How to Train Your Rear Delts?

Did you know that one of the most forgotten muscle groups is actually super important to work out? It’s the rear delts!

These muscles are found on the back of your shoulders and are key for a safe and effective strength training routine.

Rear delts help with shoulder movement and keeping them stable.

Plus, working on your rear delts doesn’t just protect your shoulders, but it also boosts your performance in other upper body exercises like Bent Over Rows and T-Bar Rows.

So, it’s smart to add exercises that target your rear delts into your workout plan. 

If you need some ideas for rear delt exercises, read on!

Rear Delt Muscle Anatomy

Rear Delt Muscle Anatomy

Your rear deltoids, situated at the back of your shoulder, are vital components of your shoulder muscles. They form one-third of the deltoid muscles, working alongside the front and middle sections, and are crucial for upper body strength and movement.

These muscles originate from the spine of the shoulder blade and attach to the upper arm bone (humerus). They partially cover the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles of the rotator cuff, playing a pivotal role in the intricate mechanics of your shoulder.

Functionally, the rear delts serve several purposes. They aid in extending the shoulder, such as when you pull your arm backward in a rowing motion. Additionally, they assist in externally rotating the shoulder joint, collaborating with the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles. This rotation is essential for activities involving arm movement, like throwing or reaching behind your back.

Moreover, the upper portion of the rear delts contributes to abducting your arm, moving it away from your body. This action depends on the coordination of nearby muscles such as the latissimus dorsi and other components of the rotator cuff.

3 Rear Delt Exercises

Building strong and well-defined rear deltoids is crucial for achieving balanced shoulder strength and posture. To effectively engage these muscles, consider adding these three exercises to your workout routine:

1. Barbell Row

The barbell row is a compound exercise primarily targeting the upper back muscles, including the rear deltoids. While not a direct rear deltoid isolation exercise, it can effectively engage these muscles as secondary ones. To emphasize the rear deltoids during a barbell row:

  • Widen your grip on the bar.
  • Pull the bar slightly higher toward your upper chest.

This adjustment changes the pulling angle and increases rear deltoid activation. While performing the exercise, remember to:

  • Maintain a neutral spine.
  • Engage your core.
  • Ensure controlled movements to prevent swinging.

The barbell row not only benefits your rear deltoids but also enhances overall upper body strength and posture.

2. Cable Rear Delt Row

The cable rear delt row is a precise exercise designed to isolate and engage the rear deltoids. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a cable machine with a rope attachment.
  • Stand facing the machine.
  • Hold the rope handles with an overhand grip.
  • Keep your arms extended in front of you.

Now, perform the exercise by:

  • Pulling the handles apart.
  • Simultaneously retracting your shoulder blades.

This movement effectively targets the rear deltoids while minimizing involvement from other muscles. The cable rear delt row maintains constant tension on the muscles throughout the motion, promoting muscle activation and growth.

You can customize this exercise to fit your body mechanics and target the rear deltoids optimally by adjusting the pulley height and grip width.

3. Reverse Dumbbell Fly

The reverse dumbbell fly is a critical isolation exercise directly targeting the rear deltoids. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bend at the hips while keeping your back flat and core engaged.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, arms extended downward, and palms facing each other.
  3. Raise your arms laterally and slightly diagonally to your sides, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.

This motion isolates the rear deltoids, engaging them throughout the range of motion. To get the most benefit:

  • Maintain a controlled pace.
  • Use lighter weights to prevent momentum.
  • Focus on proper form and deliberate contractions.

Learn more: Best Exercises for Building Muscle and Strength

Rear Delt Workout Plan

To strengthen your rear deltoids effectively, follow this workout plan. It includes various exercises to engage and develop your rear deltoid muscles while also working on other upper back muscles:

1. Barbell Row

To target your rear deltoids and surrounding muscles effectively, begin with barbell rows. Perform 3 sets of 8 reps. Grab the bar with a wide grip and pull it up slightly higher on your chest.

This technique emphasizes engagement of the rear delts. Remember to maintain controlled movements and execute proper form throughout the exercise.

2. Cable Rear Delt Row

Next, switch to cable rear delt rows to focus more directly on your rear deltoids. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps. Utilize a rope attachment on a cable machine, and pull the handles apart while retracting your shoulder blades.

This isolated movement optimizes rear delt activation for an effective workout.

3. Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Finish your workout routine with reverse dumbbell flyes to target your rear deltoids with precision.

Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps. Opt for light dumbbells and prioritize strict form, allowing your rear deltoids to perform the majority of the work while minimizing any swinging motion.

Final Words

To effectively build muscle and increase strength in your rear deltoids, prioritize compound exercises followed by supplementary movements targeting the horizontal abduction pattern. Top exercises for rear delt growth include reverse flyes, bent-over lateral raises, and prone incline lateral raises.

Keep your rep range moderate (8-12 reps) and select a weight that enables proper form throughout all repetitions. It’s not necessary to use heavy weights; instead, focus on lighter or moderate loads that you can lift with control from start to finish.

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