The anterior deltoid muscle is one in which you should focus on developing as it is responsible for a wide range of shoulder movements, including keeping the shoulder girdle strong to prevent shoulder injuries.
Shoulder injuries are a common occurrence, especially among athletes so preventing this is going to be well worth your time and effort.
The anterior deltoid muscle is located directly in front of the arm, making up the shoulder muscle that you see when looking directly in the mirror. It is going to aide in abduction movements (moving the arm away to the side of the body), flexion, transverse flexion as well as rotating the arm in the internal direction.
Since this is a smaller muscle, it is not able to handle extremely heavy loads and can become sore relatively easily. When starting any strength training exercise for this muscle group you will want to start on the conservative side. It is much smarter to work your way up to a heavier weight than risking overdoing it right from the beginning.
A popular isolated exercise for this muscle group is a frontal raise. This can be performed with a dumbbell, barbell or a cable pulley. Basically you will stand with the weight down in front of you, arms straight and hands shoulder width apart. Next slowly begin to raise this weight up so that it moves into alignment, forming a 90-degree angle with the rest of your body. Hold briefly and then lower back down once again.
The next exercise, the military or shoulder press, is commonly used to target this muscle and is more compound in nature. It will also work the remaining shoulder muscles as well as your tricep muscle. To perform it, either hold a pair of dumbbells or a barbell at shoulder height, bending at the elbow. Then using your shoulder muscles, drive the weight directly over your head. Make sure you do not hyperextend your elbows or lock them into place as this will put additional stress on the joints and increase the risk for injury.
After you have reached the top of the movement, slowly lower the weight back down once again. Note should be made that this exercise can also be performed by moving the weight so it is directly behind the head and upwards, rather than in front of the head and upwards. Additionally, you can perform a similar action in a military press or shoulder press machine at the gym (simple sit in the bench and push the handles in the upwards direction).
The military press exercise is a very important movement and should be included in all workout programs as it is compound in nature and you will get the most bang for your buck from it. The addition of the frontal raise is up to you, those who are looking to do specialization shoulder routines will likely include it while those performing full body workouts may choose to leave it out to make room for other more compound lifts.
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