercise that can be used to target the front deltoids, as well as the middle deltoids. This exercise is typically performed with heavier weights and lower reps.

The bar also makes it easier to use an underhand grip, which helps with isolation, without the need of balancing out a plate during the movement. Of course, you can also use and overhand grip.

Engage your core, when lifting the weight from the starting position for more stability and to avoid spinal flexion. Controlled movement up and down – slight bent in the knees and elbows.

Here as well, don’t use momentum to swing the weight up.

Band Front Raise

The band front raise is a variation that uses resistance bands instead of weights.

This exercise is typically performed with higher reps and can easily be performed from home or outside with minimal equipment needed.


Final Thoughts

While all three variations of the plate front raise can be effective, the best exercise for you will depend on your goals and experience level.

If you are new to weightlifting, the dumbbell front raise is a good place to start. If you are looking to add more weight and challenge your muscles, the barbell front raise is a good option. If you want to mix things up or don’t have access to weights, the band front raise is a great alternative.

Remember to always warm-up before working out and cool down afterwards!

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