What is the Anterior Deltoid?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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The deltoid muscles are shoulder muscles of the human body. These muscles are broken into three groups, which are the anterior, lateral, and posterior muscles. The anterior deltoid is the muscle located on the front area of the shoulder. This muscle is primarily used by the body to lift the arms straight overhead.

The anterior deltoid is the shoulder muscle that gets the most attention because it gives the shoulders definition. Large deltoids give an athlete the appearance of size and definition. There are several exercises designed to strengthen these shoulder muscles. Most shoulder exercises can be performed with weights, cables, or bands.

The rotator cuff is the main control unit of the shoulder area. It is made up of four small muscles and tendons, which support the deltoid muscles. The rotator cuff allows the shoulder to be lifted and extended into many awkward positions. This joint is the most flexible joint within the human body because of the rotational movement it provides the shoulder area.

The anterior deltoid starts from the collar bone and stops just below the shoulder area. This is a fan-shaped muscle that covers the deltoid head near the chest muscles. This muscle is used as a secondary muscle in many weightlifting exercises including bench presses, hammer curls, and dead lifts.


The deltoids are primarily used for lifting objects. Because of their extensive usage, any injuries to this area typically requires many months of physical therapy. The shoulder muscles are attached to both the biceps and the back, which makes them a fairly complex muscle group.

An anterior deltoid muscle tears can be painful. Sudden impacts due to falling or heavy weights are typically to blame for this injury. This type of injury will heal with therapeutic massage and sufficient time. Extensive tears may interfere with the rotator cuff, which will typically require surgery.

There are many good stretching exercise designed specifically for the anterior deltoid. These exercises keep the muscle loose and limber, which reduces the chance of injury. A good stretching program can performed in a few minutes per day.

Anytime the arms reach behind the back they are stretching the anterior deltoids. The best stretch for this muscle group is performed by reaching the arms behind and to the side of the body. This can be done in doorways or by sitting in a triangular position with the arms supporting the upper body.


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