Anterior Deltoid is responsible for shoulder flexion, meaning moving your arm out in front of you and overhead. Essentially, any pushing exercise will involve the anterior deltoid. So most people in the gym are working the muscle in some way. A dedicated exercise is still beneficial for adding size and strength, and improving mind-muscle connection.
Lying Shoulder Press
Some variation of the Overhead Press is the most common form of exercise recommended for targeting the Anterior Deltoid. However, the exercise requires significant mobility in the shoulder joint in order for the weight to travel in a straight line. Most people in the gym lack the mobility, arch their back to compensate causing a lot of stress to it. Even experienced lifters may break form during a heavy rep and suffer an injury.
Lying Shoulder Press is a safer alternative that is just as effective. Since we are pushing the weight out in front of us, shoulder mobility should not be a limiting factor. And the lower back is kept flat against the floor, acting as a support and a check on form.
- The exercise may be performed with a barbell or dumbbells on a bench or on the floor
- Set up a barbell on the floor, high enough that you can lie under it
- Lie down under the barbell, so that the barbell is over your hip
- Grip the barbell with supinated grip, shoulder width apart
- Lift the barbell off the floor with elbows bent around 100 degrees
- Continue to push the barbell in a straight line until the elbows are close to locking out
- With control, lower the barbell back down
Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press
Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press carries the same risks as Overhead Press but at a lower level. You have to brace your core to keep your back from arching. You still need some shoulder mobility to extend the arm overhead. The anterior deltoid is still responsible for moving the weight but rotator cuff muscles are engaged to keep the weight stable. Increased shoulder stability from this exercise will translate to higher power output in your other lifts.
- Start in a half-kneeling position
- Grab the kettlebell with the arm next to the knee that’s on the floor
- With the help of the free hand, raise the kettlebell with the bottom up
- The elbow should be directly in front of the shoulder bent at 90 degrees
- Inhale and engage the core and keep a neutral spine
- Carefully extend the arm up until the elbow is almost locked out
- Lower the elbow back to 90 degree bend
- After the desired number of repetitions, with the help of the free hand, carefully return the kettlebell back to the floor.
Pseudo Planche Push Up
A regular push up involves the chest, triceps, and anterior deltoid. We can adjust the exercise by moving the hands close to the hips and rotating the palms outward. This position will force the elbows to stay next to the body, reducing the work done by the chest and shifting it to the deltoid. This is essentially a bodyweight version of the shoulder press.
- Start on all fours
- Bring the hands closer to the knees so that they will be close to the hips when in push up position
- Rotate the palms so that the thumbs are pointing forward or out
- Push off your feet to get into the push up position
- Perform a push up, intentionally leaning forward throughout the movement
Handstand Push Up
Holding a handstand is impressive on its own but being able to do a push up while doing so is on another level. This will require strong forearms, core, and of course Anterior Deltoid.
- Start in a handstand
- Bend at the elbows, leaning forward as you do
- At the bottom, your body should be at around 60 to 70 degree angle with the ground, maintaining a straight line
- Push back up into a handstand