Rear Deltoid Exercises For A Ripped Back

by Jeff on May 12, 2011

Today’s post is a ‘branch off’ of yesterday’s post (link at the end of this article). In the previous post, I mainly talked about the benefits of developing the front deltoids and outer deltoids. In this post, I will only be focused talking about rear deltoid exercises and the benefits developing them.

Why You Should Develop Your Rear Deltoid Muscles

Having well developed rear deltoids improves the definition of your arms and back. For your arms, it will create a more defined ‘crease’ or separation between your shoulder and triceps muscles. For your back it provides better definition between your shoulders, lats and traps. Well developed front and middle delts will greatly improve muscle definition of your upper body from the front, rear delts can greatly improve the definition of your upper back. The overall effect of developing your deltoids right is that it will make you look more ripped and bigger.

The Problem

The biggest issue with most shoulder workouts is that they doesn’t isolate the muscles well. This prevents you from properly fatiguing your shoulder muscles and achieving any noticeable growth. To develop the rear deltoids, you need to isolate them.

The Solution

The key to a great rear deltoid exercise is having the right angle and keeping a perfect form. If your form sucks, your other muscles are going to activate and prevent rear deltoid isolation. Keeping proper form also includes having the right range of movement. You really need to focus on keeping the rear delts isolated if you want a good workout.

Here are some exercises and techniques that can help you get a better rear deltoid workout.


The video below explains rear deltoid techniques very well:

Note the point where he talks about contracting at the peak point. You don’t need to hold the weight at the end of the positive, but contract your muscles and get that squeeze at the top.

Rear Deltoid Exercises

Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

You can see from the side view that rear deltoid development really defines the shoulder and triceps muscles to give a really ripped look. In the video, the guy is using some momentum in the exercises. I recommend that you don’t do this. Start out with controlled movements for the entire range of movement and squeeze your muscles at the top for a moment like in the first video.

You can also perform the Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise in a seated position.

Cable Scarecrows

This exercise is fairly straight forwards. Just make sure you use a light enough weight to get rear deltoid isolation. When the weight is heavier, you will end up using more muscles groups. Don’t raise your shoulders and do a shrugging motion or your traps will take over.

Reverse Fly

This exercise is similar to the Cable Scarecrows. The same mechanics apply.

The Key To Optimal Rear Deltoid Development

You can’t use heavy weights when targeting the rear deltoid. When you use heavy weights, other major muscle groups take over and you lose the targeting. Start with a light weight and get a good feel for your rear deltoids contracting. If you increase the weight and lose your contraction, it means that your rear deltoids are no longer being isolated in the movement.


If you enjoyed this article, check out my post on Shoulder Exercises and Workouts for Wider Shoulders.

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