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Rear Delt Exercises

What are Rear Delt Exercises

How to do rear delt flyes

See all rear delt exercises

The rear delts, or posterior deltoids, are the muscles which sit on the back of your shoulders. The rear delts help to stabilise the shoulders, and work alongside the muscles in your back to prevent your shoulders from hunching forward. They also play a key part in pulling movements. 

People with desk jobs or sedentary lifestyles tend to have poor posture, which leads to lead to muscles in the posterior chain like the rear delts becoming weaker than anterior muscles. This further worsens the posture and can cause long term issues, including back pain. 

Training the rear delts, along with your back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, helps to combat these muscle imbalances and correct your posture.

Check out our other arm and shoulder exercises: Bicep curls, Forearm and grip exercises, Front raises, Lateral raisesShoulder presses, Tricep extensions, Upright rows


Commonly asked questions on Rear Delt Exercises

  • There is no need to train rear delts everyday. In fact, you should be training hard enough that you need at least a day's rest inbetween working the same muscle group twice!

    If you want to build your rear delts, train them 2-3 a week, making sure to progressively overload the muscle by increasing the reps or weights. 

  • While push ups do work some muscles in the shoulder, they do not work the rear delts. The exercises below all target the rear delts. If you're looking for compound exercises that work the rear delts, pulling exercises like rows and pullups are good options.

  • Poor posture, particularly hunched shoulders, is caused by an imbalance between the chest and back/ shoulders. Strengthening the back and shoulders through exercises like face pulls can address this imbalance and improve posture.

  • Facepulls are good for strengthening the shoulders and upper back, including rear delts, trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuffs. If your goal is to strengthen your rotator cuffs, you'll also want to include mobility work and exercises that take the rotator cuffs through their full range of motion. 

Rear Delt Exercise tips

  • For stronger, bigger rear delts, do both compound exercises that work the rear delts (like lat pulldowns, rows, pullups) and rear delt isolation exercises like the ones below.
  • Focus on improving your mind-muscle connection and performing exercises in a slow, controlled movement to ensure your rear delts are doing the hard work for these exercises, rather than the muscles in your back. 
  • If you're sat down for long periods and suffer with bad posture, work on stretching out tight shoulder and upper back muscles.

Rear Delt Exercises

Rear delt flyes

Rear delt flyes use dumbbells to challenge the rear delts, and can be performed seated or standing. 

 Rear Delt Flyes
Cable rear delt flyes

The use of a cable machine means cable rear delt flyes place constant tension on the rear delts.

 Cable Rear Delt Flyes
Face pulls

Face pulls are an excellent bilateral exercise that works the rear delts and upper back.

 Face Pulls
Y raises

Incline Y raises use a bench to support the chest, helping to isolate the rear delts. 

 Y Raises


If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.