12 Best Rear Delt Workout & Proven Tips For Massive Shoulders

Many people still don’t know that there is a thing called the rear Deltoid and your shoulder is incomplete without well developed rear deltoid muscles. I know it sounds a little absurd. But it is the truth.
Well, rear deltoid muscles are comparatively difficult to target but are absolutely essential to work on if you want that 3D round shoulder. Not only shoulder but it’s one of the many things required to complete a bodybuilder’s physique.
Experienced bodybuilders often know about this but newcomers usually miss out on hitting that weakest shoulder part, rear deltoid. There’s no denying the fact that most of us also don’t have well-developed rear delts.
I think there are two causes of it.

The first cause of it, obviously, is not training it by neglecting them. And the other one could be not knowing how to hit/target rear delts effectively with key exercises.

Furthermore, rear delts are often not seen while you flex in the mirror. So, it’s pretty easy to forget working rear delts.
It’s undesirable as rear delts not only give that 3D look to shoulders but also keep your shoulders strong, boost its stability, and make your shoulder less prone to injuries as well.
Though, researchers say and you may have felt it too that compound pulling exercises like lat pulldown and seated row engage rear delts a little bit, that’s quite ineffective. Also, that’s up to a very little extent.
Through EMG analysis, which is, simply, a technique for studying electrical activity produced by muscles and analyzing the biomechanics of human muscle movement, the activation level of deltoid muscles on different training exercises was studied.

The data showed that rear delt isolation exercises like reverse pec deck fly induce far more activation of the rear deltoid than those compound movements.
So you should incorporate this easier said than done shoulder workout, to develop a commanding physique with a well-developed round shoulder.

Rear Delt Anatomy

Rear delts are simply the posterior or backside muscle fibers on your shoulders. Rear deltoid is out of sight muscles which stems in the shoulder blade and inserts into the upper arm as well as lateral and anterior shoulder muscles. The rear delts work together with traps, scapula refractors, and rhomboids to pull your shoulders back and prevent you from hunching. Thus, rear delts development can reduce shoulder hunch, which in turn, reduces shoulder and back problems and injuries.
As shown by research, the fact that rear delt is a combination of both Type I and Type II muscle fibers, it facilitates you to go both heavy or light with a proper number of repetitions to stimulate rear delts.

How To Grow Your Rear Delts Fast?

You just can’t develop rear delts just by adding in some sets of insignificant exercises like reverse flies after your workout.
Rear delts, the weakest deltoid muscles, don’t get enough stimulation during primary shoulder exercises like shoulder press, upright row, lateral raise, etc. It’s because the front and mid deltoids take over in such lifts.
However, you can effectively target rear delts on most of the bent-over exercises. Some exercises lead to optimal rear delt development and also involve other muscles to a very little extent which are mentioned in this article.
Besides that, there are some simple but important things which I’d like to suggest you do if you want to develop rear delts effectively.

Best Rear Deltoid Exercises for Shoulder Growth and strength

For your ease, I have classified exercises that focus rear deltoid in particular based on equipment used.

Rear Deltoid Exercises with Barbell

  1. Barbell High Row

    1. As every exercise you perform targeting one muscle involves another one for sure, this one also engages biceps a little bit.It works more effectively than shoulder exercise like reverse flies because of elbow position here.With bent elbows, rear delts get more activated and you get an increased range of motion too than with straight arms. This is also a key to fully activate rear delts.

      You can also lift heavier in this position. That’s why, in this exercise, you will perform with heavier weights for lower reps which is not the same for other exercises.

    2. Best Way to perform barbell High Row
      1. Take a wide grip with arms 45 degrees outward from the sides.
      2. Bend your knees slightly and keep your back almost horizontal with hips forming the hinge.
      3. Focus on rear delts while lifting weights up.
      4. At the top position, keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Barbell Face Pull

    1. Take a wide grip similar to that in the previous exercise.It will become rowing rather than face pull if you bring them in together.
  3. Snatch-Grip Push Press

    1. Snatch grip push press is quite a complicated movement. So focus on building the correct form before adding up the weights.It’s not a great exercise, but it’ll definitely pump up your rear deltoids and as Arnold says, your deltoids are going to scream after some of the sets of snatch-grip push presses.
    2. Best way to perform Snatch-Grip Push Press
      1. Grab your barbell with snatch width grip and stand with it on your back as you do in a squat.
      2. Dip little down and push hard against the floor with your legs to create upward momentum on the bar.
      3. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, press the weight straight up into the overhead position, locking your arms in the final position.
      4. On the way down, bend your knees slightly to absorb the impact of lowering the weight.
      5. If you’re a beginner then work on the form at first using a lightweight you do it in a coordinated way.

