Want bigger-looking shoulders? - You need to work your front delts.

Developing boulder shoulders isn't a problem if you know the correct exercises. The problem is there are so many movements around, it can be challenging to know which are the best.

To save you the struggle, I’ll reveal the 21 best front delt exercises you can do at home to fill out your t-shirt.

Check the list below and choose 3-4 to add to your workout routine.

The Anterior Deltoid

The anterior deltoids (front deltoid muscles) are the area of your shoulder muscles that this article has been discussing.

Its main functions are flexion, horizontal flexion, and medial rotation. Basically, any movement where your arm moves upwards in front of your body (think front raises).

The Medial Deltoid

You might know the medial deltoid as either the “middle delts” or “lateral deltoid”; they’re located between your front and rear deltoid muscle.

The lateral deltoid head is the largest of the three heads; its only function is shoulder abduction (aka lifting your arm out and away from your body… think lateral raises).

Developing your middle delts will give you round-looking shoulders (when viewed front-on), improving your aesthetics.

The Posterior Deltoid

Located on the back of your shoulder, the posterior delt (rear delt) is the smallest of the three deltoid heads but is critical for overall shoulder development.

Most lifters neglect the rear delts, leaving them underdeveloped and weak. This creates a muscle imbalance, leading to injuries.

Your rear delt is responsible for extension, horizontal extension, and external rotation of your shoulder joint. It’s located opposite your front delts and assists with stabilizing your joints.

If you want big boulder shoulders, you don’t want to ignore this muscle, it might seem small, but it plays a crucial role in your body.

Need some ideas on how to work your rear delts? Check out our guide on the best rear delt dumbbell exercises.

The Deltoid Anatomy Explained

Suggested Workouts - Best Lateral Deltoid Exercises

21 Best Front Delt Exercises For Massive Gains

Here are 21 of the best front delt exercises that you can add to your workout routine for HUGE rounded shoulders. - Who doesn't want that, right?

1. Barbell Overhead Press (a.k.a The Military Press)

Barbell Overhead Press

This compound exercise involves pressing a barbell from shoulder height to above your head. It works your anterior deltoids, upper chest, triceps, upper traps, and serratus anterior.

I’d also argue it places a lot of stress on your core as your body needs to remain stable throughout the movement.

Your rear delts act as stabilizer muscles during this exercise, so it’s easy to see why I rate it so highly when it comes to developing your shoulder muscles.

You can perform barbell shoulder presses standing, seated, or use the Smith machine.

Standing is my favorite, but if you have lower back issues, it could be a good idea to sit down as it'll limit the pressure on your back.


  • It's a compound exercise.
  • Develops a strong upper body.
  • Great for muscular hypertrophy.

How To Do It:

  1. Set up a barbell in a squat rack.
  2. Stand with the barbell at shoulder level.
  3. Grip the bar using an overhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  4. Unrack the weight and take two steps back.
  5. Take a deep breath, stabilize your core, and press the barbell above your head.
  6. Stop when your upper arm is near your ears.
  7. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Always perform the barbell shoulder press (military press) first, as it expends a large amount of energy, and you’ll get the most out of it when you’re fresh. 

2. Dumbbell Overhead Press

Dumbbell Overhead Press

The dumbbell press is similar to the barbell press, except you’re using dumbbells rather than a barbell (obviously).

By switching to dumbbells, your shoulders and arms have to work isolaterally, meaning there's less chance of you developing a muscular imbalance that can occur from barbell work.

Another benefit of using dumbbells during this overhead press movement is that your shoulders need to work extra hard to stabilize your joints.

I’m a massive fan of using dumbbells as I’ve sometimes developed imbalances in the past, and dumbbells always help correct the issue.

Plus, you get a slightly better range of motion during each rep, allowing you to work your muscles effectively.

However, as you're using dumbbells, you usually can't lift as heavy as you would during a barbell overhead press. This is mainly because each arm works a little harder to stabilize the dumbbells.

A dumbbell overhead press could be a good option if you've had shoulder issues, as you can adjust the grip position (e.g., to a neutral grip) to suit your body. This may be more comfortable.

As with the above, you can perform this exercise in a seated or standing position. The seated position will be best if you have lower back issues.


