Plate Front Raise Exercise Guide

Written By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: September 8, 2023

Are you looking to get those strong and powerful-looking shoulders? Well, you don’t have to spend a fortune on gym equipment or do complicated routines. Believe it or not, all you need is a weight plate to achieve your goal!

In this article, I’ll show you how to do a plate front raise, an easy and effective exercise that can help you build those massive shoulders you’ve been dreaming of. You’ll also get exercise variations and alternatives to keep your workouts fresh!

Plate Front Raise

What Is A Plate Front Raise?

The plate front raise is a shoulder exercise that involves lifting a weight plate in front of your body while maintaining a relatively straight arm position. By performing this exercise, you can increase shoulder strength and stability, improve posture, and enhance overall upper body aesthetics.

Plate Front Raise Muscles Worked

You probably already know that the plate front raise is an exercise that targets your shoulder muscles. Specifically, it primarily works on a part of your shoulder called the anterior deltoid, also known as the front delt.

The anterior delt, along with the lateral and posterior delts, gives your shoulders a rounded shape. In addition to working on your shoulder muscles, holding the plate during the exercise also engages the muscles in your forearms, which helps improve your grip strength.

Front Plate Raise Muscles Worked

Front Plate Raise Benefits & Limitations

The plate front raise is an excellent exercise because it requires no special equipment or machines. All you need is a weight plate, and you’re good to go.

Holding the plate with a neutral grip is also a great way to work the anterior deltoids. Plus, when your hands are locked together by the plate, your shoulders are in a stronger position.

It’s worth noting that using larger plates can be challenging because they’re awkward to hold and can limit your range of motion at the bottom of the exercise. Also, depending on the plates you have, your weight options for this exercise may be limited.


  • No special equipment is needed
  • Good grip for anterior delt
  • Puts shoulders in a strong position


  • Limited to specific weights
  • Shorter range of motion

How To Do Plate Front Raises

To do the plate front raise, pick up a weight plate and hold it with one hand on each side, with your palms facing each other. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.

Lift the plate straight out in front of you, keeping your arms slightly bent at the elbows. Raise the plate until your arms are parallel to the ground, and hold this position momentarily.

Lower the plate back down until it just barely touches your thighs. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.

To recap, here are the steps to perform a plate front raise:

  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 barely touches your thighs
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Plate Front Raise Video Tutorial

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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 Variations

Incorporating variations in your plate front raise can help you achieve a more well-rounded shoulder workout. In this section, we’ll explore different hand positions and techniques that can be used.

Plate Front Raise Hand Positions

Adjusting your hand placement can modify the muscle activation during the front plate raise. Holding the plate with one hand on each side of the plate recruits both the front and side deltoids to some extent.

Another option is to position your hands closer to the top of the plate, as if holding a steering wheel at the “10 and 2” positions, using a pronated grip (palms facing down).

To emphasize the front deltoid more, move your hands closer to the bottom of the plate with your palms facing up. Keep in mind that this hand position can make itchallengingt to balance the plate.

Plate Front Raise Hand Position

Plate Front Raise With Drop Sets

As you build up your strength, you may notice that you can complete 15 or more reps using a 45 lb plate. This is an indication that you need to incorporate new strategies to make the exercise more challenging.

One technique that can help you achieve this is drop sets. This method involves continuing the exercise with a lighter weight after you have reached the point of muscular failure.

For plate raises, you can reach failure using a 45 lb plate, and then immediately switch to a 35 lb plate to continue until you reach failure again. To push yourself even further, you could repeat this process one more time with a 25 lb plate to burn out your shoulders.

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Plate Front Raise Alternatives

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

Barbell Front Raise

When performing a barbell front raise, your hands are connected via the bar, just like in a plate raise. This allows you to increase the weight you lift.

Moreover, this variation is more suitable if you prefer using the underhand grip. It’s much easier to hold the bar than the plate.

Dumbbell Front Raise

The dumbbell front raise is an excellent option if you don’t have weight plates. Dumbbells allow for different hand positions and even hand rotation during the movement. Additionally, you can try alternating arms with each rep.

Cable Front Raise

The cable front raise is a unique variation of the exercise that offers more consistent tension throughout the full range of motion when compared to free weights. This means that you will experience a different sensation in your front deltoids compared to using plates, bars, or dumbbells.

Additionally, you can choose from various cable attachments, such as a rope, single handle, or bar, to target your shoulders from different angles.

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

More Shoulder Exercises & Workouts

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 exercises for targeting the side and rear delts.

Check out these related articles for more help with creating your ultimate shoulder workout routine.

17 Cable Shoulder Exercises for Chiseled Delts

Push Press vs Overhead Press Muscle Activation & Power Output

11 Best Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises With Example Workout

Arnold Press vs Shoulder Press for Size and Strength Gains

9 Best Landmine Shoulder Exercises (with Pictures)

23 Posterior Deltoid Exercises (With Videos & Pictures)

Best Lateral Deltoid Exercises for Broader Shoulders (+Workout)

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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By |September 8, 2023|Workouts|0 Comments
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