T Nation

Rear Delts


I was wondering if anyone had some secrets to gaining size and or definition in the rear delts. This is one thing that I seem to be struggling with. I've tried several variation of exercises but it doesnt seem to work...

Bent over D/B for rear delts
Cable rear delts....etc..

1 yr into training


pic of delts


Heavy bent-over rows. Yes, they're a back excercise. But they'll build your rear delts better than any other little isolation movement.


good form on your rowing exercises... If you're jerking the bar from the bottom of the movement with the traps and lats and not pulling through the middle of the movement all the way to the finish the rear delts won't get much activation... Pronated grip rows with good form to lower sternum or just below it (not towards you're waist or belly button) should do the trick


Pull, pull, pull...and then pull some more...


Upright rows and cleans.


Aren't upright rows mostly lateral delt, not posterior?

I hear the best post delt developer is...



The reverse pec deck also works.


All of the above are great exercise choices--I especially agree with bent-over rows, really pulling through the mid-range of motion.

I get great rear delt activation from low-pulley cable upright rows using a tricap rope as well, but this might be not be the case for most trainees. If I focus on both retraction and depression of the scapulae, the rear delts really seem to get hit pretty hard.



When you do isolation exercises for the delts you need to keep tension on them at all times. The best coach I ever worked with had all of us contract at the top of a movement for three seconds. This especially works well for Bent over cable raises and the exercise Prof X mentioned. Try to lower the weight a bit and do sets of 8-12 reps (start out with 2 sets each of two exercises and work up to 4 sets of 12 eventually).

Do these after some heavy rowing (palms down and bring barbell to the middle chest area) and after a month or so incorporate some of Waterbury's tips and start working them out 2-3-4-5 times a week for a while with different set and reps schemes.

I myself am doing this at them moment for shoulders and they are blowing up!

Good luck. Your development looks good. Keep it up and post another picture in a few months to let us know your progress, OK?



Two great rear delt isolation exersizes that you may not have tried:

1) Partially bent-over rows in a [GASP!] Smith Machine. I use the Smith only for this and close grip benches with bands but it allows much more weight than any other rear delt movement I've found. You simply grab the bar at knee height with your back at a 45 degree angle and pull the bar straight up (obviously) to the chest. You'll find you can lean back and bring the bar quite high to really activate the upper back/shoulders.

2) Cable rope rows to the face. Use a double end triceps rope in the seated row station and pull high towards your face. This also allows you to move a reasonable amount of weight and targets the posterior delts quite well.

Your back development is looking great for only a year training. Keep up the good work!


Deadlifts are also great for this. True dat! (But I didn't want to get into convincing someone to do them, and why/how they hit the rear delts, but they do).

Also, I know a few of the guys have been recommending bent-over rows being pulled toward the sternum/chest. I would beg to differ. If you pull them toward your waist/navel, I actually think they're much more effective at hitting your lats and much of your back overall, you can use more weight this way once you get used to them, AND they still do a stellar job on the rear delts.

Just my .02.


Thanks for all the info,

On the bent over rows do you guys tend to keep your arms in sort of like a close grip bench of out more. I really have not down bent over rows in awhile because I thought that they were only effective for building lats and the exercises that I do know have given me a pretty decent spread but like I said, I really want some rear delts because I am trying to make a somewhat proportionate body. Also in the past week, I have decided to take great care in form and lower weight for all my exercises.


You're still skinny, don't worry about rear delts, eat and lift...


Rows with arms away from the body will do great things for you. It seems by the pictures that the problem isn't your rear delts, it's that your routines emphasis pressing over pulling, or you are naturally better at pushing. I agree that your lats are ahead of the rest of your back. If you concentrate on the upper back, the delt thing will take care of itself.



Good advice given so props to you all...if any horizontal abduction work is done, keep the hands pronated. Going neutral or supinated will work the rhomboids and mid-trap, respectively. Also, if you gain 30 lbs. your post. delts will be sweet


Bent over flyes are good too.

I do them standing and try to keep my arms parallel to the ground for one second at the top of every rep. Quite challenging.