Shred Your Shoulders: Incline Barbell Front Raise!

Starting and ending positions fro the incline barbell front raise.

2010 is the year of the shoulder for me. Up until this past year, it’s a muscle group that I’ve largely ignored in my exercise program. That changed during my January trip to Australia, wherein I worked with a trainer that pointed out the obvious – that my shoulders were less developed than the rest of my body.

Stronger shoulders aren’t just sexy; they help with better posture and often result in decreased back pain. They also help in other exercises, like the bench press.

One of my new favorite shoulder exercises is called the incline barbell front raise. It sounds fancy, but it isn’t. Best of all, this simple exercise is super effective and – because it is done seated – it’s hard to cheat. Here’s how you do it:

  1. At your gym, set an incline bench to about 60 degrees.
  2. Grab a barbell and sit on the bench comfortably.
  3. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip. You hands should be just beyond thigh-width apart.
  4. Hold the barbell straight out in front of you, just off of your thighs. Keep your arms straight.
  5. Lift the bar up – with straight arms – well above head-level. Don’t stop at shoulder-level!
  6. Hold here for a second or two.
  7. Slowly lower the bar until it is a few inches above your thighs.
  8. Repeat.

See the attached picture for the starting and ending positions.

Give it a try the next time you tackle shoulders – it’s a powerful exercise, and I hope you love it as much as I do!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I just have a word of caution on shoulders, Davey. Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries are the biggest cause for problems for lifters 40 and over. If those in or near this age category I would advise, from personal experience, being conservative in the amount of weight used. This is especially true of exercises involving overhead lifting, like dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses.

    • Eiriksson says:

      Over the years I’ve had occasional problems with my shoulder joints. What has worked for me is to cut severly down on shoulder press and bench press and instead do more work with cables. Also, instead of going really heavy I do drop sets, supersets or other rest-reducing stuff.

  2. Nice well rounded shoulders will also help accentuate your biceps.

    I’m all about variety in my routine, but is there any advantage of doing these sitting? I’ve always done these standing up, so just curious. I probably will try them anyway just because, as I said, I like variety.

    But I was just curious if there’s an advantage, or if it’s just for variety.

    • Yes – there is an advantage to doing them sitting. When you sit, it is much harder to cheat with your legs (the most common type of shoulder cheating).

  3. Hey Davey – any ideas on how to protect/stretch/warm-up the rotator cuff before doing this exercise?


  1. […] Seated Incline Barbell Front Raises-3 sets  (These are HARD!  Try them if you haven’t  before they are a challenge! ) […]