Skip to content

How to Build Bigger Rear Delts (8 Exercises for Faster Gains) 

    Do you feel your rear delts are unbalanced or underdeveloped compared to your front and middle delts? See our tips below on how to build bigger rear delts. Follow these tips and exercises to develop your rear delts and make them more noticeable! 

    If you want bigger rear delts, you must train them at least twice a week. You should do certain exercises to target your rear delts. You need to prioritize your rear delts on shoulder day if you want to develop this area. In other words, train your rear delts before your middle and front delts. 

    If you’re unsure where to start, read further for advice on building bigger rear delts. You can do it with just dumbbells, so don’t worry if you can’t go to the gym.

    Always warm up before a workout and do some upper body mobility exercises. This will ensure that you don’t get injured. 

    If you are in a hurry to see the best products to help with your shoulder rear delt workouts, check out the products below.

     

    How to Build Bigger Rear Delts With These Tips 

    How to Build Bigger Rear Delts Exercises

    The posterior deltoids, also called the rear delts are the muscle fibers on the backside of your shoulders.

    The muscle starts in the shoulder blade and inserts into the upper arm and the side and front delt muscles. 

    This muscle alleviates forward hunching and pulls your shoulder back.

    It’s important to train your rear delts regularly to maintain good posture and increase strength, especially if they are underdeveloped.

    Here are a few tips for building bigger rear delts:

      1. Train rear delts two times throughout your training split. Just make sure you get enough rest days. Also, frequently, change the exercises you do for the rear delts instead of repeating the same ones. 
      2. Train rear delts first on shoulder day before you focus on the other beads. Because your energy levels are high, your rear delts will improve faster. 
      3. Choose a solid muscle mass builder like a dumbbell rear delt fly. Since this is a single joint exercise, never go too heavy. Focus on quality reps and not picking up the heaviest weights. 
      4. Do another rear delt exercise later in your workout.
      5. Mix it up by incorporating drop sets and supersets in your routines. 
      6. Prevent injury. People usually injure their muscles when overusing them. Your deltoid can also be injured if you lift too heavy too suddenly. However, you can prevent injuries. You can do this by:
        • Warming up and cooling down. 
        • Take rest days to help your muscles recover. 
        • Getting a sports massage if the muscle is tense. 

    To build bigger rear delts, you must incorporate progressive overload into your training program.

    You won’t see gains if you stick to the same weight and same reps.

    Thus, if you don’t progressively overload your muscle, it won’t make any further adaptations, and you will hit a plateau. 

    Progressive overload means you continuously make your muscles work harder than they are used to, to increase strength and endurance.

    You can increase the overload by:

      • Increasing the resistance. 
      • Increasing the reps. 
      • Increasing the volume. 
      • Increasing training frequency. 
      • Decreasing the rest time between sets. 

    Stick to a method that will work best for you, but choose one in line with your fitness goals.

    For example, a bodybuilder will increase total volume to gain strength and power.

    Athletes wanting to improve their endurance or cardiovascular fitness will decrease the rest time between sets and increase repetitions.  

     

    The Best Exercises for Faster Gains

    Best Shoulder Exercises for Faster Gains

    According to kinesiologist Jeremy Ethier, rear delts become underdeveloped because we do a lot of pressing work that develops the front delts, but not as much on the back of the shoulder.

    These eight movements are some of the most effective for your rear delts. 

     

    1. Single-Arm Bent-Over Row

    The bent-over row works your whole upper back and is one of the most basic compound exercises to train your back.

    Using one arm at a will allow you to focus on the lats, traps, rear delts, and other back muscles targeted by this exercise.

    Using a single dumbbell also allows for a greater range of motion. 

    Find a bench or study platform. Put a dumbbell on the floor and place your right leg on the bench and your right hand.

    Bending over, so your upper body is parallel to the ground, pick up the dumbbell.

    Lift the dumbbell to chest level using your back muscles while keeping your chest still.

    Lower your dumbbell until your arm is extended. Repeat. 

    See some great workout benches below.

