The rear deltoids, or posterior delts, are the back portion of the shoulder complex. These, along with the front (anterior) delts and middle (medial) delts, are the three heads that comprise the entirety of the deltoid. For an overall aesthetic look and optimal shoulder health, the three deltoid heads should be trained with balance. With the front and middle delts given opportunity for exhaustion, training, and gains during the majority of the shoulder and chest workout, there are key exercises that help the rear delts to catch up with its co-heads.
According to natural bodybuilder, success coach, and best-selling fitness author Sean Nalewanyj’s blog, it important to train the rear deltoids, since neglecting to train them have two adverse effects. First, the maximum shoulder size and strength development will be compromised, since one of the three heads that comprise the entire muscle group is being undertrained. Another effect is an increased risk of having shoulder injury. This is due to the high amount of focus given to the chest and front deltoids than the upper back and the rear deltoids. It leads to imbalance in the shoulder joint, which rolls forward and becomes out of position, which results to shoulder injury.
Nalewanyj recommends that the top three rear deltoid exercises are the face pulls, the bent over rear lateral cable raise, and the rear deltoid dumbbell row. The same exercises are also mentioned by fitness guru and martial artist Patrick Damien in his YouTube video, except the addition of the bent-over dumbbell raise.
Not all gym goers include face pulls in their shoulder routine. According to Nalewanyj, this exercise are uncommon, but highly beneficial that it should be included as “staple” in any well rounded workout routine. Face pulls counter the imbalance between the front and rear deltoid, since the exercise also engages the upper back muscles, including the rhomboids, and the trapezius or the traps. The person sets the cable at upper chest height using a rope attachment and grabs onto the ends of the rope from the underneath using a neutral hammer grip. The exercise allows greater range of motion and external rotation as the person pulls the rope backward, toward his face, while trying to pull the rope apart. As the person performs the exercise, he squeezes his rear delts and upper back, before he goes back to the starting position.
The bent over rear lateral cable raise provides effective training to the rear delts, barring involvement of other muscle groups. As per Body Building, the person selects a weight and holds the handle of the low puller with one hand. Then, he bends at the waist until his torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Then, the legs should be slightly bent with the other hand placed on the thigh. The arm is raised with the elbow slightly bent to the side until the arm becomes parallel to the floor and in light with the ear. Then, the weight is lowered back slowly to the starting position. The exercise is repeated for the recommended amount of repetitions.
The rear delts and the upper back can be enhanced further by the rear delt dumbbell rows, which just exhibits some modifications from the dumbbell rows for the back. According to Ex Rx, the person kneels over side of the bench, with the arm and leg to side. Then, the dumbbell is pulled up out to side with upper arm perpendicular to the trunk, until the upper arm is beyond horizontal. The dumbbell is lowered and the movement is repeated. One should take note that moving the upper arm closer to the trunk engages the latissimus dorsi.
Finally, the bent over dumbbell rear delt raise aids in the development of the rear delts, since it allows greater range of movement. The person stands up straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand and while keeping a straight back, the person leans forward until the forehead touches the inclined bench. The palms of the hands may face each other or may face the knees while the torso remains parallel to the floor. The dumbbells are lifted straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor, with the person breathes out during the lift. Then, the person pauses for one second at the top before gradually lowering the dumbbells to the starting position.
Overall, rear deltoid development is dependent on consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate rest.