4. Choose A Solid Mass-Builder With Challenging Weights

Single-joint exercises are not the best mass-builders, but you can at least use the best of the batch. The bent-over dumbbell lateral raise, which generates a bit of momentum through your lower body, is one of your best options.

You also need to pick the right rep range. Never go too heavy with single-joint exercises, as they can put undue pressure on a joint. Choosing a weight at which you fail on the lower side of the 8-10-rep range is a solid muscle-building option.

Just make sure you take each set to muscle failure—the point at which you can’t complete any more reps using good form.

5. Do A Second Rear-Delt Exercise Later In Your Workout

No limits for you to just a single isolation movement for rear delts, so hit them again in the same workout. You just don’t want to work them in the exact same manner, so choice of equipment and rep target become important.

If you did bent-over lateral raises with dumbbells first, try standing cable reverse flyes or high pulls on the cable. To work the target musculature in a slightly different manner, pick a weight that you can do for 10-12 reps instead.

Working the rear delts at more than one angle and one relative intensity will produce more growth.

The Rear-Delt Hit List

Multijoint Exercises

  • Most rowing movements.
  • Face pull (with rope).

Single-Joint Exercises

  • Reverse Pec deck machine.
  • Rear delt machine.
  • Standing cable reverse fly.
  • One-arm bent-over cable lateral raise.
  • Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise.
  • Incline bench bent-over dumbbell lateral raise.
  • Head-supported bent-over dumbbell lateral raise.
  • Seated bent-over lateral raise.

6. Incorporate New Rear-Delt Movements

If you’ve got only one or two go-to rear-delt exercises in your gym bag, it’stime for a bigger bag. Learning new movements can instill a novel stimulus and jump start growth. Rear delts can typically be isolated with machines, cables and dumbbells. Unilateral (one-arm) versions allow greater range of motion and intensity. Get creative.

Consider the various ways a bent-over lateral raise can be done:

  • With dumbbells while standing in the bent-over position.
  • Seated on a flat bench.
  • With your head pressed into a bench to reduce body English.
  • On an incline bench set to about 60 degrees.
  • One arm at a time on a cable.

Face pulls on the cable with a rope are another seldom-used rear-delt move.

Also consider making slight adjustments to your existing exercises. Changing the angle of pull on cable exercises is as easy as moving the pin, and it allows you to slightly alter the recruitment pattern among the muscle fibres.

7. Up The Intensity With Advanced Techniques

As mentioned, taking your sets to muscle failure is an important aspect of building muscle size; going 1-2 sets past failure can really set you up for growth. Here are a few advanced training techniques that work especially well with rear-delt movements:

Forced Reps: Best done with reverse flyes on the pec deck machine with your partner standing behind you, giving you just enough help when you hit the sticking point to get another few reps.
Drop-sets: Really easy to do with dumbbells, machines, or any cable exercise. Simply reduce the weight by about 25% when you reach muscle failure and immediately resume the set, working to a second point of muscle failure.
Supersets: Two rear-delt movements back-to-back with minimal rest between exercises. Rest only after you complete both movements.

8. Finish With A Bang

You always want to finish your workout, no matter the body part, feeling you gave it your all. Some of these advanced techniques might do just that, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Here’s a rear-delt finisher that’s super-intense:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit at the end of a flat bench.
  • Bend over and complete a set of seated bent-over lateral raises to failure (adjust the weight so that you reach failure at about 10 reps).
  • But instead of ending your set here, you’re going to now introduce a bit of body English to enable you to continue the set.
  • Immediately get off the bench and do the same exercise from the standing, bent-over position.
  • Because you’re able to generate a bit of momentum through your knees and hips, you can keep the set going, intensifying the burn.
  • Do as many as you can.
  • If you still want to up the ante, by all means add a drop-set to the end of that.

So go ahead: Pick and choose among these strategies to boost your rear-delt development.

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