What are the Rear deltoids?

First things first, the ‘deltoid’ muscle or ‘delt’ for short, is the shoulder. Therefore, in simple terms when people refer to the rear delt, they mean back of the shoulder. The middle delt, meaning middle of the shoulder.
That is the simplest way to explain it.

Scientifically, the deltoids are made up of 3 separate muscles. The front part of the deltoid/shoulder is called the anterior part of the deltoid. It is used an incredible amount, when bench pressing, push ups and other movements. This is due to it being extremely close to the pectoral muscles. In the gym, this part of the deltoid will often be referred to as the ‘front delt’.

Next is the intermediate part of the deltoid. The intermediate deltoid is the middle area of the shoulder or side shoulder. Another commonly used muscle, in the gym it will be referred to as the ‘middle delt’ or ‘side delt’.

For a full in-depth article with 7 great workouts on how to build the rear delts check out this link >>> http://fitnessmonarchy.com/rear-deltoid-workouts/

Finally, we have the rear delts. Also known as the posterior part of the deltoid. The least hit part of the deltoids, meaning they need more direct attention. Due to it being at the rear if you build them and shape them properly, it will leave your shoulders looking huge.

What Exercise’s Work the Rear Delts?

Now we know where to locate the rear deltoid muscle’s and what they are, we need to know how to work them effectively.

Firstly, most shoulder exercise’s will indirectly work the rear delts. Which means that even know they may be focused on a different part of the shoulder, they will also work the rear delts. Due to this, there are some people that believe rear delts don’t need direct work. Which is a fair assumption and if your shoulders naturally build equally then maybe you don’t need to hit them directly.

On the other hand though, most people will need to hit the rear delts directly to provide adequate shape to the shoulders. Here’s a list of some basic rear deltoid movements.
• Seated dumbbell bent-over raises.
• Standing dumbbell bent-over raises.
• Machine reverse fly.
• Standing reverse cable-fly.
• Lying rear delt circles.
• Standing rope face pull.
• Seated rope face pull.
• Laying down dumbbell rear delt raises.

These are the most effective rear deltoid exercise’s that you will find anywhere. If you aren’t sure what some of the movements are, then simply type in the name above in YouTube and it will come up with a video explanation.
With these movements they can all be adapted to use different elements. Meaning most can be done using dumbbells or cables. As for the rope face pulls you can use any different attachment on the cable machines.

Keep Your Technique Good and Weight Low
This is the most important rule that you can take away from this article.

In the gym, the biggest and most common mistake that you will see day in day out, is people sacrificing having good form to load on weight. The simple fact of the matter is, if you aren’t hitting the muscles properly, no amount of weight will tear the muscle fibres correctly.

Yes, having enough weight to put adequate stress on the body, can sometimes be needed. If it means that you are losing your technique though, you need to knock the weight down somewhat.

The issue is a lot of the time, how do we know if we’re doing the movement correctly? How do we know what perfect technique should look like? Well here’s a list of just a few things you can do to keep your form perfect.
• Keep the weight low. I’ve mentioned this previously and it’s always something I remind people of in the gym.
• Video yourself. Set up your phone to video yourself or get someone else to do it for you. Inspect the video and compare it with one’s online that show correct form.
• Note which muscles hurt. Simple enough, if you’re performing rear delt exercises, and you don’t feel strain in your rear delts, you’re probably doing it wrong. Same goes with any exercise. If you don’t feel strain on the muscle you’re aiming to hit, you’re probably doing it wrong.
• Get a personal trainer. Being an ex-personal trainer myself I am all for this option. Some may seem expensive but if it means getting the best results possible, then it should always be considered. If it’s just help on one movement then I’m sure they’ll give you some free advice. If not, then ask somebody else, who knows what they’re doing, to watch you and give advice.

To stretch out your rear delts correctly, check out this link >>
How Often Should You Train Rear Delts?

Now we know what exercises to perform and how we should go about doing them correctly but how often should you work them?

This is kind of a vague subject as everyone is different and some people should be working them more than others. If you do a basic split routine, common with bodybuilders, and your rear delts grow easily. Then just stick to this. If you follow a split routine and your rear deltoids aren’t growing, then you should be hitting them more often.

It really is that simple, if they aren’t growing then try hitting them more. As a rule of thumb, the average person in the gym should be working your rear deltoids directly for around 10 sets a week. The reason I say 10 sets is that you can do 5 sets one day and 5 another.

Alternatively, you could do all 10 sets in one day or 3,3,4 on 3 different days. I also don’t mention amount of repetitions because they’re irrelevant.


Having big and well-defined shoulders is essential if you want to look jacked. Having big rear delts is essential If you want to have big and well-defined shoulders. Therefore, rear deltoids are one of the most important muscles to build and work directly.

To do this you need to use variations of all the exercise’s I have named above. Keeping variation while training is key. You must also perform all the movements correctly, not worrying about what weight you are lifting. As a basic rule of thumb, you should be completing around 10 sets of direct work on the rear delts, every single week.

Thank you for reading.

Author's Bio: 

A masters degree in sports science and over 10 years experience as a personal trainer/ sports coach.