  • It trains each arm separately, ironing out any muscular imbalances. 
  • You can do them anywhere. 
  • Minimal space required.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold two dumbbells at shoulder level using an overhand grip (palms facing forward).
  2. Take a deep breath and brace your core.
  3. Press the dumbbells up above your head.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat to finish your set.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Perform both Barbell and dumbbell overhead press during your shoulder workout to get the benefits of both. 

3. Arnold Press

Seated Arnold Press

Named and created by the legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, this overhead press exercise is one of the best front delt exercises you can add to your workout routine.

Not only does this variation of the shoulder press work your anterior deltoids, but it works all three heads. It’ll help you add shoulder width while increasing the stability of your shoulder joint.

I regularly add the Arnold press to my shoulder workout as it gives me the best bang for my buck.

Hitting each part of the delts in one exercise makes it the best shoulder press variation to add to your workout if you’re in a hurry.

As with the other shoulder press exercises mentioned above, you can perform the Arnold press from a seated or standing position.

The standing position relies on greater core activation, while the seated removes any pressure from your lower back.

Arnold Schwarzenegger classed this as one of the best front delt exercises for mass, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for all of us.

However, if you’re new to weight lifting, you might find the coordination of the Arnold press a challenge; perhaps start on another shoulder press movement and progress to this.


  • Works all three deltoid heads.
  • Minimal space needed.
  • You can perform them seated or standing.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand and hold two dumbbells at shoulder level, palms facing you.
  2. Turn your hands outwards and open your arms until they’re over your shoulders (palms facing away from you).
  3. Press the weight above your head.
  4. Stop at the top while maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you’re in a seated position, use an incline bench (just below 90 degrees) to make the movement easier on your shoulder joints. 

4. Front Raises

Dumbbell Front Raises

Front raises are one of the “go-to” exercises you’ll see gym-goers performing when they want to target their front delts.

As far as front delt exercises go, this is as isolated as you can get.

While this movement virtually isolates your anterior deltoid (front deltoid), it does use a small amount of your upper pec, which is needed for shoulder flexion.

When performing this front deltoid exercise, there are numerous grip, body, and loading positions you can try making it extremely versatile.

One of my favorite versions of the dumbbell front raise is the standard single-arm alternating version (which I'll show you how to do in a moment).

I like this variant as it works your core muscles, too, and is easy to perform from a seated position if you've got back issues.

If you're looking for more isolation exercises like this one, check out our guide to the best front raise alternative exercises.


  • Great for front delt development.
  • Minimal equipment required. 
  • Ideal for all ability levels.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand holding two dumbbells at hip height with your arms straight.
  2. Slightly bend your elbows.
  3. Raise one of the dumbbells upwards in front of your body (keeping your arm straight during the movement).
  4. Stop once you reach shoulder height.
  5. Slowly bring the weight down and repeat with the other arm.
  6. Complete your set and rest.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you want to target your anterior deltoids, you should keep the weight low and focus on performing quality reps. Trust me; your front delts will thank me. 
  • Bonus Tip: Use a cable machine to provide constant tension on your front delts.

5. Z-Press

Z Press (Barbell)

Named after the legendary strongman Žydrūnas Savickas aka "Big Z," this is one of the toughest front delt exercises on this list. If you're a beginner, I recommend you skip this one.

The Z-press is a challenging overhead pressing exercise that will help stimulate muscle growth in your front delt muscles.

This exercise is performed sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you.

This position removes your legs from the equation, meaning you can’t “cheat” by using your legs to push the weight up.

Your core also has to work incredibly hard to stabilize your lower back.

If you’ve got any back issues, this isn’t one of the best anterior deltoid exercises for you, and you should choose another on this list.

You can perform this movement using dumbbells, barbell, and kettlebells.


  • Massively engages your core.
  • Ideal for more advanced lifters.

How To Do It:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
  2. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bring the barbell to shoulder level.
  4. Stabilize your core and push the barbell above your head.
  5. Slowly lower and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Perform this front delts movement inside a squat rack or power rack. If you fail, you can use the safety spotter arms to catch the weight, making your set-up position easier 

6. Push-Press

Barbell Push Press

The push-press is one of the best front delt exercises for overloading the front delts with more load than they can usually handle.

You rely on the power generated in your legs to assist you with the weight. It’s one of the classic barbell shoulder exercises and can be performed using dumbbells or kettlebells.

While some lifters might view this movement as cheating, it's a great way of increasing the weight you can lift or pushing yourself past failure.

