In this post I’m going to give you a short and effective rear deltoid workout that contains the 2 best rear delt exercises.
First let’s quickly go over why it’s so important to train your rear delts.
The Importance of the Rear Deltoid
Your shoulder is made up of 3 muscles:
- The front (anterior) deltoid
- The side (lateral) deltoid
- The rear (posterior) deltoid
The problem most guys have an overdeveloped front deltoid (from too much bench pressing) and an underdeveloped rear deltoid (from not enough pulling exercises).
This creates an unbalanced shoulder muscle that is prone to injury. It also causes more tightness in your anterior delts than your posterior delts, which pulls your shoulders forward and causes you to have bad, hunched-over posture.
Given that most of us probably need to beef up our rear delts to catch up with our front delts, the solution becomes clear: we have to add rear-delt-specific exercises into our workout routine.
And here are the two exercises I recommend to do just that.
Best Rear Delt Exercises #1: Rear Shoulder Raises
Deltoid raises (where you raise your arms to your sides with dumbbells) are a great shoulder exercise. But to focus on your REAR delts (rather than your side/lateral delts), you need to lean forward.
The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to sit folded up on the edge of a bench like this:
Here’s how to perform rear delt raises:
- Sit on the edge of a bench.
- Put two dumbbells behind your feet, directly underneath your thighs.
- Lean forward so that your chest is resting on your thighs.
- Grab the dumbells and lift them up behind you.
- Keep your shoulders down as you do, and really focus on feeling the contraction in your rear delts.
That’s exercise #1.
Best Rear Delt Exercises #2: Seated Cable Row Face Pulls
The other best exercise for your rear delts is face pulls.
But I don’t recommend doing face pulls the way most people do, which is standing up. The problem with standing face pulls is that once you reach 50 pounds or so, the weight starts to pull you forward. It gets very awkward to keep your body upright & steady while performing the exercise with good form.
Luckily, it’s much easier to do face pulls while seated on a cable machine like this:
Here’s how to perform rope cable face pulls:
- Sit on a bench connected to a cable machine.
- Make sure to use a rope attachment.
- Place your feet on the braces, and hold the rope with both hands.
- Lean back and keep
This is the other best rear delt exercise.
How Many Reps & Sets Should You Do?
For both of these rear delt exercises, I recommend doing 3 sets of 8-16 reps.Make sure to keep the weight slow and under control, and
Make sure to keep the weight slow and under control, and DON’T try to lift too much weight!
These are NOT exercises where you want to try to lift a ton of weight and get huge. You just want to use good, clean form. Remember that your goal here is balanced strength and shoulder health.
When Should You Do These Rear Delt Exercises?
This will depend on how you have your workouts split up.
Some guys have a separate shoulder workout. If that’s the case for you, then definitely do these exercises on shoulder day.
But a lot of guys (like me) don’t do shoulders on a separate day. I usually prefer to work my upper body using a “pushing” day (bench press, overhead press, etc.) and a “pulling” day (pull-ups, rows, etc.).
In this case, I recommend doing your rear delt work on your PULLING day, because rows and other pulling exercises will naturally work your rear delts a little.
Finally, do them at the end of the workout…AFTER you’ve done all your heavy pulling. (You don’t want to pre-fatigue this muscle before exerting it with a heavy load.)