Not knowing what to do with your bulked up body and an embarrassingly small set of rear delts is very frustrating. Your rear delts require individual attention for them to look strong and developed. Here’s a definitive guide to building the well-defined physique you are looking for.
The deltoids in general are easy muscles to hit, but when it comes to your rear delts you’ve got to do way more than the usual upper back exercises. In this blog post you will learn everything you need to know about the deltoids and how to work them out to make them stronger and well-defined.
Which Muscles are the Rear Delts?
The deltoid muscle group in your upper back and shoulder area comprises of three different muscles; The anterior deltoids, lateral deltoids and posteroir deltoids. Among the deltoids, the posterior delts aka the rear delts are the most difficult muscles to hit.
The rear delts are the muscles that originate right under your shoulder blades and tuck into the humerus/ upper arm bone. If you palm the top of your opposite shoulder, reaching for the back of your shoulder the tips of your fingers would be touching your rear delt muscles.
These muscles are responsible for extending the shoulder, rotating it externally and aid in the action of the rotator cuffs. Though beginners usually neglect them, the rear delts are instrumental in giving you the rounded shoulders and defined upper back you’ve always wanted.
What do Underdeveloped Rear Delts look like?
You’ve worked out your shoulders 2-4 days a week for months now and you don’t see progress in the right direction. You notice that your shoulders do respond to the stimulus but something seems off. That is the story of an underdeveloped set of rear delts.
The rear delts give your shoulders the rounded look. A muscular shoulder that has a clear anomaly in the posterior reflects that you aren’t working your rear delts enough. Working the deltoids help minimize postural defects providing the support your upper back and your lat muscles need.
Why are Your Rear Delts so Small?
The rule isn’t ‘the bigger the better’ always. However in this case, a well-define set of deltoids is a clear indication that your are doing the right exercises and hitting the right muscles. Here are a few reasons why you might not be one of the proud owners of a beast-like pair of shoulders.
- Lack of Attention
First to the obvious: If you don’t see your rear delts quite often you most probably won’t bother working them out either. Many beginners neglect this muscle group because they aren’t easily visible before the mirror. Knowing that things need work up there is therefore, crucial.
- Too Much Pressing and Not Enough Pulling
Your rear delts are muscles that are directly involved in the pulling action. Most upper back exercises predominantly work out the lats or traps. This is why it’s difficult to hit the rear delts and this is why isolation exercises work best. In the next section of this post we will list out a few rear delt-specific exercises.
- Excessive Weights
Delt-recruiting exercises are better when they are isolation exercises. Just because you don’t see a visible change in your rear delts, do not increase the weight excessively as this can compromise on form causing other muscles to complete the rep for you.
- Repeating the Same Movement
Most rear delt exercises like the rear delt flys require you to move your shoulders one way or another. But, in order to make full use of the muscle and set it on fire, switching up your exercises is key.
How to Work out Your Rear Delts?
Along with the right exercises to incorporate, you need to consider a few factors to develop your rear delts. This section includes all our pro tips to help you with that. For your convenience, we have also provided a few recommendations of the best equipments for these exercises.
- Experiment with Different Weights and Reps– Studies show that rear delt muscles consist of both type I and type II muscle fibres. This means both weight and reps matter.
Moderate weights with high reps and slightly higher weights with lower reps are the best.
- Incorporate Proper Hand Positioning- Rear delt exercises should focus both on arm abduction and rotation. Switch up your exercises and grip to better work your rear delts.
- Increase the Frequency- Muscles in the shoulder area replenish their full potential very quickly. Training them often, say 2-4 times per week is ideal to give the stimulus they need. Incorporate two different solid isolation exercises each day for ideal results.
- Use Hypertrophy Repetition Schemes- There are a few repetition schemes that aid in hypertrophy which is building muscle size. The commonly used rep scheme for hypertrophy is to do 3 or 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Best Exercises for Your Rear Delts
- Barbell Rows
The rowing action engages your upper back and shoulder muscles. Upright rows engage the entire shoulder muscles with the rear delts helping to stabilize the lift. Roll your shoulders back and down with a wider grip when doing bent over rows to torch your rear delts.
Chinups and Pullups are great for your shoulders. Again, the role of your rear delts here is to stabilize the entire motion. This helps the rear delts to better coordinate with other muscles helping you focus on them much easily.
- Cable Rear Delt Pulls/ Flys and Face Pulls
Cable Rear Delt pulls involve you pulling your arms straight out to your sides. The work load here is convergent on the rear delts and traps which make them one of the best isolation exercises.
The pulling action in face pulls target the rear delts and focus on minimum work load on other muscles.
- Lateral Raises and Reverse Dumbell Flys
Both of these exercises involve moving your arms away from you to your sides. Remember to use lighter weights to avoid accidentally swinging the weights and losing your form.
- Honorable and Equally Important Mentions
1. Lat Pull-downs
2. Reverse Pec Deck Flys
3. Standing Cable Reverse Flys
Our Recommendations to Enhance Your Workouts
We hope that you benefited from this article and learnt everything about building your rear delts.
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