T Nation

Favorite Rear Delt Movement?

I’ve built a hell of a back with rows and cable reverse flyes, but the rear delts are forever lagging. Never sore from these movements or machine rows.

I don’t have a great deal of imagination right now to fix them.

What do you think? Suggestions? Articles?



You are doing cable reverse flyes and you aren’t getting ANY rear delt stim??


Try doing bent over lateral raises … or you could sit reverse in a peck deck machine and hit em like that.

Upright rows will hit em … so will seated rope pull to the neck (on a low cable pull machine)

I would try DB Bent over Lateral Raises, with a 2 second pause at the top. Yes, this will force you to use less weight in the beginning. However, you will get used to engaging your rear delts. I had a similar problem. Once I learened to use my rear delts, I get stimulate them from regular back work.

Another one I prfer is seated rows to the neck. It hits the rear detls well.

face pulls! I tried everything, ive always done a lot of backwork (rows, deads; pulldowns) and never really developed rear delts, after doin higher rep (12-15 reps) face pulls I got pretty decent sized rear delts as well as some more new muscle in the upper back. give em a shot.

Barbell snatch.

My rear delts blew up in the month after I started incorporating the movement.

The fact that 1) they’re fun and 2) nobody else in the gym does them makes it extra enjoyable.

Listen for the comments…“dude what the hell is he doing?”…they’re priceless.


No doubt for me: Plate compound shrugs. I’ll try to describe. Pick up a plate: 25, 35, 45 or two if your strong. Let it hang at your side with a neutral grip (not pronated or supinated). Lift it ALMOST like a drag curl, but focus on backwards rotation at the shoulder joint and just let the arms follow through. Ultimately I recommend MANY sets of 5-8 reps heavy and strict.

sup knight–

DEFINITELY try this one; i had big problems with my small rear delts for quite awhile, till i started experimenting. i’ve been usin this exercise for a few months, and i must say they’re comin along quite nicely!

**seated pulley rows with a wide-grip bar (grip has hands vertical).
keep your back solid, and slightly arched back. mess around with the handle height till you feel your delts blowin up, but generally pull in a little higher than normal rows.

its a little akward at first, but it wont take long to get the feel for it…

lemme know what you think; good luck.

Hey, thanks guys, some great stuff here.

Couple suggestions for bent DB raises I see I can try, I find I have to do those reversed on an incline bench or I’ll cheat.

Upright rows nail my mid-delts, rotators, but not so much in the rear in my case.

Face pulls. Why in the world didn’t I think to to try those. Definitely on the agenda…

JeffK, I’ve wanted to do snatches forever. My back probably won’t like them though, what kind of loading have you used in comparison to cleans? (If it’s within 80%, I’ll have to save them for another time)

Mert, I was about to ask for a picture, the drag curl reference threw me. Three cheers for the BB.com database… I can feel that movement just sitting here. Another good one on the agenda…

Big Tim: That vertical grip may be the kicker, I’ve done something similar but always pronated. I’ll definitely give it a go next time in.

Thanks again, that’s plenty to last awhile,


Not sure you’ll find it. Lee Haney did behind the back shrugs with bent arms and I modified it a little. Actually, you want to try to start out with your hands back a little more behind the waist and keep your elbows tight in to the body. Sorry, not the BEST pics, but a few years ago I felt that my rear delts were a major weak point and now I think they are pretty solid.


I think the face/neck pulls are one of the best suggestions. Beyond those however, I think you are hitting the posterior delts to a decent extent with compound movements. Therefore, I would hit a few isolation exercises for direct stress. After all, we are body builders, not necessarily athletes. So, some isolation is very helpful.

If you have access to a pec-deck/machine flye, I would hit some reverse flyes on there. If you don’t feel your rear delts screaming then you have a serious “trigger” in place. By trigger I mean that other muscles have compensated for the lack of rear delt strength and/or activation. For instance, those that always use lots of bicep/grip when hitting pulls tend to get very little lat work done. The biceps/forearms are triggered as the primary mover instead of the lats. In this case, the trainee needs to unwrap the thumb, only gripping the handle enough to keep the bar from slipping, and mentally focus on lat activation.

In your case, to get rid of this trigger you might use a few isolation movements like the reverse flye. Mentally focus on recruiting the rear delts, not the medial heads nor rhomboids/traps. Those muscles will contract to stabilize the shoulder, but should not be the primary mover. Keep the shoulders neutral, don’t let them move to and fro as your perform the flye.

When performing face/neck pulls, bent laterals, or reverse machine flyes, make absolutely certain that your elbows ALWAYS lead the movement. If your elbows are not totally pulling parallel to the line of force (the cable/dumbbell, wrist, elbow and shoulder joint should all be lined up in the same plane) then you will lose the activation of the rear delt.


I do stiff arm push-ups. Basically you just drop and lift with about a 4 inch range of motion in your shoulder joint. If that makes sense. I wouldn’t really call it a mass builder, but it is good for pre/rehab and another movement you can through into the mix.

[quote]Jeff K wrote:
Barbell snatch.

My rear delts blew up in the month after I started incorporating the movement.

The fact that 1) they’re fun and 2) nobody else in the gym does them makes it extra enjoyable.

Listen for the comments…“dude what the hell is he doing?”…they’re priceless.

I believe in this exercise 100%. I’m in week three, session #11 of Behind the Iron Curtain-by CT, and I’m already noticing serious results to my rear delts. Jeff, I know what you’re saying hearing people make comments like that all the time. I love it. oh,yea and I love saying SNATCH. mmmmmmmmmmmmm

similar to face pulls, i like doing bent over dumbell rows with the dumbell hitting your anterior deltoid and your hand position being the same as if you were benchpressing. you need to have your torso parallel to the ground. these are much harder then regular rows and they hit the higher part of the back more so then regular db rows. laters pk