Bringing Up the Rear…Delts

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rear delt

Quick. Name the first two shoulder exercises that come to mind. My guess would be that the first one is some sort of press and the second one was a lateral raise. Or perhaps since you saw the title above, you decided to come up with some sort of rear delt exercise first. Let’s be real though, if it weren’t for that title, the first two lifts wouldn’t have been for the posterior deltoids.

By Roger Lockridge

The lack of attention given to the posterior deltoids is common- for far too long rear delt exercises are thrown in at the end of your shoulder or back routine, and this means they aren’t getting the attention they need to grow and develop like your other muscles.

In order to change this, we’re going to go over two tips and provide two exercises you should prioritize in your shoulder system so the balance and improvement you seek will come.

Tip #1 – Start with your rear delts.

This area is a weakness that you want to convert to a strength. So why would you save it for the end when you’ve already been training, getting tired, and have given your best effort to other areas. Instead, you should start with a rear delt movement. You have the most energy, can use this as an opportunity to make that mind-muscle connection you need, and can give the rear delts your greatest commitment.

Tip #2 – Train them more often.

Some people include rear delt movements with shoulders and others do so with upper back. If this is an area you consider a weakness, then you should consider training it twice. You can do one of the two movements below with shoulders and the other as a part of your back workout. So long as you have at least 72 hours between the two workouts, this extra volume can be the ticket for growth.

Exercise #1 – High Rope Face Pulls

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you know how to do these movements so I won’t waste your time on the step by step instructions, but there are a couple of points to keep in mind while you’re doing them. First, make sure your elbows come back past your shoulders to get that peak contraction. This is essential if you want to work the rear delts through their entire range of motion. Second, take your time as you perform the reps so you can feel the rear delts working. Jerking the rope and pulling faster won’t help your cause. Perform 4 sets of 8-10 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets.

Exercise #2Rear Lateral Raise on Incline Bench

This is a great movement to isolate the rear delts if performed properly. The first point to keep in mind is that your chest should be in contact with the bench throughout the entire set. If your chest comes up, then you could be generating momentum which can minimize the tension on the area you’re trying to focus on. Also, control the weights on the way down and don’t let the weights touch. That negative is just as important as the positive portion of the rep. Finally, don’t let your hands turn so the palms face each other. This can incorporate the side delts which is what we don’t want. As you reach the top of the rep, your pinkies should be up towards the ceiling. Go for 3 sets of 12 reps with 45 seconds rest between each set.