Best Rear Delt Workout with Dumbbells

  1. Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise

    1. If you are a beginner, use low weight dumbbells for this exercise. If you go heavy, you may not be able to maintain the correct form.
    2. Best way to perform Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise
      1. Sit down on the end of a bench with knees and feet together
      2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palm facing inward (neutral grip).
      3. Bend your upper body forward with your hips hinged so that your lower chest comes above your thigh.
      4. Bring the dumbbell together below your legs(thighs). Keep your chin tucked into your chest.
      5. Raise the dumbbells upwards and outwards maintaining a slight bend in your elbows until they reach up to the level of your shoulders.
      6. Feel the squeeze in your shoulder blades after which lower the dumbbells down to return to the starting position.
      7. Breathe in while lowering and breathe out while raising the dumbbells.
      8. Bring them back to the starting position.
  2. Lying Rear Delt Circles

    1. This looks weird to do but you can get around a hump-like look on the rear head. It primarily focuses on the posterior head but also works the anterior and lateral head to some extent.
    2. Best way to do Rear delt circles
      1. Lie down on a bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
      2. Bend your elbows slightly and bring the arms along the sides of your body
      3. Bring the dumbbell out in a circular fashion towards the front of your head until they touch gently there.
      4. Bring them back to the starting position.
  3. Incline Rear Delt Dumbbell Row

    1. Feel the extent to which your rear delts contracts with this incline rear delt dumbbell row. You will surely feel great. This movement increases your shoulder stability as this involves postural and stabilizer muscles.In this exercise, you can go for slightly higher weights than you go in rear delt flyes but aim for higher reps like 10-15 reps and include it as a part of your shoulder workout or upper body workout.
    2. Best way to perform Incline Rear Delt Dumbbell Row
      1. Sit on an incline bench(15-30 deg ) with your core and chest leaning against the incline.
      2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inward ( neutral grip ).
      3. Position your feet firmly on the floor and legs at the width of your shoulders, and try to keep your chin above the top of the incline.
      4. Raise the dumbbells upward and away from your sides in a wide arc until they reach slightly higher than shoulder level.
      5. Feel the squeeze in your shoulder blades for a one-second minimum. Then lower the dumbbells to the initial position.
    3. Incline Rear Deltoid Raise Key Points & TipsPress your legs on your toes which allows you to acquire the highest chest position on the bench.
      Always attach your chest on the backrest while raising. Go lighter if you feel you can’t hold it attached to it.
      Squeeze and hold your shoulder blades for at least a second or so before lowering.
  4. Head-Supported Dumbbell Rear Deltoid Raise

    1. This variation of dumbbell raise involves supporting your head in an inclined bench which restricts your back from moving. Furthermore, it prevents you from swinging your weights in the way up with momentum. Thus, it is a very effective workout for the posterior shoulder.
    2. Best way to do Head-Supported Dumbbell Rear Deltoid Raise
      1. Stand firmly behind a tall chair or an incline bend and forward bend your torso hinged at your waist until your head touches the top of the uppermost end of a chair or incline bench.
      2. The backrest should be as high such that your upper body should be almost parallel to the floor,
      3. Hold the dumbbell with palms facing inwards and slowly lift above and out to the sides of your body.
      4. Let your rear delts and rhomboids to all the work. Make sure you keep your body firm and stationary during the movement.
      5. At the end of the movement, squeeze the shoulder blades together.
      6. Pause briefly at the top, then lower the dumbbell to the initial position.
    3. Exercise Key Points & Common Mistakes
      1. Prevent your spine, hip, knee, or head move while doing this workout.
      2. Maintain your torso in a stationary forward position during the movement.
      3. Keep your core tight and abs in to keep your lower back from any kind of rocking motion.
      4. Keep your abs pulled in to protect your lower back and resist any rocking movement.
      5. Lower the weight in a controlled manner and try to keep your elbows at a constant angle during the exercise.

Rear Delt Exercises with Cables

  1. Reverse cables fly

    1. Best way to do Standing Reverse Cable Fly
      1. Adjust both the pulleys at the level of your shoulders.
      2. Stand in the middle and grab each cable with your opposite hand. That means, grab the right cable with your left hand and vice versa.
      3. Pull the cables out to your sides laterally until your arms become orthogonal to your upper body.
      4. Lower the cables back until the initial position.
    2. Tips:
      1. Don’t go heavy here and use a moderate weight so that you can maintain strict form while doing.
      2. Isolate the rear delt by not trying to increase the momentum and keep your shoulder blades from retracting as your mid back takes over if you do so.
      3. Pull the cables only up to the point where your arms become perpendicular to your body.
      4. Feel the squeeze in your shoulder blades and try to hold it for a second or so.
  2. Standing Rope Face Pull

