If you want to build bigger rear delts, the first thing you need to do is stop doing reverse dumbbell flies with light weights. In this video, I’m going to show you the fastest way to bigger rear delts by properly overloading the muscles with a better exercise alternative. As a matter of fact, we are going to use a traditional back exercise to get the job done most effectively.
First, you want to start by looking at the function of the rear delt. It is best activated by getting the upper arm into extension behind the body. Some take this to mean horizontal abduction (or the opposite of the horizontal adduction that happens with chest fly exercises). The issue is, if you anatomically move the arm back behind the body into horizontal extension with the elbow straight you actually limit the range of motion at the shoulder joint and therefore the activation of the rear delt.
Instead, what you want to do is realize that by bending the elbow you are going to be able to extend the arm much further back behind the torso and therefore get better recruitment of the posterior delts. What this leads us to is the fact that the seated row is a much better way to build bigger rear delts. That is, if you perform it with some slight tweaks that I’m going to discuss here.
The first thing you want to focus on is what attachment you are using to do the exercise. A lot of people will use the close handled v grip. This is a mistake when trying to build bigger rear delts, or even lats for that matter. The handle constrains your elbows to your side but more importantly limits the amount that you can get your humerus back behind your body.
The handle will make contact with your stomach much sooner than it would if you had swapped to using even a straight bar as an alternative. The short straight bar however reveals the second limitation that needs to be considered. That is, because the hands cannot be spaced far out on the bar, the elbows will be forced to stay tight to the torso into adduction.
This is one of the primary functions of the lats. If you keep the arms tight to your sides you are going to shift more of the workload to the lats rather than the posterior delts. We can fix this however by using a wide bar (like you would use on a lat pulldown) and spacing our hands far apart. The setup will demand that your elbows drift away from your sides and place more of the load on the rear delts in the process.
Throw in the fact that the heavier loads capable of being used on a seated row are much more substantial than the light dumbbells being used in a rear fly and you can see how much easier it would be to progressively overload the rear delt and cause faster growth. The rear delt is always relegated to being the weakest of the three heads and somehow only able to handle light weights. This is simply not true. Just like the front delts and middle delts, heavier weights can be used for great benefits if you know how to use them safely to target the muscle you are trying to grow.
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