6 Best Rear Delt Exercises for Men

Rear delt exercises are important for overall shoulder development. (Photo via Pexels/ Alesia Kozik)
Rear delt exercises are important for overall shoulder development. (Photo via Pexels/ Alesia Kozik)

Rear delt (deltoid) exercises are important for building strong and toned shoulders with massive definition. Rear deltoid training improves your posture by offering extra support to your back muscles while also helping with core stability.

Many gym-goers assume that their rear deltoid muscles get plenty of training during shoulder and back days. While back and shoulder exercises hit these muscles, they're not as effective, as they largely target the lateral and anterior shoulder heads.

Various studies suggest that rear delt specific exercises are more beneficial and productive than compound exercises, like push-ups and shoulder presses. By incorporating rear deltoid exercises into your workout routine, you can add more muscle and develop complete shoulders.

Rear Delt Workouts for Men

To boost shoulder strength, reduce chances of shoulder pain or injuries and improve overall posture, here are six rear delt exercises men should try:

1) Standing Bent-over Lateral Raise

Standing bent-over lateral raise is an effective rear deltoid exercise that also works your middle trapezius, rhomboids and middle delts. If you're a beginner, remember to start with a lighter weight to avoid injury.

To do it:

  • Hold dumbbells in each hand, with your palms facing one another.
  • Stand tall with your feet at shoulder distance, and slightly bend your knees.
  • Hinge forward at your hips while keeping your spine straight, and lift your arms up and out till they get parallel to the floor.
  • At the top movement, squeeze your shoulders, and lower the weights to the initial position.
  • Repeat.

2) Single-arm Bent Over Row

This exercise targets your rear deltoids, transverse abdominals and biceps.

To do it:

  • Stand in front of a bench, and keep your right knee and right hand on the bench with your elbow straight.
  • Extend your left leg behind you with your spine neutral and back flat.
  • Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, and allow your arm to reach down towards the floor.
  • Bend your left elbow, and pull it up and back so that your upper arm gets in line with your lower chest.
  • Squeeze your shoulders together at the top of the movement, and lower the dumbbell with control.
  • Repeat, and switch sides.

3) 45-degree Dumbbell Incline Row

This exercise allows you to use more weight, which is beneficial for overloading your rear delt.

To do it:

  • Set the bench to a 45-degree angle, and lie down on your stomach, with the balls of your feet on the ground.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and allow your arms to hang down. Make sure to grab the dumbbell with a neutral grip, and keep your back absolutely straight.
  • Move your elbows up as you would do a row, and engage your rear deltoid muscles.
  • Drop your arms back down slowly, and repeat.

4) Cable Rope Face Pull

Face pulls are a great exercise for working your upper posterior chain, rhomboids, traps and rear deltoid muscles. They're an excellent accessory workout to help improve your performance in lifts.

To do it:

  • Set the rope on the cable pulley machine to your chest level, and stand straight with one foot in front of you.
  • Hold both the sides of the rope handles so that your knuckles are facing up, and lower your elbows so that they're half parallel to your torso and floor.
  • Start to pull the rope slowly towards your face, and squeeze your rear deltoid muscles as you pull.
  • Complete a few reps.

5) Standing Cable Reverse Fly

The standing cable reverse fly - a variation of the traditional reverse fly exercise - helps strengthen your rear deltoid muscles.

To do it:

  • Attach a grip to both cable pulleys at your shoulder level.
  • Hold the right handle with your left hand and the left handle with your right.
  • Place one foot in front of the other and with your elbows bent, pull the edges of the cables away from each other till they cross.
  • Make sure to keep your arms at shoulder level throughout the exercise.
  • Slowly bring both the cables back to the starting position till they meet in the center.

6) Side-lying External Rotation

The side-lying external rotation mainly focuses on the external movement of the rear deltoid and also targets some of the major muscles of your rotator cuff.

To do it:

  • Lie straight on your side, and hold a dumbbell.
  • Position your upper arm on your side, and keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Rotate your arm on your upper body as far as you can, but do not allow your upper arm to drift off your body.
  • Pause, and lower your hand back to the starting position. Repeat.


Incorporate the aforementioned exercises into your regular shoulder workout day to build your shoulder muscles in a balanced way. If you're a beginner, don't forget to check with your doctor before trying these exercises, and make sure you work with a certified trainer to avoid injury.

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Edited by Bhargav
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