Plate Front Raise

A set of broad rounded shoulders is a goal of many men and women gym-goers because they portray strength and power.

But getting those defined deltoids doesn’t require fancy gym equipment or advanced movements. In fact, you can do it at home with nothing more than a weight plate!

In this article, I teach you how to do a plate front raise. With this simple movement, you’ll be able to build boulder shoulders.

Plate Front Raise

What Is A Plate Front Raise?

The plate front raise is a shoulder exercise where you lift a weight plate in front of your body while keeping your arms relatively straight. It’s similar to other front lateral raise movements, except your hand position is dictated by the shape of the plate.

Plate Front Raise Muscles Worked

By now you know that the plate front raise is a shoulder exercise. But raising the weight to the front targets a specific part of your shoulder called the anterior deltoid. Also known as the front delt.

The anterior delt is one of three muscles that make up the round shape of your shoulders along with the lateral and posterior delts. Holding the plate also uses the muscles in your forearms and improves grip strength.

Front Plate Raise Muscles Worked

Front Plate Raise vs Dumbbell

Another common front raise movement uses dumbbells. With this version, your hands move independently which requires more stabilization. And you can rotate your wrist during the movement.

Whereas, the rotation of your wrist and the distance between your hands stay the same during a plate front raise. Having your hands locked together puts you in a stronger position so you can lift more weight.

How To Do Plate Front Raises

  1. Pick up the weight plate with one hand on each side
  2. Raise the plate straight out in front of you, keeping your arms slightly bent
  3. Lower the weight until the plate just barely touches your thighs
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Plate Front Raise Form

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most shoulder activation from this movement.

  • Raise the plate until your hands are just above shoulder level
  • Do not bounce the plate off your thighs
  • Try not to sway too much, lift the plate using only your shoulders

Plate Front Raise Hand Position

As mentioned, the anterior (front) delt is the primary muscle involved in the plate raise. However, you can slightly change the muscle loading by where you put your hands on the plate.

Usually, a plate raise is performed with one hand on either side of the weight. When your palms are facing in (neutral grip) you involve a little bit of both the front and side delt.

Another option is to move your hands closer to the top of the plate as if you’re driving a car. This “10 and 2” hand position puts your palms down. Also called a pronated grip.

With your hands on top of the plate, you involve more side delt.

Plate Front Raise Hand Position

Finally, you can isolate the front delt more by putting your hands closer to the bottom of the plate with your palms facing up. Although this hand position can make it hard to balance the plate.

Plate Front Raise With Drop Sets

As you get stronger, you might find that you can perform 15 or more reps with a 45 lb plate. That’s when you’ll need to get creative to make the exercise more challenging.

One way to do this is with drop sets. This is a technique for continuing the exercise with a lighter weight after reaching muscular failure.

For plate raises, you could go to failure with a 45 lb plate. Then immediately go to failure with a 35 lb plate. And you could even repeat this one more time with a 25 lb plate to really burn out your shoulders.

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Plate Front Raise Alternatives

If you don’t have access to weight plates, then you can use these alternative front raise exercises instead.

Barbell Front Raise

A barbell front raise is similar to the plate raise in that your hands are connected via the bar. This means you can go relatively heavy.

Also, this variation is better if you want to use the underhand grip since it’s easier to hold the bar than the plate.

Dumbbell Front Raise

The dumbbell front raise is another viable option if you don’t have plates. Dumbbells make it easy to try different hand positions.

And you can even rotate your hands during the movement. Or alternate arms with each rep.

Resistance Band Front Raise

Lastly, if you don’t have any free weights at all, you could do a resistance band front raise. Simply stand on the center of the band and grab one end in each hand. Then perform the movement as demonstrated above.

11 Best Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises For Defined Delts

Hypertrophy Training Program

Plate front raises are an excellent shoulder day exercise for building your anterior delts. But if you really want to reach your fitness goals, you need a complete resistance training plan designed for muscle gain.

In order to maximize muscle growth (aka hypertrophy), you should adjust 10 specific training variables. Check out my free hypertrophy training program to see how to optimize your workouts.

Hypertrophy Training
Gain More Muscle

With this information, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals. And if you found this exercise tutorial helpful, click on the articles below for more workout tips!

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