T Nation

Rear Delt Training Ideas

Rear delts are often overlooked. They’re pretty important.

Let’s get some rear delt training ideas.

I’ve been doing the reverse pec deck fly, but I hate it. I think it’s the specific one in my gym, because I tried it at a Gold’s and it was great.

Face pulls don’t do it for me.
Either do bent over dumbbell raises.
I’ve run out of ideas. I can’t find an exercise that feels right for rear delts. I do tons of rows/pulldowns, so they’re alright, but I need an isolation exercise.

Well you can hit them heavy with rows/pullups, etc. But for an isolation move, nothing is gonna beat rear raises. Go super light, and really focus on the rear delts. Nothing wrong with starting with 5lb dbs. If you are doing heavy deads, pullups, and rows, they will be strong, but if they need the extra volume, nothing is going to be better than rear raises.

I second the rear delt raises, but a bit different than dankid. I get the most benefit form doing them 1 arm at a time, and using the heaviest weight possible. I’m not that strong of a guy but even I can use the 60’s for these. Honestly, once I started really pushing the weight my rear delts really blew up.

bend over rear ROW i thinks with dumbells…

start light, bend over like a strict BOR, and row the dumbells to your shoulders/rear delts en squezzze the hell out out of it!


Watch this video with Charles Glass & Kai. The first exercise is a rear-delt killer.

Wide Grip Bent Over Barbell Rows, with your hands near the weights.

Tr rear del raise with DBs keeping your thumbs pointing towards the floor; its harder more isolating than doing them in the usual style i.e. thumbs pointing forward.

Try it!

I like to lay prone on an incline bench, and do partial Bent Laterals that way. I say ‘partial’ because I try to keep a constant motion through the midrange so that I don’t allow my back muscles to assist at the top, nor do I allow the rear delts to slacken at the bottom. AS has been mentioned previously on here, I keep my thumbs pointed down towards the floor the entire time.


Recent article, nothing new though:

High pulley reverse cable flyes.

I second Boffin and The Mighty Stu on pointing thumbs toward the floor. I always try not to activate traps: as Stu said, I lay on a bench (I preferd a low incline), and I keep my scapulae as spread as possible. This way, all the (limited) ROM I get comes from delts.

[quote]MEYMZ wrote:
High pulley reverse cable flyes.[/quote]

There is another exercise that is similar–I think it is called the pitchers pull for the reason pitchers use it as a prehab/rehab exercise…I like it. You stand parrarel with a high-pully; your opposite arm reaches up over your face to hold a single rope or handle; and the movement is to pull your arm (without too much bend in it) to the it corresponding hip (left arm comes from the right side of body to the left hip).

I really like this one as an extra shoulder exercise. Not the heaviest lift, but pulls that rear delt through its full range of motion.

[quote]Boffin wrote:
Tr rear del raise with DBs keeping your thumbs pointing towards the floor; its harder more isolating than doing them in the usual style i.e. thumbs pointing forward.

Try it![/quote]

Form is everything on Rear Delt raises.

I would add that at the top of the movement the upper arm & elbow should be perpendicular to your side or in front of the shoulder. Most lifters I see are just doing a Bent D.Bell Row not a Rear Delt Lateral Raise.

Rackpulls, making sure you lock those shoulders back and down at the top.

Reverse flyes using the cable crossover station (love these).

If using rows, you’ll need a wider grip. I find that it’s best to keep the weight light(er), as otherwise my back&biceps start taking over.

Via Dante:

Wide Grip Bent Over Rows while holding onto the lips of the plates.

When do you train rear delts? On back day or on shoulder day?

I only ask because if you do them on back day theres a chance that rowing and some other pulling movements will fatigue them. If your rear delts are fatigued before you do an exercise to focus on them you wont be able to use as much weight. This may hold you back.

If you are doing them on shoulder day I say stick with facepulls. Find a way to make them work. Dumbbells do not allow for constant tension and maximal loads the way cables do (in this particular case). Setting up the rope attachment on a lat pulldown tower and leaning back to a 45 degree angle should allow you to use a lot of weight.

Focus on spreading your hands as wide as possible at the bottom of the movement and don’t release the tension at the top, that means don’t let your hand come close to each other. Full range of motion is not essential but strict form to keep the rear delt activated is very important.

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
Reverse flyes using the cable crossover station (love these).


x2, just bend at the waist and you’re golden

[quote]esk221 wrote:
Via Dante:

Wide Grip Bent Over Rows while holding onto the lips of the plates.[/quote]

My gym has plates with the handles in them so I grab those. I also set it up on an ez bar.

Do this and contract your traps together as your squeezing the upper back. After doing that get into the row position and focus on pulling the weight up with your rear delts instead of your back.

it may help to have a partner touch your rear delts so you can focus on them.

I found squeezing the traps together makes for a very short movement but it’s almost entirely on the delt

I’ve had the similar issues and have tried a lot of whats listed. Stayed especially loyal to bent over reverse cable flys along with the seated reverse pec deck flys.


Nothing makes me more sore in the rear delt area than deep ass dips and the farmers walk with no straps.

Probably because I’m doing it wrong no doubt, but it works for me.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I’m gonna try those reverse cables that Kai’s doing in that video. I might try it one arm at a time.

The face pulls on the lat pulldown also seems good. Maybe I’ll do reverse cables on my first shoulder/back day and face pulls on the other.