    Preview
    Best Buy
    FLYBIRD Weight Bench, Adjustable Strength Training Bench for Full Body Workout with Fast Folding-New Version
    Best Alternative
    YOUTEN 1000 LB Weight Bench Heavy Capacity | 9-4-4 Almost 90° Adjustable Incline Decline Exercise Bench Press for Home Gym More Stable and Durable | Foldable Training Lifting Bench | Dragon Flag Handle for Abdominal Arm Workout
    Best Budget
    HITOSPORT Adjustable Weight Bench for Full Body Exercise, Foldable Strength Training Bench Press with Resistance Bands for Home Gym & Body Workout
    Product Name
    FLYBIRD Bench
    YOUTEN Bench
    HITOSPORT Bench
    No Assembly Needed
    Adjustable
    Foam Padding
    Foldable
    Weight Capacity
    700 Pounds
    1000 Pounds
    550 Pounds
    Best Buy
    Preview
    FLYBIRD Weight Bench, Adjustable Strength Training Bench for Full Body Workout with Fast Folding-New Version
    Product Name
    FLYBIRD Bench
    No Assembly Needed
    Adjustable
    Foam Padding
    Foldable
    Weight Capacity
    700 Pounds
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    YOUTEN 1000 LB Weight Bench Heavy Capacity | 9-4-4 Almost 90° Adjustable Incline Decline Exercise Bench Press for Home Gym More Stable and Durable | Foldable Training Lifting Bench | Dragon Flag Handle for Abdominal Arm Workout
    Product Name
    YOUTEN Bench
    No Assembly Needed
    Adjustable
    Foam Padding
    Foldable
    Weight Capacity
    1000 Pounds
    Interested?
    Best Budget
    Preview
    HITOSPORT Adjustable Weight Bench for Full Body Exercise, Foldable Strength Training Bench Press with Resistance Bands for Home Gym & Body Workout
    Product Name
    HITOSPORT Bench
    No Assembly Needed
    Adjustable
    Foam Padding
    Foldable
    Weight Capacity
    550 Pounds
    Interested?
    .

     

    2. Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

    The dumbbell rear delt fly is a compound exercise that targets your rear delts, traps, and rhomboids.

    Besides building strength and endurance, this exercise also improves your posture. 

    Your feet should be hip-width apart, and you should hold a dumbbell in each hand.

    Hinge forward at the hips while pushing them back a bit. Your palms should face inward, and your elbows should be slightly bent. 

    Lift the dumbbells to your sides so they’re in line with your shoulders, maintaining the space between your shoulders and ears.

    Then, slowly lower your dumbbells down with control. Repeat. 

    Avoid this movement if you experience low back pain or a shoulder impingement.

    Also, remember never to curve your spine while performing this exercise; your back needs to remain neutral. 

    See our top three recommended adjustable dumbells below.

    Preview
    Best Quality
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Best Plates
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Best Connector Options
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Up to 25 pounds
    Up to 50 pounds
    Best Quality
    Preview
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Plates
    Preview
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Product Name
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 25 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Connector Options
    Preview
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 50 pounds
    Interested?

     

    3. Cable Machine Face Pull

    This exercise targets your deltoids. You will use a cable pulley machine for this one.

    But, first, set up the machine slightly above your head. 

    Grab the rope with your hands. Your palms should be facing in.

    Take a step back, so your arms are straight, and pull the rope towards your face with your elbows flaring out to the sides.

    Remember to contract the shoulder blades. Reverse the movement in a controlled manner and repeat. 

    See more cable exercises in 10 Effective Cable Shoulder Workouts for Bigger Delts.

    Check out our top three recommended cable machines to buy below.

    Preview
    Overall Best
    XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19 Adjustments, and Accessory Package XM-7626
    Best Alternative
    Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb. Weight Stacks
    Best Budget
    Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station with LAT Pull, Row Bar, and Multi-Grip Pull-Up Station
    Product Name
    XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine
    Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Cable Machine
    Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station
    Weight
    Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks
    Two 160 lb. weight stacks
    Max weight of 250 Pounds
    Adjustments
    19 Settings
    20 Settings
    17 Settings
    Dimensions
    86.2 x 36.2 x 8.9 inches
    ‎42.3 x 62.6 x 83 inches
    ‎80 x 7 x 7 inches
    Accessories
    Hand straps, long strap handles, triceps rope, short bar, long bar, leg extension leg curl strap, and ankle strap.
    Chinning bar and two weight stacks.
    Not Stated
    Overall Best
    Preview
    XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19 Adjustments, and Accessory Package XM-7626
    Product Name
    XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine
    Weight
    Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks
    Adjustments
    19 Settings
    Dimensions
    86.2 x 36.2 x 8.9 inches
    Accessories
    Hand straps, long strap handles, triceps rope, short bar, long bar, leg extension leg curl strap, and ankle strap.
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb. Weight Stacks
    Product Name
    Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Cable Machine
    Weight
    Two 160 lb. weight stacks
    Adjustments
    20 Settings
    Dimensions
    ‎42.3 x 62.6 x 83 inches
    Accessories
    Chinning bar and two weight stacks.
    Interested?
    Best Budget
    Preview
    Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station with LAT Pull, Row Bar, and Multi-Grip Pull-Up Station
    Product Name
    Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station
    Weight
    Max weight of 250 Pounds
    Adjustments
    17 Settings
    Dimensions
    ‎80 x 7 x 7 inches
    Accessories
    Not Stated
    Interested?

