If your next fitness goal is to achieve so-called “boulder shoulders,” this is an exercise that will get you there.
The Rear Delt Raise is often improperly performed, but when it’s done right it can truly increase the size and strength of your deltoids and related shoulder muscles in short order. The key is to learn perfect form.
Understanding The Rear Delt Raise
The Rear Delt Raise is a weight training exercise done with dumbbells. Also called Rear Shoulder Raise, it’s an isolation exercise for the rear deltoid muscle. It can be performed in multiple variations, but the most common is the Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Raise.
The Delt Raise In History
The Rear Delt Raise has an unclear history, with no one ever claiming to have developed it. However, it is thought to have arisen in the early twentieth century when interest in physical culture was quickly growing and men, especially, were using dumbbells increasingly to target specific muscle groups.
What Type Of Exercise Is This?
The Rear Delt Raise is what’s known as a single-joint movement for the posterior deltoids. It is similar in form to the Rear Delt Fly, which features the same type of isolation movement, but changes the angle to work the back muscles instead of the deltoids.
How To Prepare For Rear Delt Raises
You won’t need much weight training experience to try your hand at this exercise, but you should be comfortable with gripping dumbbells and lifting them safely.
Select a pair of fairly light dumbbells; you don’t need excessive weight to achieve results with this exercise.
A Step By Step Primer For The Rear Delt Raise
Focusing on your form, follow these steps:
- Sit down on the end of a weight bench with your feet and knees close together.
- Lean forward over your knees at a 45-degree angle.
- Pick up the dumbbells and position them parallel to each foot.
- Lift the dumbbells upward and outward, not backward; this is how you work the posterior deltoid muscles. Keep your spine in neutral position, with your torso immobile as you do this movement.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells, bringing them together over the top of your feet, but not touching them down to the ground.
- Repeat sets of ten repetitions.
Benefits Of The Rear Delt Raise
Whether you’re into the “boulder shoulder” look or not, Rear Delt Raises offer benefits for all strength trainers:
- Larger rear deltoid muscle
- Enhanced pushing and pulling power
- Stronger shoulder-stabilizing muscles
- Increased joint mobility in the glenohumeral joint and the scapulothoracic joint
A Multitude Of Variations
Although the Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Raise is the most commonly performed variation of the Rear Delt Raise, there are four additional modifications that are also effective in reaching your shoulder fitness goals:
- Seated reversed on a Pec Deck machine
- Standing with dumbbells
- Seated with dumbbells
- Standing single-arm
Rear Delt Raises have a bit of a cult following for those interested in deltoid hypertrophy; that is, large increases in muscle size. However, they are an effective strength training exercise for anyone working to improve strength in the posterior deltoid, too.