Top 5 Best Rear Delt Exercises for Building Strong Shoulders

When it comes to building impressive shoulders, most of us focus on the front and side deltoid muscles. But for a well-rounded and balanced shoulder development, we can’t forget about the rear deltoids. These overlooked muscles at the back of your shoulders play an important role in shoulder health and overall strength. In this guide, we’ll cover the top 5 rear delt exercises that have helped professional bodybuilders strengthen and define this essential part of the shoulder. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gym-goer, these exercises are here to boost your shoulder game and promote a healthy, well-proportioned physique. 

Top 5 Rear Delt Exercises:

First, let’s talk about why working on your rear delts is essential. Strengthening these muscles offers a lot of benefits:

  • Balanced Shoulder Development: Focusing only on the front and side deltoids can lead to muscle imbalances. That’s why performing these rear delt exercises is essential to ensure that your shoulders have a well-rounded, symmetrical appearance.
  • Improved Posture: Strong rear deltoids help pull your shoulders back, promoting better posture. If you spend long hours hunched over a desk or computer, this is important.
  • Injury Prevention: Weak rear deltoids can contribute to shoulder injuries. Strengthening them can help reduce the risk of common shoulder problems.

1. Seated Rear Dumbbell Lateral Raises

rear delt exercises

A game-changer exercise for shoulder workouts is the seated rear dumbbell lateral raise. Performing this rear delt exercise, you can strengthen and sculpt your rear deltoid muscles. It’s not just effective, it’s also simple to perform, making it suitable for individuals at various fitness levels. 

This is an isolated rear delt exercise that specifically targets the rear deltoid muscles, which are the muscles located at the back of your shoulders. This involves lifting dumbbells from a seated position, focusing on working the rear deltoids.

  • Sit on a bench with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Use a weight that challenges you but allows for proper form. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, using an overhand grip.
  • With your arms extended downward and a slight bend in your elbows, lean forward slightly from your hips. Keep your chest up, and maintain a natural arch in your lower back.
  • In a controlled motion, raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground. Focus on squeezing your rear deltoid muscles as you lift the dumbbells.
  • At the top of the movement, pause for a second and squeeze your rear delts. This ensures you’re targeting the right muscles.
  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions, depending on your fitness levels and goals. 

2. Reverse Pec Deck Flyes

rear delt exercises

The rear deltoids often get ignored in comparison to the front and side deltoid muscles. However, if you want a balanced and sculpted shoulder girdle, you must perform these rear delt exercises. One effective exercise that targets these often-neglected muscles is the Reverse Dec Deck Flyes. 

This is a resistance exercise designed to isolate and strengthen the rear deltoid muscles. The exercise is typically performed on a pec deck machine, which consists of two padded armrests and a stack of weights that can adjust your desired resistance level. 

  • Start by sitting on the pec deck machine and adjusting the seat and handles so that your shoulders are in line with the handles. Select a weight that challenges you while maintaining proper form.
  • Grasp the handles with your palms facing each other. Your arms should be extended, and your elbows should have a slight bend.
  • Sit with your back flat against the machine’s backrest, and engage your core for stability.
  • Begin by squeezing your rear deltoid muscles to bring your arms together in front of your chest. Focus on the sensation of your rear delts doing the work. Keep your back firmly against the machine’s pad throughout the motion.
  • At the fully contracted position, hold for a brief moment and emphasize the contraction in your rear deltoids.
  • Slowly release the handles and return your arms to the starting position, allowing your rear deltoids to stretch.
  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions, depending on your stamina and goals. 

3. Barbell Bent-Over Rows

rear delt exercises

If your goal is to build a powerful back, then the Barbell Bent-Over Row exercise should be added to your workout routine. This classic compound movement not only targets your upper back but also engages your lower back, biceps, and your core. 

This rear delt exercise primarily works the muscles of the upper back, particularly the lats and the rhomboids. Additionally, this exercise engages the lower back, biceps, and rear deltoids, making it an all-in-one exercise for back development.

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, with a barbell in front of you on the floor. Choose an appropriate weight that challenges you but doesn’t ruin your form. 
  • Bend at your hips and knees to lower your upper body while keeping your back straight. Your back should be at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Reach down and grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip.
  • Tighten your core, and with your arms fully extended and your back straight, lift the barbell off the ground by extending your hips and straightening your knees. The bar should hang directly in front of your thighs.
  • Exhale and pull the barbell towards your lower chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. At the top of the movement, pause for a second, and squeeze your back muscles to maximize the contraction.
  • Inhale as you lower the barbell back down, extending your arms fully to return to the starting position.
  • Perform this exercise exactly in the same way and aim for 3-4 sets of 9-12 repetitions.

4. Rope Face Pulls

rear delt exercises

This is a very important rear delt exercise to sculpt a strong upper back and improve your posture. This exercise targets your rear deltoids, trapezius, and upper back muscles. By performing it correctly you can build a well-rounded and balanced physique. 

Rope face pulls are a resistance exercise that focuses on the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, particularly the rear deltoids and the trapezius. They are performed using a cable machine with a rope attachment. 

  • Start by setting up a cable machine with a rope attachment at chest height. Attach the rope to the cable. 
  • You need to perform this rear delt exercise with proper form without straining so opt for an appropriate weight on the cable machine.
  • Stand facing the cable machine and hold the ends of the rope attachment with both hands. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart. 
  • Take a step back from the machine and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees
  • Maintain an upright posture with your chest up and your shoulders relaxed. Keep an engaged core for stability.
  • Begin the motion by pulling the rope attachment towards your face. Your elbows should point out to the sides, and your hands should move toward your ears.
  • As the rope nears your face, squeeze your shoulder blades together to engage your rear deltoids and upper back muscles.
  • Slowly and in a controlled manner, extend your arms to bring the rope back to the starting position. Your hands should move away from your face
  • Adjust the weight if required, and aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. 

5. Wide Grip Inverted Rows

rear delt exercises

There are only a few exercises out there that are as effective and versatile as wide-grip inverted rows. By performing this rear delt exercise you’ll build a strong upper body as it targets various muscle groups in the upper body, including the back, biceps, and shoulders. 

Wide Grip Inverted Rows are a bodyweight exercise that involves pulling your body up towards a bar while keeping your body in a horizontal position. This “wide grip” aspect of the exercise refers to the position of your hands on the bar, which is wider than shoulder-width apart.

  • Find a pull-up bar or a Smith machine bar. Position the bar at waist height and ensure it’s securely anchored.
  • Grip the bar with both hands, your hands should be positioned wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a step back, so your body is leaning back at about a 45-degree angle to the ground. Your heels should be on the ground, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged throughout the exercise.
  • Begin the exercise by pulling your chest towards the bar while keeping your body straight. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and using your back muscles to initiate the movement.
  • When your chest is near the bar, hold that position for a second to maximize the contraction in your back muscles.
  • Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position, maintaining the straight body alignment.
  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions, adjusting the difficulty level by changing the angle of your body or using an incline bench if needed.

Final Thoughts:

Building strong and well-defined shoulders goes beyond just working the front and side deltoid muscles. Your rear deltoids play a crucial role in achieving that balanced and sculpted look while supporting health and posture. The top 5 rear delt exercises that we’ve explored in this article are powerful tools in your workout routine. By incorporating these exercises into your shoulder workout routine and focusing on proper form and progressive resistance, you’ll be able to build stronger rear deltoids along with an overall well-rounded and impressive shoulder development. 

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Rear Delt Exercises for Building Strong Shoulders”

Leave a Comment