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What are Rear Deltoids: The Best Ways to Train Your Rear Delts


What are Rear Deltoids: The Best Ways to Train Your Rear Delts
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Your rear delts, or posterior deltoids, are the muscles in the back of your shoulder. They originate on the spine of your shoulder blade and attach to your humerus (upper arm bone). They play a role in extending your shoulder and also externally rotating your shoulder.

In this article, you'll learn about the rear delt's anatomy and some exercises you can do to train them effectively. You'll also learn to put together a workout targeting your rear delts.

What are Rear Deltoids?

Rear delts, or posterior deltoids, are the back part of your shoulder muscle. They originate on the spine of your shoulder blade and insert into your humerus (upper arm bone).

They help your lats extend your shoulder and externally rotate your shoulder, together with the infraspinatus and teres minor of your rotator cuff. In other words, they play a pretty important role in shoulder movement!

Now that you know a bit more about rear delts let's take a look at some exercises you can do to train them.

What are Some Effective Rear Delt Exercises?

There are quite a few effective exercises for training your rear delts. Our favorites include the quadruped rear delt raise, the side-lying rear delt raise, the cuff pivot, the reverse fly, and the pull-apart.

These exercises can be worked into a comprehensive routine to help you achieve the best results possible. So let's take a closer look at each one.

Quadruped Rear Delt Raise

The quadruped rear delt raise is an excellent exercise for targeting the rear deltoid muscles. It is a fairly simple exercise that can be performed anywhere.

However, keeping good form is important to avoid injury and get the most out of the move. Remember to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement, and take care not to arch your back or let your hips rotate. With practice, you'll be able to master this exercise and build strong, toned rear delts.

How to Do It

  • To perform the quadruped rear delt raise, start on all fours with your knees and hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your spine in a neutral position and brace your core.
  • From here, raise one arm out to the side of you and keep it parallel to the ground.
  • Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the opposite arm.

Side-Lying Rear Delt Raise

The side-lying rear delt raise is an excellent exercise for targeting the rear deltoid muscle. The rear deltoid is responsible for bringing the arm backward and upward. Side-lying rear delt raises are a great way to build strength and definition in the rear delts.

If you want to add this exercise to your workout routine, consult a qualified personal trainer or fitness professional first to ensure proper form and technique.

How to Do It

  • Start by lying on your side with a dumbbell in your hand.
  • Rest your head on your arm and keep your feet stacked on top of each other.
  • Slowly raise the dumbbell up right before it is stacked overtop of your shoulder.
  • Control and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Cuff Pivot

One of the most effective rear delt exercises is the cuff pivot. This exercise works the muscles in the back of the shoulder, including the rotator cuff. To do this exercise, start sitting on a bench with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.

How to Do It

  • Hold a stretch band in each hand, and let your arms hang down at your sides.
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees,
  • Then slowly rotate one of your shoulders out to the side, now facing your palm outwards.
  • Slowly return back to the starting position.
  • .Repeat with the opposite arm.

Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is a great exercise for targeting the posterior deltoids or the back of the shoulder. This muscle group is often overlooked in favor of the more visible front deltoids, but strong posterior deltoids are essential for maintaining good posture and preventing pain in the shoulders and neck.

Reverse flies can be done with light dumbbells for high reps as a warm-up exercise or with heavier weights for lower reps as part of a strength-training routine. Give them a try and see how they help you achieve better shoulder health!

How to Do It

  • To do a reverse fly, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent.
  • Bend forward at the hips until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor, then raise your arms to the sides leading with the elbow.
  • Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position and repeat.


The pull-apart is a great rear deltoid exercise that can be done with just a band. It strengthens the muscles in the back of your shoulder, which is key for good posture and healthy shoulders. You should feel a great stretch in your rear deltoids as you do this exercise. The pull-apart is a simple but effective way to keep your shoulders healthy and strong.

How to Do It

  • Start by holding a resistance band with your palms facing each other to perform a pull-apart.
  • Pull your hands apart while keeping your elbows straight, feeling the tension in the band as you do so.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Cable Shoulder External Rotation

Cable External shoulder rotations is one of the most effective exercises for developing the rear deltoid. This exercise can be performed with a cable machine or resistance band.

How to Do It

For dumbbell shoulder, external rotation,

  • Start by holding a cable attachment in your left hand with your palm facing inwards.
  • From here, slowly rotate your left forearm out and away from your body until your palm is facing forwards.
  • Reverse the motion and repeat for desired reps.

Reverse Pec Dec

The Reverse Pec Dec is another versatile exercise that significantly affects the development of the rear deltoid. This exercise is performed on a machine so it is relatively safe for beginner lifters.

How to Do It

  • To perform this take a seat on a pec dec machine the opposite way (you will be facing the machine)
  • You can either grab the vertical or horizontal handles.
  • Keep your upper back rounded as you pull the handles apart in an arc-like fashion.
  • Bring that back just before being in line with your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the handles back to starting position and repeat for desired reps.

How to Prevent Injury

The leading cause of injuries in any exercise is overdoing it and not taking enough rest periods. With shoulder exercises, always follow the following three rules of thumb:

  • Start with a lightweight and do 10-12 reps of each exercise.
  • Rest for 60 seconds and then repeat the circuit.
  • Finish with 3-4 sets of weighted rear delt raises.

Rest in between your sets, and don’t overwork. It will diminish your progress and force you to start from the starting line because of muscle damage.

Why is Strengthening Your Rear Deltoids So Important?

Your rear deltoids are important for several reasons. First, they help you extend your shoulder, which is key for overhead pressing exercises. Second, they help you externally rotate your shoulder, which is important for exercises like the Arnold press.

And last but not least, strong rear deltoids give you that nice “round” look to your shoulders and make them look more sculpted. So if you’re looking to improve your overall physique, it’s important to train your rear delts effectively.


1. How do you properly do bent over rear delts?

You should start by hinging at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor. Then, with your arms slightly bent, you should contract your rear deltoids to bring the weight up and out to your sides. Finally, you should slowly bring your arms back to the starting position.

2. What do Rear Delts do?

The posterior deltoid muscle is responsible for the shoulder's extension, external rotation, and horizontal abduction. To stretch this muscle, reverse the action by flexion, internal rotation, and horizontal adduction of the shoulder joint.

3. How many sets should you do for rear delts?

There is no perfect answer to this question since everyone's physiology is different. However, a good starting point is 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. You can experiment with different numbers of sets and reps to see what works best for you.

Remember that form is key when doing any exercise, so focus on squeezing the rear delts at the top of each rep. Also, try using a variety of exercises to target the rear delts from multiple angles. This will help ensure that you are hitting all the muscle fibers and maximize your results.

4. Do rear delts respond better to high or low reps?

There is no definitive answer to this question because it depends on the person's physiology and how their muscles respond to various stimuli. Generally speaking, however, most people get better results from using high reps when training their rear delts. This is because high reps are more effective at stimulating muscle growth and hypertrophy.

The Bottom Line

You have now learned all about the rear deltoid muscle and some exercises you can do to target this muscle. Always use proper form when performing these exercises; start with a comfortable weight.

Once you have mastered the basics, feel free to progress on to more challenging exercises. And remember, it is always best to consult a personal trainer or doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

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