Now that you've successfully built up your pecs and front delts, it's time to start working on filling out the back of your tee shirt and work on those often ignored rear delts. Here are the 5 best rear delt exercises and some tips to get them growing.
Why are rear delt exercises important?
Multiple reasons, but the main one is shoulder health. Too much training of the pecs and front delts can lead to imbalances that pull the shoulders forward putting stress on the shoulder and rotator cuff. Doing rear delt exercises regularly helps pull the shoulders back, making the entire shoulder more stable.
Weak rear delts can also lead to postural issues and back problems....no bueno.
Plus, they make your back look super thick, which is reason enough to do them!
Some Tips for doing rear delt exercises
- Include at least one heavy rowing exercise to your rear delt training
- During isolation movements like reverse flys, focus on the quality of movement and speed rather than the weight to reduce the risk of injury
- Use time static contractions during your isolation exercises, holding the top of the movement (10-60 seconds)
- Train your rear delts at least twice a week: once on shoulder day and also as part of your back day
- Prioritize your rear delts on shoulder day so they aren't forgotten
The 4 Best Rear Delt Exercises
Rear Delt Exercise #1: All Rowing Movements
Rowing exercises are excellent rear delt exercises and are instrumental exercise that should be a staple during any workout session. With just about every rowing exercise your rear delts are extremely recruited, along with the rest of your upper-back musculature.
Rowing movements typically allow you to work the most musculature, making them a very time efficient exercise. They also allow you to use the heaviest weight, helping to improve overall strength.
Rear Delt Exercise #2: Face Pulls
The Face Pull is a highly effective rear delt exercise thatinvolves multiple functions of the rear deltoids—horizontal abduction and external rotation of the arm. The face pull also engages the upper back and traps, making it an excellent warm-up exercise before heavy pressing days. It is also a great choice as a finisher at the end of a workout.
Tip: Keep your elbows above your hands for greater trap engagement
Rear delt Exercise #3: DUMBBELL Reverse Flys
The most common rear delt exercise you are likely to see in the gym for building the rear delts is the Dumbbell Reverse Fly.
There are many variations of this great exercise, but the easiest is the bent-over fly. This variation puts the rear delts at a good angle to be the primary mover of the weight. The rear delts are often hard to fatigue, so perform between 10-20 repetitions when performing this exercise.
Tip: Bent overs can put stress on the spine if done incorrectly or if excess swinging is used to generate momentum. As always, focus on quality of movement and not the weight being used. The goal of the exercise is to stimulate the rear delts, not stroke your ego.
Rear delt exercise #4: Reverse Cable Flys
The Reverse cable fly, sometimes referred to as "reverse lateral extension," is one of the best posterior chain exercises. Because of the standing position, the rear delts, lats, traps, hamstrings, and glutes must all engage on some level to keep the body stable.
Tip: Stand in the center of the cable machine with your knees and elbows slightly bent (butt tight-gut tight)
Conclusion: There you have it! The best 4 rear delt exercises you should be doing (in our opinion of course). Remember, the rear delts often get ignored because you can't see them in the mirror. However, ignore them too much and you'll likely develop imbalances in the shoulder that can lead to serious wear and tear.
Want to challenge your rear delts? Give this workout by AthleanX a try.