     

    4. Rear Deltoid Machine

    The rear delt machine builds strength in your rear delts. There are so many benefits to this machine.

    Aside from building strength, it reduces the risk of injury and improves your posture. 

    Start by facing the pad and planting your feet firmly on the ground.

    Next, press your chest against the chest pad with your back straight. 

    Grabbing the handles with your palms facing down and arms slightly bent, contract your rear delts to move the handles back until level with your shoulders.

    Remember to squeeze your rear delts and then slowly return to starting position. 

    See our post on How to Properly Use the Rear Delt Machine for more tips.

     

    5. Assisted Pull-Up

    Assisted Pull-Up Shoulder Workout

    Go to the pull-up machine and then grab the bars. Your palms should face away from you.

    Then, put both knees on the pad and hang with your arms straight. 

    As you exhale, pull your body up until your head is level with the bar. Return to starting position.

    This move works your whole upper body. You can also do a regular pull-up if you can. 

    View our top three recommended pull-up machines below.

    Preview
    Overall Best
    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower Workout Dip Station for Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Best Alternative
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Best Budget
    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station Multi-Function Workout Equipment for Home Gym Training Fitness Exercise 8 Levels Adjustable Height
    Product Name
    Relife Rebuild Your Life Workout Dip Station
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station
    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station
    Multi-function
    Ergonomic Design
    Height Adjustment
    9 Levels
    6 Levels
    8 Levels
    Backrest Adjustment
    4 Positions
    7 Positions
    4 Positions
    Construction
    Sturdy Construction
    Heavy-duty Construction
    Sturdy Construction
    Overall Best
    Preview
    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower Workout Dip Station for Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Product Name
    Relife Rebuild Your Life Workout Dip Station
    Multi-function
    Ergonomic Design
    Height Adjustment
    9 Levels
    Backrest Adjustment
    4 Positions
    Construction
    Sturdy Construction
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Strength Training Fitness Equipment Newer Version
    Product Name
    Sportsroyals Power Tower Pull Up Dip Station
    Multi-function
    Ergonomic Design
    Height Adjustment
    6 Levels
    Backrest Adjustment
    7 Positions
    Construction
    Heavy-duty Construction
    Interested?
    Best Budget
    Preview
    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station Multi-Function Workout Equipment for Home Gym Training Fitness Exercise 8 Levels Adjustable Height
    Product Name
    MAGIC FIT Power Tower Dip/Pull Up Station
    Multi-function
    Ergonomic Design
    Height Adjustment
    8 Levels
    Backrest Adjustment
    4 Positions
    Construction
    Sturdy Construction
    Interested?

     

    6. Side-Lying External Rotation

    Begin lying on your side with a dumbbell in your hand.

    Bend your elbow at 90 degrees and slowly twist your arm to raise your hand to the sky while keeping your elbow still.

    This move is great for mobility and strengthening your rotator cuff.

     

    7. Incline Dumbbell Y-Raises

    Hold a pair of dumbbells and lay down on an inclined bench. Your arms should hang down with your palms facing each other.

    Then, raise your arms at a 30-degree angle to form a Y, hold, and slowly lower down.

    This move increases the upper body’s range of motion, mobility, and strength.

     

    8. Incline Rear Delt Dumbbell Rows 

    Lie on an inclined bench with the dumbbells in front of you.

    Proceed to grab the dumbbells and squeeze your shoulder blades and abs. Then, drive up with your upper arms and elbows.