However, I highly recommend that you control the weight on the way back down to maximize the deltoid engagement during each rep.

If used correctly, it can be one of the most effective delt exercises for increasing overall deltoid muscle.


  • Overloads your muscles with large amount of weight. 
  • Brilliant for strength development.
  • Ideal for more advanced lifters.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip with your hands placed shoulder-width.
  2. Lift the barbell and rest it across your front delts.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and straighten them rapidly while pushing the weight upwards above your head.
  4. Hold at the top and slowly bring the barbell back to your upper chest/front delts.
  5. Complete your set and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Take a deep breath at the bottom of the movement and breathe out on the push. Regulating your breathing will make you more efficient. 

7. Shoulder Press (Machine)

Shoulder Press (Machine)

While most of the exercises on this list are free weight exercises for your front delts, I felt it was necessary to mention the shoulder press machine.

The shoulder press machine simulates the movement you'd perform when you do an overhead press.

However, the machine's fixed movement pattern places all of your force on the pushing movement rather than needing to stabilize your shoulders, etc.

This is one of the best ways to train your front delts if you’re a beginner.

I often use the shoulder press machine to build up my client’s strength before moving them onto front delt exercises with dumbbells.

Typically the shoulder press machine will be seated, but I’ve used a few old-school machines, which are standing shoulder press machines, and they’re excellent. Either way, it’s one of my favorite front deltoid exercises.

Plus, you’ll be happy to know it’s much easier to perform than some of the free-weight compound exercises on this list.

As it's a fixed machine, though, it forces your body to move through a set movement pattern. This might be an issue if you have joint or mobility problems.


  • Great for beginners.
  • Ideal for muscular hypertrophy.

How To Do It:

  1. Set the seat of the machine so that the handles are shoulder height.
  2. Hold the handles (overhand).
  3. Push each shoulder blade into the seat’s back pad.
  4. Press the handles upward and pause before your arms lock.
  5. Lower slowly and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • I recommend stopping before your arms lock to keep the tension on your front delts. It'll burn like hell, but will be worth it.

8. Cable Front Raise

Cable Front Raise

When it comes to cable front delt exercises, the cable front raise is one of the best.

As with the dumbbell front raise, it isolates the front delts as best as possible, allowing you to focus on working that area without worrying about other parts of the body.

With the cable front raise, the cable creates constant tension, so your front delts have to work equally as hard throughout the whole movement.

Cables exercises are brilliant for shoulder work and should be incorporated more into workouts.

Some of my clients find using cables to be more comfortable, and they place less strain on their joints.

If you work out alone, you can train your deltoids to failure without worrying about being in danger. So long as you use cables responsibly, you shouldn’t have any safety concerns.


  • Provides constant tension on your delts. 
  • Brilliant for front delt development. 
  • Suitable for all abilities.

How To Do It:

  1. Set the cable’s handle to the lowest position.
  2. Offset yourself slightly and stand with your back towards the weight stack.
  3. Pick up the handle and create some tension in the cable.
  4. Keep your are by your side and soften the elbow (slightly bent).
  5. Raise the handle slowly to shoulder height and hold.
  6. Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  7. Switch arms and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Don’t go too heavy; focus on feeling your front delt working through the entire movement. You’ll get better results by lifting low and slow on this exercise. Oh, and a word of warning… this one really burns.

9. Upright Row

Barbell Upright Row

The upright row has long been one of the staple anterior deltoid exercises for many gym-goers.

Upright rows work your anterior delts, upper back, and traps. They’re an excellent exercise to develop all-around shoulder mass to fill out your t-shirt.

However, it's an advanced movement that should only be performed by experienced gym-goers as it can cause or aggravate issues such as shoulder impingements.

This is mainly because of the rotational movement that occurs during the exercise; it can place a lot of strain on the shoulder joint.

While the above isn’t typical for everyone, it’s something you should be well aware of. In the past, I've had elbow and wrist issues which have prevented me from performing this exercise.

You can limit this risk by placing your hands no further than shoulder-width apart. Another way to reduce impingement during upright rows is to ensure your elbows are higher than your wrists.

This exercise can be performed using barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and the Smith machine.

If this movement causes you any pain, don't continue to try it. Check out our list of the best upright row substitute exercises instead.


