Incline dumbbell shoulder raise exercise

Incline dumbbell shoulder raise

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Serratus anterior
  • Synergists: Upper pectoralis major
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand (pronated) grip, lie on your back on an inclined bench.
  2. Press the dumbbells directly upward.


  1. Keeping your elbows straight, exhale as you lift your shoulders off the bench as high as possible.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you lower your shoulders back to the bench.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • The target muscle of the incline dumbbell shoulder raise is the serratus anterior. It is important to strengthen this particular muscle because it stabilizes your shoulder blades. The serratus anterior keeps your scapula against the rib cage when at rest and during movement.
  • The incline dumbbell shoulder raise is one of few exercises that target the serratus anterior. Most upper body exercises work the serratus anterior synergistically.
  • Raising your shoulders off the bench causes your scapula to protract, targeting your serratus anterior muscles and not your shoulder muscles (i.e. the deltoid muscles).
  • Keep your body still. Only the shoulders should move when performing this particular exercise.
  • Instead of dumbbells, a barbell may also be used, as in the barbell incline shoulder raise.
  • For exercises that target the serratus anterior synergistically, try the prone incline dumbbell front raise, the kettlebell lateral raise, and the band shoulder press.
  • See also the high front plank, stability ball front plank and weighted front plank.

Incline dumbbell shoulder raise video

Sources, Shoulder Articulations

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