In order to completely develop your deltoid, giving it that capped, full, round look, you have to maximally develop each head of the deltoid. Most people already focus too much on pressing movements for the anterior head, and lateral raises for the lateral head and then completely neglect the posterior head of the delt, or leave it ’till the end of the workout.
So let me give you a quick tip before we go into the exercises. If your posterior delt is lagging, start by training it first thing in your workout, and work the head that is already well developed last. If a muscle is lagging, make it a priority.
The posterior delt starts at the back of your shoulder and then comes around and connects to the humerus bone. This muscle will help your delt look rounder when viewed from the front, and bigger and fuller when viewed from the side.
When fully developed, this head will provide superior division between the shoulder and the lateral past of the tricep.
Now onto the top 3 exercises for optimal posterior delt developement!
Posterior Delt DB Row.
Many times you’ll see people doing heavy compounds for their frontal delt and lateral delt, but then when it comes to posterior delt, they suddenly do light isolation movements. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with isolation movements, but to really bring that posterior delt out, it needs equal stimulation as the other heads.
My personal favorite is the posterior delt DB row. Take a DB in each hand and bend forward at the waist, so that your upper body is about 30-45 degree above parallel to the ground. Always keep palms facing your shoulders. Now row backwards, leading with your elbows while keeping your upper arms about 45 degrees away from your body. Don’t bring the weight up too much, because then you’ll start to recruit more upper back muscles and shift the tension away from your posterior delt.
At the bottom of the movement, don’t straighten your out your arms, but keep them slightly bent in order to keep tension on the posterior delt. Don’t use a weight that’s too heavy, as then the tension will be more on the upper back, instead of the posterior delt.
Another compound that hits the posterior head very well is the seal row, where your upper arms are perpendicular to the body during the row, while using a wide grip. This row is however second best to the posterior delt DB row, and won’t develop your posterior head as good, because it’s more focused on the back instead of isolating the posterior head.
Like I said earlier, isolation movements do have their place. You can do this movement standing, bent over or seated. At the bottom of the movement, don’t let your arms close in too much, but rather keep them slightly open – no closer than shoulder width apart. This is to keep continuous tension on the posterior head. Always maintain a neutral grip during the movement. Again, don’t go too heavy, as then your upper back will do most of the work, instead of the posterior head. At the top of the movement, you can tilt the front of the DB upwards, in order to recruit more external rotator cuff muscle.
Cable Face Pulls.
This is another great isolation movement that will keep constant tension on the posterior delt, as well as help to recruit external rotator cuff muscles during the movement. I like to do this exercise with my palms facing away from each other, or you can do it with palms facing each other (neutral grip), it doesn’t really matter, as long as you feel it maximally in your posterior delt. As you pull backwards, bring your hands to the side of your head, to about forehead high or a little higher. Then squeeze for a moment before returning to the starting position.
On these posterior delt exercises, try not to retract your shoulder blades during the movement, but take a weight that is light enough for you to keep your scapulas protracted. This will ensure maximal tension is on your posterior delts, and not the upper back.
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