  • Great for upper trap development.
  • It's a brilliant t-shirt filler. 

How To Do It:

  1. Hold a barbell using an overhand shoulder-width grip.
  2. Stand in an upright position.
  3. Draw your elbows upwards, lifting the barbell to under your chin (or just below, depending on your mobility).
  4. Slowly lower and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Use an EZ bar to make the upright row easier on your wrist and elbow joints. I've used this method many times in the past and it helps a lot.  

10. Bus Drivers

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers are one of the most simple but effective anterior delt exercises on this list.

The movement works your front delts and your core muscles. It’s kind of like the static hold version of the front raise…but at the same time, it’s not (hear me out on this one).

You don’t need to go too heavy with this one, and you should feel a deep burn and get an insane pump, which will have you ending your workout feeling like the Hulk.

Once you’ve performed this isolation exercise, you’ll understand why it’s called the bus driver. There isn’t much else to say about this exercise other than try it out, so let’s get to the good part.


  • Minimal space required.
  • Suitable for all ability levels. 
  • You don't need much equipment.

How To Do It:

  1. Choose a weight plate (don’t go too heavy).
  2. Hold either side of the plate and hold it with straight arms at shoulder height.
  3. Place your hands at “9 o’clock and 3 o’clock” and twist the plate until your hands are at “12 o’clock and 6 o’clock”.
  4. Slowly rotate your hands in the opposite direction until you can’t go any further, and repeat.
  5. Place the weight plate down.
  6. Walk out of the gym with a massive deltoid pump.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Use this movement as a finisher at the end of your shoulder workout for a HUGE deltoid burn out. 

11. Pike Push-Up

Pike Push-Ups

No gym? Don’t worry about it. You can use the pike push-up to give your front delts the stimulus they need to grow. The pike push-up is like a cross between the regular push-up and handstand push-ups.

The exercise places a lot of force on your front delts and can be a fairly tough challenge, even for experienced gym-goers.

One of the biggest benefits of this exercise is that you can do it anywhere, whether in a hotel room, office, beach, or at home. You don't need much space at all and no equipment is necessary. However, if you want to perform pike push-ups, I recommend elevating your feet on a bench or bed.

This places your body in the pike position more easily, although it puts a little more pressure on your deltoids.

You can also elevate your hands on blocks to give your head space to move into and increase the effective range of motion your delts work through. You can also use push up bars to do this exercise.


  • You can do them anywhere.
  • Minimal space required.
  • Great for more advanced lifters. 

How To Do It:

  1. Get on the floor in the push-up position.
  2. Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  3. Keep your legs straight and lift your butt towards the ceiling so your body creates an inverted V shape. (Move your feet closer towards your hands if needed).
  4. Without lowering your hips, lower your head to the floor by bending your arms.
  5. Push back to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Want to make this movement tougher? Elevate your feet to place more body weight on your shoulders. 

12. Shrugs

Smith Machine Shrugs

While you’ll usually associate this exercise with working your traps, shrugs are a brilliant way to strengthen your deltoids.

You can perform shrugs using almost any weight gym equipment, but in this instance, I recommend using the Smith machine as it’s suitable for beginners and more advanced lifters.

The best part about doing exercises on a Smith machine is that you can safely rack and unrack the barbell without needing a spotter or worrying about failing.

It also moves along a linear path so that you can emphasize the loading on your traps and front delts.


  • Develops upper body mass. 
  • Suitable for all abilities.
  • Overloads your traps.

How To Do It:

  1. Place weight on the Smith bar and stand in front of it.
  2. Hold the barbell using an overhand grip placed outside your hips.
  3. Stand up tall and unrack the weight.
  4. Draw your shoulder blades back and open up your chest.
  5. Shrug your shoulders towards your ears and hold.
  6. Slowly release and return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the movement to complete your set.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Use a mixture of heavy weight for low reps and lighter weight with higher reps for well developed traps. 

13. Hammer Press

Hammer Press

The hammer press is a shoulder-friendly version of the regular shoulder press movement.

It places your hands in a neutral position, alleviating the strain on your shoulders; you'll find it more comfortable if you have shoulder issues.

During the hammer press, your front delt does the majority of the work, but your entire shoulder, triceps, and upper chest assist the movement.

For the hammer press, you can use a variety of bench positions, ranging from flat bench to incline press.