    1. Best way to perform Standing Rope Face Pull
      1. Adjust the pulley on the highest setting of your cable pulley machine.
      2. Hold the balls of the rope and slowly pull the handles to the sides of your head.
      3. Maintain slight elevation in your elbows and your arms at a 90-degree position from your body at the final position.
      4. Bring them to the front to the initial position.
      5. Repeat for desired reps.
    2. Standing Rope Face Pull Tips
      1. Use lightweight ensuring no involvement of your lower back.What most beginners do is that they use heavyweight as the wont be able to pull the rope in proper form, they move their head forward to reach the handles. Try not to do that.
    3. There are two variations to this exercise which are also equally effective.
      1. Resistance band face pull-apart
      2. Seated Face Pull
  3. Bent-Over Rear Delt Cable Raise

    1. It is the best rear delt exercise that isolates the posterior shoulders. With proper form and intensity, it allows you to build great size and definition in your back shoulders. The cables keep your muscles in constant tension throughout the movement. It also helps reduce any muscular imbalances between two sides of your shoulders.
    2. Best way to perform Bent-Over Rear Delt Cable Raise
      1. Adjust the pulleys at the lowest setting on the cable pulley machine
      2. Bend your torso forward-hinged at hips and grab the handle with your palms facing inward.
      3. Pull the cable outward laterally maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
      4. Feel the squeeze in your shoulder blades but don’t squeeze it excessively and hold for at least a second.
      5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Rear delt exercises with Machine and Bodyweight

  1. Reverse Machine Fly

    1. Reverse flys also work the muscles of the upper and middle back, particularly the rhomboids and traps. It is a beginner level isolation exercise for targeting rear deltoids for strength development.
    2. Best way to perform Reverse Machine Fly
      1. Sit on a fly machine with your chest against the backrest or pad
      2. Position the handles in front of your body. Grab the handles with a neutral grip.
      3. Bend your elbows and move your arms in reverse fly motion.
      4. Slowly lower the handles to the initial position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
    3. Machine Reverse Fly Tips
      1. Avoid retracting your scapula and move your upper arm only.
      2. Try to keep your head from moving forward as the arms open.

Rear delt exercises with a resistance band

This is rear delt at-home exercise which you can do just with an exercise hand.
  1. Resistance Band Reverse Fly

    1. Best way to do Resistance Band Reverse Fly
      1. Stand on a resistance band firmly with your feet shoulder-width apart.
      2. Hold the handles in a criss-cross manner. That is grab the left handle with your right hand and vice versa.
      3. Bend your knees slightly and lean your torso forward getting it close to being parallel to the floor.
      4. Pull your hand up and out until your arms are in a straight line. Don’t allow your elbows to turn down.
      5. Return to your initial position in a controlled way.
      6. Repeat for desired repetitions.
    2. Resistance Band Reverse Fly Tips
      1. Perform slowly and smoothly for the full range of motion.

Top Shoulder Exercises according to ACE Research

A single exercise cannot activate all three heads — anterior, lateral, and posterior — of shoulder simultaneously.
So, keeping this in mind, the American Council of Exercise and scientists from the clinical exercise physiology program at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse teamed up to determine which shoulder exercises are best for activating each head of shoulder muscles.
See the full article published on the ACE website by clicking here.
For rear or posterior deltoids, seated rear lateral dumbbell raises and the incline dumbbell rowing movement triggered the greatest muscle activation as compared to the other 10 exercises they researched on.
In the same article it was mentioned that since rear deltoids are the weakest muscle comparatively, it’s better to start your shoulder workout with rear deltoid exercises.
You will have maximum energy and you can work it out efficiently to develop what’s lagging, your rear deltoids, in this case.

Ultimate Best Rear Delt Workout Routine

The best shoulder workout routine is one that incorporates exercises for anterior, middle, and rear deltoid.

With that said, one more important thing is the proper form and focus in each movement to complete the ultimate best shoulder workout routine.

Follow this workout routine or feel free to design your own keeping in mind the aforementioned tips.

  1. Seated Military Press ( 3 sets of 8-12 reps )
  2. Arnold Shoulder Press ( 3 sets of 6-8 reps )
  3. Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise ( 3 sets of 8-12 reps )
  4. Lateral Dumbbell Raise (3 sets of 8-12 reps )
  5. Reverse Machine Fly (3 sets of 8-12 reps)

5 Tips For Growing Rear Delt Muscles Fast

There are major chances of muscular imbalances if you don’t train all three heads of deltoid proportionately.
Many people train rear delts incorrectly and they can’t even feel them while training. Your front delts might have already become strong by doing chest exercises.
And also with all those rowing exercises and presses, your lateral delts may have become strong and big.
But haven’t you missed rear delts? Yes. Now it’s time to look after them too even if you can’t spot them in the mirror.
Here I present some tips like how to train rear delts, training frequency, variation in exercises, etc in detail which will definitely help you get your rear delt on track.
Let’s get started.
  1. Hit rear delt separately after a back workout
    1. While you are doing back exercises like bent-over or T-bar rows, your rear delts are also engaged along with mid traps and rhomboids.These rear delts are already trained as secondary muscles on your back day. So, it’s better to add some rear delts isolation exercises to target them particularly at the end of the back workout.This technique has worked already for many bodybuilders.

