Whether you’re new to strength training or a veteran at it, you might have already known about the many different exercises and moves that target specific parts of the body. To get gain muscle evenly and throughout your body, you have to perform moves that target major parts of your body, such as your back, chest, arms, legs, and more.
One particular exercise is the rear deltoid row, which works on different areas of the upper body. It may have you wondering if the rear deltoid row is a back exercise or if it focuses on strengthening your shoulders or arms. Read on to find out!
What is Rear Deltoid Row?
Before learning about the rear deltoid row, what is a rear deltoid in the first place?
The rear deltoids are located behind the shoulders, not your shoulder blade. Known as posterior deltoids, they are one of three muscle locations in our deltoid muscle.
When performing the rear deltoid exercise, they are usually done when you’re in a bent-over position. This position can help target the rear deltoids.
Besides rear deltoid rows, there are other exercises you can do that targets them, including:
- Bent-Over Cross Cable Laterals
- Bent-Over Lateral Raises
- External Arm Rotations
- Lying Side Laterals
- Rear Deltoid Laterals
- Rear Military Press
As for the rear deltoid press, this is a compound exercise targeting the rear deltoids, a free weights exercise that would target your upper body, especially your deltoids. The only equipment you’ll need when doing this is a barbell or dumbbell, and you can perform various rear delt row variations, with or without equipment!
It’s fairly easy to follow and shows great benefits, provided that it’s done properly.
The Rear Deltoid Row is a Back Exercise? Yes or No?
Because this part of the body is located by your arm and shoulder area, does that mean the rear deltoid row is a back exercise or not?
The short answer is yes, the rear deltoid is considered a back exercise, too. However, it doesn’t only work on your back, but other parts of the upper body, too! Its main focus is not the back, but your arms and shoulders, though it can still strengthen your upper back as well.
That’s why it’s best described as a back and shoulder exercise, and not used to isolate the back when exercising. Furthermore, the exercise would also work other shoulder-area muscles, biceps, various back muscles, and even engage the hamstrings, hip adductors, and the gluteus maximus to stabilize your body. When using dumbbell rows, it uses your triceps to stabilize.
This exercise is best used when you build your chest and front shoulder muscles, as this can prevent muscle imbalances.
But why exactly should you be performing the rear deltoid row, among other exercises that focus on the rear deltoid? Here are a few reasons why:
#1. Improves Your Posture and Shoulder Health
When you perform a lot of pressuring exercises, along with sitting in a hunched position, it can ruin your posture and cause pain and discomfort. It will pull the shoulders out of their ideal position, increasing the risk of injury. By strengthening the rear delts, it can improve your posture by pulling the shoulders back as you exercise.
#2. Build a Bigger Bench Press
Strong rear delts can lead to an even bigger bench press, as the shoulders can handle heavier loads when you strengthen them using isolation exercises. The rear delts are actually an overlooked part of the body when doing bench press, and it’s crucial for those rear stabilizers to be stronger so you can decelerate the bar when bringing it down to the chest.
With better control as you decelerate the bar, it can help you accelerate the bar off the chest quicker, having you lift more weight.
#3. Improve the Shoulders
Bodybuilders want bigger shoulders to show for their strength, and with strengthened rear delts, this will round your shoulders and create a boulder-shoulder look many people aim for. So besides improving your athletic performance and overall health, it also helps improve your aesthetics as well, building more strength and confidence.
How to Do the Rear Deltoid Row Back Exercise
Now that you know about the rear delt row exercise, how can you perform it? There are two ways to do it, I’ll be showing you the steps to follow for both methods:
Barbell Rear Delt Row
When you’re using a barbell, follow these steps:
- Grasp the barbell using an overhand grip, spreading the hands a bit more than shoulder-width apart.
- Stand up straight and flex the knees a bit, bending forward from the hips. Your torso should be parallel with the ground.
- Extend the arms straight down, bending your elbows slightly so it points away from the sides. This is your starting position.
- Exhale when tightening the rear delts, then lift the barbell, going for the upper chest.
- Once it reaches the upper chest, pause for a second, and inhale, lowering the bar slowly and with control. Go back to the starting position and repeat this for up to 6 reps.
Dumbbell Rear Delt Row
For those who are using dumbbells, it’s a bit similar, but you will be using one hand instead. Follow these steps:
- Stand up straight, holding the dumbbell out in front of you using your left or right hand, whichever you prefer goes first. Your palm should be facing your body.
- Set your opposite knee and shin on your exercise bench and flex the knee of where you hold the dumbbell slightly, bending forward from the waist. Your torso should be horizontal. Grasp the end of your exercise bench with your free hand.
- Extend your working hand straight down. This will be your starting position.
- Exhale when lifting the dumbbell up towards the shoulder. Hold this pose for a second.
- Inhale when you return to the starting position, making sure your body is slow and in control. Perform this exercise for another 6 reps or so, depending on your training program and fitness goals.
If you want to learn more about doing the rear delt back exercise, then you can check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
When you want to work on your upper body, then you should do the rear deltoid row. While it isn’t an isolation exercise for your back, it can put enough work on your back and shoulders to gain muscle around it. As long as it’s properly performed, you can enjoy the benefits and gains!
I hope that this article answered your question and helped you learn if the rear deltoid row is a back exercise or not. Now that you know the answer, continue planning out your workouts and strength training program to gain muscle in parts of your body successfully.
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Do you have questions or would like to share tips and experiences on performing the rear deltoid row exercise, comment down below. I appreciate and would love to read through your insights.