Still, I prefer using a position just below 90 degrees as it removes the strain from your shoulders, but the main muscle worked is your anterior deltoids.


  • Places less strain on your shoulders. 
  • Suitable for most ability levels. 

How To Do It:

  1. Set a bench to just below 90 degrees.
  2. Sit on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level.
  4. Keep your hands facing each other (palms inward).
  5. Press the weight upwards above your head.
  6. Pause at the top.
  7. Slowly lower the weight to your shoulders.
  8. Repeat the movement to finish your set.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • You can increase the difficulty slightly by alternating the pressing movement. By doing so, your core and stabilizers will need to work extra hard. 

14. Incline Bench Press

Incline Bench Press

A chest exercise for building your shoulders? Yep, you better believe it.

The incline bench press is actually a brilliant exercise for your front delts. While it builds your upper chest, it will also help to develop your anterior deltoid muscles.

It all depends on the incline of the bench. The higher the incline, the more anterior deltoid you'll be working and the less upper pec.

As the incline press is dependent on the starting position, you should set your bench press somewhere between the position you'd use for a seated shoulder press (around 80-90 degrees) and the position you'd use for the incline dumbbell press (30-45 degrees).

You can use dumbbells, barbells, and resistance bands for this front deltoid movement, making it perfect for home gym training.


  • Ideal for home gym training. 
  • Suitable for most ability levels.
  • Develops your upper pecs.

How To Do It:

  1. Set your bench’s starting position (around 60% incline).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on the bench.
  3. Draw your shoulder blades back into the bench.
  4. Push the weight upwards vertically.
  5. Pause at the top and bring the weight back to your chest (for the full range of motion).
  6. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Take your time with this anterior deltoid exercise and focus on quality reps using a full range of motion. 

15. Handstand Push-Up

Handstand Push Ups

Want to grow your front delts while performing one of the most impressive-looking front delt exercises? - You need to do the handstand push-up.

The handstand push-up is one of my favorite front delt exercises as it’s basically a push-up for your shoulders. And it makes you look pretty strong when you’re doing these in the gym.

However, as far as front delt exercises go, it’s one of the toughest to perform. - Why? Well, handstands are hard, and performing a push-up in this position is even tougher.

I highly recommend that beginners skip this exercise altogether and develop your front deltoids using other shoulder exercises on this list.

If you feel you must add this to your workout, keep the reps or time low and build up. There's no rushing this movement.

However, please remember that if you weigh 200lbs, you’re pressing 200lbs… So it’s definitely a challenge for even the most experienced gym-goers.


  • Uses your body weight.
  • Brilliant for more advanced lifters.
  • Develops your delts. 

How To Do It:

  1. Stand facing a wall with approximately 1 foot between you and the wall.
  2. Ensure your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  3. Perform a handstand and kick your feet toward the wall (resting them on it if needs be).
  4. Slowly lower your head toward the floor, pause, and push your head away from the floor.
  5. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Place your hands on two separate blocks with a space between them (for your head). The elevated hand position should give you a greater range of motion and therefore improved muscle development.

16. Battle Rope Alternating Slam

Battle Rope Alternating Slam

The battle rope is often used during conditioning circuits or by athletes looking to add a “finisher” to their workout. However, it’s one of the best shoulder exercises for building your anterior deltoid.

Outside of conditioning, this upper body exercise helps you develop hypertrophy and endurance in your front deltoids.

It's an excellent exercise to add to your routine as it steps away from the traditional overhead presses, front raises, etc., while bringing something else to the table.

There are many variations of the battle rope slam, which can be adjusted to change the loading pattern, and the muscles targeted.

I always include several variations of battle ropes at the end of my shoulder routine. I've found it's an excellent way to completely exhaust my shoulders.

You should try this shoulder exercise out, you'll love it.


  • Excellent finisher for shoulder workouts. 
  • Suitable for all ability levels.
  • Perfect for shoulder conditioning.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold both sides of the battle rope (one piece in each hand).
  2. Leave a small amount of slack in the rope.
  3. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and sit back into a half-squat position, keeping your back straight.
  4. Raise one arm to shoulder height and bring the rope down rapidly, slamming it into the floor (keep your arms slightly bent).
  5. Alternate between arms and get some rhythm going.
  6. Finish your set and rest.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • You can perform this anterior deltoid exercise for reps or time. Play around with it and see how it feels. 

17. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are for the glutes, right? - They sure are. But they can help you develop your deltoid muscle too.

While most people use the kettlebell swing for calorie burning circuits and conditioning, you can add them to your front delt workout to add a bit of variation.

Traditionally, I’d tell you kettlebell swings are all in the hips, but you can modify the movement to make it more of a front raise (of sorts).

If you're wondering where to place this exercise in your front delt workout, you can always insert it at the end.

I'd use this movement to blast your delts and get every muscle fiber fired up. And maybe combine it with the battle rope exercise for MAXIMUM shoulder burn out.


  • Develops your front deltoids.
  • Minimal equipment needed.
  • Ideal for home gym training.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of your hips.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward from the hips.
  3. Keep your arms straight and fire your hips forward.
  4. Use your arms to “front raise” the kettlebell.
  5. Slowly lower and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Slow the descent of this movement to really hone in on the front delt activation, it’ll burn like hell, but your shoulders will thank you for it. 

18. Bradford Press

Bradford Press

The Bradford press is an old-school bodybuilding shoulder movement that keeps constant tension on your front delts.

Honestly, this exercise is a killer; I'll never forget the burn from the first time I performed this delt exercise. I couldn't even pick up my water bottle after it. 

However, I do need to insert a warning with this movement.

While it’s a brilliant delt exercise to add to your workout routine, it’s performed partially behind your neck, which could be an issue if you have shoulder mobility problems.

If you have healthy and mobile shoulders, this could be the perfect exercise for front delt muscle activation.


  • Great to fully exhaust your shoulder muscles.
  • Ideal for more advanced lifters.
  • Doesn't require a lot of weight.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold a barbell at shoulder level using an overhand shoulder-width grip.
  2. Press the weight upwards, high enough to get over your head and lower behind your neck.
  3. Push the weight immediately back up and to the starting position.
  4. Keep this movement alternating between front and back each rep.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Start light and maybe consider adding this to the end of your pressing exercises in order to burn out your front delt. 

19. Chest Dips

Chest Dips

Chest dips are another bodyweight exercise that works your anterior deltoid.

Traditionally, this movement is classed as a chest and tricep exercise, but it also uses your shoulders to help stabilize your body.

A study showed that this movement recruits 41% of your anterior deltoids.[1]

I love performing dips as they’re a challenge. And you can progress and regress them relatively easily. You can add weight to your body using a dipping belt to make it more challenging.

To make the exercise easier, you can use a resistance band to remove some of your body’s weight. I often use resistance bands with my clients until they develop enough strength to lift their body weight.

Overall, it’s one of my favorite unconventional front delt exercises for developing boulder-like front delts.


  • Uses your body weight. 
  • You can adjust the difficulty. 
  • Suitable for most ability levels.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand in front of a dipping station or parallel bars.
  2. Place your hands on the bars/handles and remove your feet from the floor.
  3. Keep your arms straight and support your body weight.
  4. Lean forward slightly and lower your body by bending your elbows.
  5. Stop when your arms reach 90 degrees.
  6. Push upwards and return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Leaning forward increases the amount of work your chest and front delts do. Don't be afraid to try different angles out.

20. One-Arm Kneeling Landmine Press

One Arm Kneeling Landmine Press

The landmine press is a nice isolateral variation of shoulder pressing, but it uses the landmine attachment, which is anchored to the floor.

This exercise differs from the other overhead presses on this list as it works one side at a time. Doing so causes your body’s core to work overtime and helps you develop better shoulder stability.

I like this movement as it’s simple to perform on your own and can be done safely without a spotter. I've programmed this exercise for many of my clients as they can safely (and confidently) perform this exercise without me being there.

This upper body exercise is usually performed in half kneeling position, which increases the difficulty slightly, but that’s ok as you don’t need to lift super heavy to work your delts effectively.


  • Easy to do without a spotter.
  • Works each side individually.
  • Suitable for most ability levels.

How To Do It:

  1. Half kneel in front of the landmine and barbell (half kneel is similar to the bottom of a lunge).
  2. Hold the end of the barbell with the opposite hand to your lead leg.
  3. Press it from your shoulder to above your head.
  4. Slowly lower and repeat.
  5. Switch arms and continue.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Try this movement out if you’ve been having front deltoid pain during other pressing movements. The angle of the press might not aggravate your joints. 