      But training the rear delt on a back day is okay but you have to know one thing which is explained in the second tip to build massive rear delt.

  2. Don’t train back and shoulders on the consecutive days
    1. Similar to how to back training involves rear delts, shoulder workout also does recruit rear delts secondarily.If you train back and rear delts on your back day and hit shoulder workout on the next day, you are not allowing enough rest to your delts. This may hinder the growth of your rear delt and make them weak.Sufficient recovery time will help you make them grow and become strong too.

      Similarly, chest workouts like bench presses also involve anterior shoulders. Thus, separate workout for these parts by at least 24 hours and at most 48 hours.

  3. Introduce variation in your rear-delt workout
    1. Rear delts can easily be isolated with cables, machines, dumbbells, and even resistance bands too. Get creative and try new things out. Muscles easily get used to the movements that you usually do and easily hit plateaus.For instance, try doing more one-arm exercises because it allows a greater range of motion and intensity. Various angles of your inclined bench allow you to engage different muscle fibers differently.A simple movement — bent over lateral raises can be done in five different ways. You can vary how you do bend over lateral raises in each of your workout sessions.
      1. Bent-over lateral raises
        1. In standing bent position with dumbbells
        2. In seated position
        3. On an incline bench at an angle of about 60 degrees
        4. With your head supported at the tip of the backrest
        5. In bent position with cables
      2. are all the variations to the same exercises. Get creative and try different ways to hit rear delt muscles.
  4. Try to add few reps after failure and perform drop sets and supersets
    1. You have to try different workout techniques and find out which causes you to feel that soreness in your rear delts. The same goes for every other body part.Hitting more reps even after you feel like giving up will induce muscular hypertrophy for sure.Try incorporating these techniques to your rear delt workout:

      Training after failure: With the help of your training partner, get a few more reps even after you feel like you can’t go any further. It is best done with pec deck reverse flyes. It’s called training after failure.

      Drop sets: After you complete a set, don’t rest. Rather lower the weight by about 25% and resume another set until you reach failure. Keep on doing that for 3-4 subsequent sets. Try this technique with any type of exercise, be it dumbbells, machines, or cables.

      Supersets: Hit two rear-delt exercises one after another and repeat again with a very little rest period in between exercises. Allow yourself a rest only after you complete both rear delt exercises.

      1. Example of a superset for rear delt muscles:Superset for Rear Delt MusclesGrab two lightweight dumbbells and perform a set of about 12-16 reps of Incline reverse dumbbell flyers.

        After you complete it, immediately, perform seated bent-over dumbbell raise for another set of about 12-16 reps. Increase the weight a little bit but you don’t require to go super heavy too.

        And that’s it. You have completed a superset. Repeat the superset for 3 sets.

  5. Don’t overload the muscles
    1. As you have started searching how to build rear delts, you are already one step forward than many people.There’s no rocket science to build those tiny rear delt muscles. It only requires consistency and patience.Target to maintain correct form and proper range of motion every time you hit your rear deltoids.

      After you do that, ensure that you get a proper rest period of at least 24-48 hours before you hit the rear delt the next time.

      Don’t go overboard. If you are a beginner, you must master the form and technique. After you do know the form, you can go heavy even more than you think. That’s what so cool about bodybuilding.

      Give time to muscles to recover and grow.

RELATED: Best Back Workout For Men to Gain Mass – Tips and Benefits

There’s nothing better than that massive proportionate shoulder which possesses all-round benefits to your body.
It’s time to go for it.
It’s so beautiful that you have studied an article about developing rear shoulder muscles. Now, it’s your job to implement the knowledge and strategies in the gym and fulfill your desire of building massive shoulders.
There’s a science to everything, even bodybuilding too. If you don’t know, there are many visual demonstrations available on the internet about exercises and workout techniques.
Check them out to know what’s the correct way to exercise and then, reap the maximum benefit out of it.
Lifting correctly is more important than lifting heavyweights. Thus, Beginners don’t go for weights rather work on your form.
Keep on checking prosfitness for a more useful piece of content.
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Thanks a lot for visiting our website.

Aaron Reiner

Aaron is a fitness blogger, founder & editor of Prosfitness. He has been lifting weights & writing about fitness for over 3 years. He has been a contributor for several health and fitness publications.

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