    Squeeze and pause at the top. Slowly lower down. 

    Also, see these posts for other delt workouts. 

     

    Rear Delt Home Workout

    Rear Delt Home Workout

    If you can’t get to the gym, here are some exercises you can do as an alternative. 

     

    Rear Delt Row 

    You can perform this movement with just your body weight and bedsheets.

    Anchor the bedsheet to the door and wrap the ends around your hands.

    Taking a few steps away from the door, lean back with your body.

    With your palms facing down, perform a row by pulling your elbows back to raise your body. 

    Then, lower the dumbbell until your arms are straight, and repeat.

    Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

    Watch the video below to see how to perform this movement at the 4:02 mark properly

     

    Band Pull-Aparts

    Hold the band in your hands with your palms facing upwards and arms raised at shoulder level.

    Keeping your arms straight and extended, pull the band in opposite directions until your arms are at your sides.

    Slowly return to starting position. Do three sets of 20 reps.

     

    Straight Arm Kickback

    You can do this with a resistance band or dumbbell. Again, remember to focus on squeezing your muscles.

    Instead of bending your elbow to perform a tricep kickback like you normally would, keep that position as you bring your arm upward parallel to the floor to work your rear delts.

    Do two sets of 10 reps.

    Here are some of our favorite resistance bands below. Also, check out our post on Shoulder Resistance Bands Exercises For Building Big Shoulders.

    Preview
    Best Quality
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
    Best Variations
    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
    Best Price
    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
    Product Name
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop
    RENRANRING Bands
    Hoocan Resistance Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Five levels
    Three Levels
    Three Levels
    Quality
    Superior Quality
    Good Quality Exercise Bands
    Premium Quality
    Extras
    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
    One Carry Bag + One Workout Guide.
    None
    Best Quality
    Preview
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
    Product Name
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Five levels
    Quality
    Superior Quality
    Extras
    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
    Interested
    Best Variations
    Preview
    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
    Product Name
    RENRANRING Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Three Levels
    Quality
    Good Quality Exercise Bands
    Extras
    One Carry Bag + One Workout Guide.
    Interested
    Best Price
    Preview
    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
    Product Name
    Hoocan Resistance Bands
    Use for Exercise
    Use for Physical Therapy
    Resistance Level
    Three Levels
    Quality
    Premium Quality
    Extras
    None
    Interested

     

    What to Do When Your Shoulder is Injured?

    What to Do When Your Shoulder is Injured

    When your deltoid is injured, you might feel pain in your shoulder’s front, back, or side.

    You might experience some swelling and pain when lifting your arm.

    If this persists, you might have strained or torn your muscle. In this case, you must avoid picking weights and doing the abovementioned exercises. 

    You can do light stretches and exercises to warm up the deltoid and keep it mobile. Gently stretching your shoulder can help reduce pain.

    Some stretches include:

      • Bent Over Fold. Let the affected arm dangle for three to five minutes while swinging it gently back and forth. This move will loosen your shoulder and relieve pain. 
      • Shoulder Stretch. Gently lift your arm and pull it across your chest. You should only feel slight tension. Hold this position for 30 seconds. 
      • Straight Arm Swing. Lie down and lift your arm to the ceiling. Swing your arm backward slightly until you feel a stretch, then forward towards your knee. 
      • Chest and Shoulder Opener. Clasp both hands behind your back with your arms straight, and lift your hands towards the ceiling. If this is too difficult, hold a band or belt instead. 

    See stretches for shoulders in our post 6 Shoulder Mobility Exercises and Stretches. Also, see some images of these stretches here.

    Usually, over-the-counter medication and gentle stretching can relieve the pain if it’s not that painful.

    However, you must see a doctor or physical therapist if the pain continues to prevent the injury from becoming a serious issue.

    Do check out our posts on 10 Effective Stretches and Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain for more tips.

     

    Conclusion

    Rear delt shoulder workout tips

    I hope you have learned how to build bigger rear delts.

    Most of us neglect our rear delts, causing them to be underdeveloped. Focusing on your rear delts is vital for shoulder growth and mobility. Training your rear delts will also reduce the risk of injury. 

    Try to train this muscle two times during your training split to address any imbalances or underdevelopment.

    These exercises will also help you build bigger rear delts. 

    Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    nv-author-image

    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    I accept the Privacy Policy