Exercise of the month: the front shoulder raise

The front shoulder raise is an exercise that, along with the rotator cuff and other muscles, helps to keep the shoulder joint strong and stable.

Starting position: Standing, hold dumbbells in hands, palms facing and touching the front of the thighs, feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. (See photo 1.) If you have trouble with balance, then you can perform the exercise in a seated position, or take a stance with one foot slightly in front of the other to help stabilize your body.

Maintaining proper posture, gently pull the shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the back to arch. Your arms should be straight throughout the exercise, but avoid locking out the elbow.

Lifting phase: Moving at a slow and controlled pace, begin lifting the dumbbells in front of your body until they reach shoulder height. (Photo 2.) The arms should rise together and to the same degree of motion.

Lowering phase: Moving at a slow and controlled pace, slowly bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.


Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, so check with your doctor before attempting a new activity. If you experience pain or have shoulder impingement issues, avoid this exercise until the problem is resolved.

The front shoulder raise can be performed by lifting both arms at the same time as shown, or alternating arms. It can also be performed using a neutral grip, where the palms face one another instead of facing thighs.

If dumbbells are not available, acceptable substitutions are resistance bands, a weighted bar, cables, or wrist weights.

Beginners, start with one to two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions two to three times per week. Add sets or repetitions, or increase weight as you become stronger. To avoid overtraining, allow at least one day of rest before working the same muscle group.

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