21. Regular Push-Ups

Regular Push-Ups

Last but not least, you’ve got the regular push-up.

While this exercise generally works your chest and triceps, it works your shoulders, too (particularly your front delts). And works pretty much your entire body to stabilize your position.

As with the pike push-up, this exercise is perfect if you want to work out on the move or have no equipment.

You can build up a quality workout based on push-up variations, and I can almost guarantee you'll be sore the next day.

Regular push-ups are suitable for all ranges of ability and can be adjusted to become easier or harder depending on what you need.

I regularly give push-ups to my clients as it's a straightforward movement that they can perform without my assistance.


  • You can do them anywhere. 
  • You don't need any equipment. 
  • Excellent full body movement.

How To Do It:

  1. Place your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Straighten your legs and keep your body flat (don’t let your hips dip).
  3. Move your shoulders until they’re over your wrists.
  4. Ensure your arms are shoulder-distance apart.
  5. Lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows.
  6. Stop at 90 degrees (just above the floor).
  7. Push yourself up to the beginning and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Make the movement more challenging by elevating your feet. And make it easier by elevating your hands or placing your knees on the floor. 

Related Article - Dips Vs Push Ups

3 Benefits Of Regular Front Delt Workouts

1. Reduced Risk Of Injury

Want to keep training without hurting yourself? - Of course you do; nobody likes being injured.

Stable joints are key to keeping yourself injury free. Developing the muscles around your shoulder joint creates stability and prevents injuries from occurring.

From my experience, most of my clients avoided annoying injuries (from sports or everyday life) by having stronger shoulders.

Nothing’s worse than a niggling shoulder injury, it can stop you from training altogether… which means less muscle gain, and that’s never good.

2. Stronger Shoulders

Strong shoulders benefit you more than just allowing you to lift more weight. Firstly, they help protect your shoulder joints while keeping your arms stable during everyday movements.

This ties in with the above point (reduced injury risk).

Secondly, well-built and strong front delt muscles increase your power during internal rotation, shoulder flexion, and abduction.

As your shoulders will be stronger through all ranges of movement, you’ll notice strength increases across the board.

While training my clients, if they’re plateauing on the wide grip bench press, we often use shoulder strength training to help bypass any sticking points.

Strong shoulders will increase your bench press, dipping strength, and all other pressing movements.

3. Improved Aesthetics

One of the nice side effects of building strong shoulders is the muscle mass you’ll gain. You’ll develop broader shoulders that’ll make Superman wish he’d trained a little harder in the gym.

Seriously though, your overall aesthetics will improve. Your t-shirts will fit better, you’ll get compliments, and you’ll appear more attractive. - Who doesn’t want that, right?

In particular, training your front delt muscle will make your shoulders appear thicker from the side. And can make your biceps appear bigger (wider), which is never a bad thing.

When viewed from the front, well-developed front deltoids create definition between your shoulders and chest.

Common Questions About The Front Delts

How often should you train front delts?

You can train your front delts between 1-2 times per week. Recent studies have shown that training a muscle twice per week is superior for muscular hypertrophy than training it once.[2] Be sure to let your body sufficient time to recover between workouts.

Why do delts not grow?

There could be several reasons why you’re struggling to grow your delts. Some of the main reasons are incorrect form, incorrect exercises, not intense enough, poor diet, genetics, and not enough recovery time. Fix these issues, and your delts will grow.

Should I work out the middle and rear deltoids the same amount as the front?

Yes, you should work your middle and rear delts the same amount as the front. Failing to work your rear and middle delts will create instability in your shoulder joint, which increases your risk of injury. 


If you want to build boulder shoulders, you’re in the right place.

Your deltoids are made up of three heads; your posterior, lateral, and anterior (front delt). You need to work all three heads equally to grow epic god-like shoulders.

One of the main areas you need to work on is the front delts. They'll add mass to your frame and give you an impressive-looking physique.

Read through the exercises above and add some to your shoulder routine. You’ll make your friends jealous in no time.


  1. https://www.acefitness.org/continuing-education/prosource/september-2014/4972/dynamite-delts-ace-research-identifies-top-shoulder-exercises/
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8?correlationId=4d9ea02c-da9a-44df-a279-bfae59b39531&error=cookies_not_supported&code=a6a6daa2-2b21-4572-8950-3c09a65fa071Frequency
Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.