This is the only guide you will need to perform Bent Over Rear Delt Raise. Know the correct form, benefits, common mistakes and pro-tips of Bent Over Rear Delt Raise.

It is a great isolation exercise to train your rear deltoids present in your shoulder. This exercise will help you to achieve that well rounded cannon ball like shoulders from all sides.

You should include this exercise in your shoulder dumbbell workout schedule. You can perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise
Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise: Target  Muscles

Posterior Deltoids

Deltoids are a major muscle group located in the shoulder. The big rounded shoulders which you see on advanced lifters are actually deltoids.

Delts are made up of three heads. They are named as anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids. They assist in movement of the shoulder joint and upper arm.

The main muscle group trained in Bent Over Rear Delt Raise is the posterior deltoid. It is located at the rear side of the shoulder. They help in moving the arm outward and backward. For example, throwing a ball.


Triceps are located in the back of your arm, and forms about two-third of the arm. As the name suggests, the tricep muscle group is made up of three heads.

Primary function of the triceps is to extend our elbow joint. They also perform functions of adduction and extension of the elbow joint.

Triceps are secondary muscle groups which gets trained in this exercise. If you wish to train your triceps, see Triceps Workout at Gym.


Trapezius are a group of muscles located at your upper back.  They perform different functions like rotating shoulders downwards, upwards or pulling them together.

Note that Bent Over Rear Delt Raise is not a Traps exercise. Just like triceps, it is a secondary muscle which gets trained. This is not the dumbbell exercise if your focus is on developing massive traps.

If you wish to get great traps and other back muscles, read Dumbbell Workout for Back.

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise: Benefits

Gain Massive Deltoids

This exercise will help you in building those cannonball shoulders. It will help to develop both the size and strength of your shoulders. You must include this exercise in your shoulder dumbbell workout if you wish to develop massive rear delts.

Improves Performance during Workout

When you perform a compound exercise, your multiple muscle groups get trained. Doing this exercise will help you in better performing those exercises where rear delts are involved.

Take the example of pull ups. beginners often complain that they can’t perform even 5 pullips in a row. The biggest reason is that their delts and back muscles are yet not strong enough. So training your rear delts using this exercise will improve your pullups and other similar exercises too.

Improved and Balanced Shoulder Health

As I have discussed above, your delts are made up of three heads. Sometimes due to an unbalanced workout schedule, your one shoulder head may develop more than the other.

If you are suffering from the problem of underdeveloped rear delts, this exercise is for you. You can balance out the overall difference in the shoulder strength.

Burn Extra Calories

Perform this exercise and then you can feel the burn in your muscles. It is good exercise of you wish to burn a few extra calories.

Train Multiple Muscles at Once

Rear deltoids are the primary  muscles which get trained in this exercise. There are many secondary muscles like traps, triceps and upper back which also get trained.

Also see: Biceps Workout for Mass

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise: How to Perform

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Slightly bend your knee and then hinge forward from your hip joint.
  3. Bend forward till your torso is (almost) parallel to the ground. Your arms will be hanging below your shoulders. If you find it difficult to adjust in such a position, you may use an incline bench as shown in figure for assistance.
  4. Inhale and raise the dumbbells till they reach the level of your shoulder. Your arms should form a line at top position.
  5. Exhale while slowly returning to the initial position. Keep a slight bend in the elbow joint.
  6. Repeat the motion several times to complete the set.
Bent over rear delt raise
Bent over rear delt raise
Bent over rear delt raise
Bent over rear delt raise

Pro-Tips and Common Mistakes

  • Keep you back straight. It is fine if you cannot make your torso absolutely parallel to the ground. The key point is hinge from your hip. Bending you back(especially lower back) will create back related problems in future.
  • Remember that negative tension is really important for the gains. When you bring dumbbells down, resist gravity to bring them down slowly. You should have complete control on the motion.
  • Avoid ego lifting. If you find that your form is far from perfect, maybe it’s time to lower the weight. Performing exercise correctly is much more important than the amount of weight you use.
  • Move arms such that they are perpendicular to the torso at final position. Moving them at an angle takes away the stress from rear deltoids to your lats.
  • Keep your upper body and legs stable. Avoid the temptation to move your body to lift the weights further up. Use lighter weight if you find it difficult to perform it with heavier weight.
  • Try using a supinated grip if you feel pain in your shoulders. If the pain is acute and persistent, consult a doctor.
  • Do not lock out your elbow joint. Always keep a slight bend in your elbows.
Bent Over Rear Delt Raise
Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

Make it Challenging !

If you want to make this exercise more challenging for your rear delts you can perform the exercises given below to train your posterior delts even more.

Rear Delt Raise with Bands

Using bands will surely increase the difficulty of the exercise. When you use bands, there will be tension throughout the motion. In this way, there will be more stress on your rear delts. No doubt, they will be activated more giving massive gains.

Prone Rear Delt Raise

One of the common mistakes in Bent Over Rear Delt Raise is bouncing the body or knees to gain additional momentum. You can perform Prone Rear Delt Raise to avoid this problem. It will further isolate rear delts, and make this more difficult and better for training rear delts.

Lie on an incline bench on your stomach. Let your arms hang at your side. Lift your arms uch that they become perpendicular to the torso at the top most position. Slowly bring them down to complete the motion.

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise: Alternatives

Seated Cable Rope Face Pull

Attach a rope to the cable stand. Sit on a bench at an appropriate distance and hold the rope tightly in your hand. Pull the rope towards your forehead. Your arms and shoulders should be at same the distance for the entire motion.

Barbell Face Pull

Lie on an incline bench with your back upwards. Hold a barbell with a wide grip. Pull the barbell up towards your face such that your upper arms are nearly perpendicular to your forearm at topmost position.


The standard pull ups are a great way to train your rear deltoids. If you are a beginner, you may not be able to perform pullups at all. In such a case, you may use assisted pullups to build your rear deltoid’s strength.

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