I would like to share another great Exercise this week, the Rear Dumbbell Raises.
In fact, this exercise is rarely used and I had trouble finding pictures for demonstration. If you are looking for ways to improve your posture, decrease back pain and develop your Rear deltoid muscles (back of the shoulder), this exercise should be a part of your routine.
Rear Dumbbell Raises to hit your delts
This exercise works your entire Upper Back muscles and the deltoids (your muscles surrounding the shoulder-joint). In fact, it resembles the “Reverse Fly” or Bent-over Lateral Dumbbell Raise.
The difference between the two is that in this exercise, the emphasis is more heavily on External Rotation of the shoulder-joint. Thus, this is a great exercise for anyone having problems with activating the Upper Back Muscles, tight Chest Muscles and shoulders slouched forward.
Tips for Proper Form
- First of all, you will not need heavy weights with this. In fact, you should start with Bodyweight first and then try out 0.5kg -1kg Dumbbells or water bottles. This movement pattern is not used much in our everyday life, thus the muscles of the rear deltoids are often weak.
- Start the motion by hinging at the hips, like in a deadlift. It is crucial that you contract your Core, Glutes and Hamstrings at all times. Might as well work the whole body with this exercise!
- Do not look down at the floor but do not hyperextend your neck muscles either. Try to keep your neck in a neutral position, fixing a point at the wall in front of you.
- Now turn your arms so that your palms are facing the wall in front of you. This will increase activation of the Rear deltoid muscles and Latissimus dorsi (Upper Back and Armpits).
- Before raising your arms back wards, rotate your shoulder-joint outwards / externally. Then, contract the muscles on the back of your shoulders, the rear deltoid.
- Keep your arms close to your body to activate the Latissimus dorsi. Imagine you have a purse under your armpit. Push your shoulder blades down and together to activate the entire Upper Back.
- Try to raise your arms as high as you can. You should reach the level of your torso, if not higher. If you do not use a full range of motion with this exercise, you will not properly activate your Upper Back muscles.
- Keep your Core tight at all times. It is not necessary to bent over too much, just a slight hinge is enough. If you would like to increase the challenge, hinge back with your hips as far as you can.
- Once you are done with all repetitions, stop at the highest point of extension and do Pulses. This will burnout the back of the shoulders and increase the metabolic stress in the muscle.
- Use higher repetitions with this exercise. 15 to 20 repetitions is a good range.
Benefits of this exercise
With the traditional bent-over lateral dumbbell raises, I notice that my trapezius muscles (the muscles that shrug your shoulders upwards) are often activated to a high extend. This often leads to neck pain. My goal is to improve my posture and strengthen my Upper Back muscles, so this exercise isolates that region and increases muscle activation.
Rear Dumbbell Raises are also an excellent physiotherapeutic exercise for anyone with shoulder-joint issues, like inflammation or arthritis. In my opinion, this exercise should be a part of every Upper Body Training routine, either at the beginning as a Warm up, or at the end of the session as a burn-out.
The rear deltoid muscle and upper back muscles are often neglected, as people favor to work the “Mirror Muscles”, the Chest, Legs, Abdominal muscles. However, if you would like to continue your exercise regime, it is crucial to use proper form and for that your whole body needs to be strong.
Never neglect a body part. It might not be your goal to build size in your Upper Body but remember that fitness is not about aesthetics. That might be a temporary goal to motivate yourself but in the long-term, being healthy, strong and having a balanced body will benefit you in your every day life.
You will notice that you can stand up straight with great posture without even thinking about it. If you haven’t read my article on the Science of Muscle Activation, I recommend you to do that, if you have time.
With these exercises, we build a neural connection between the brain and the muscles and once the stimulation of these neural pathways increases, the brain keeps them activated constantly.
I hope you will include this exercise in your workout routine!
Have you tried this exercise before?
If you liked this post, leave me a lovely comment (that always makes my day) and share this with your friends, so they can improve their posture as well 😉
Have a wonderful day!