Incline Rear Deltoid Raise Exercise Guide
The incline rear deltoid raise is an effective way to target your posterior deltoid. The incline position of this exercise isolates the deltoid (shoulder) muscles, which makes the movement more rigorous. Because it’s done on a bench, the lower back is supported, reducing the risk of injury. In this exercise, your posterior deltoid is responsible for extending your shoulder to the rear and rotating your shoulder outward. The incline rear deltoid raise also works your middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles which are located between your shoulder blades and are also very important for posture and shoulder health. The position will eliminate any opportunity to cheat by rocking your body and any uncomfortable (and even dangerous) strain on the lower back.
Exercise Instructions – Proper Technique
INITIAL (STARTING) POSITION: Sit facing an incline bench (slightly angled to around 15- 30 degrees), with your stomach and chest leaning against the incline. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang loosely down with your palms oriented toward each another (neutral grip). Your legs should be shoulder width apart, your feet on the floor, and your chin just above the top of the bench.
EXECUTION (ACTION): Keeping your elbows relaxed, raise the dumbbells away from your sides and upward in a wide arc until they are slightly higher that the shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together for one full second before slowly lowering the dumbbells to the starting position.
Incline Rear Deltoid Raise Key Points & Tips
- Start with your chest resting high on the bench. As you can see from the image above, you are not sitting on the bench.
- Stay on your toes. This allows a high position on the bench.
- Your chin just above the top of the bench.
- Keep your chest on the bench when raising the dumbbells. If you need to lift your chest completely off the bench, then the weight is too heavy.
- Hold and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top before lowering the dumbbells.
- Hook tubing under the bench and hold one end in each hand, with your arms dangling below the bench.
- Change the incline of the bench to target different areas of the deltoid.
- Raise the arms in an alternating fashion (raise one arm and hold at the top position, then raise the other arm and hold while lowering the first one).
- Use cables instead of dumbbells.
- Alternate between a neutral (palms facing each other) and a pronated grip (palms facing the floor).
Muscles Engaged in Incline Rear Deltoid Fly
- Main muscles: deltoid (rear), trapezius
- Secondary muscles: deltoid (middle), latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres major and minor, triceps, infraspinatus, muscles of the lower back and along the spine
- Antagonists: deltoid (front), pectoralis major, biceps
- Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise
- Machine rear deltoid fly
- Reverse cable crossover
- Bent-over cable lateral raise (bilateral)
- Head-supported dumbbell lateral raise
- One-arm bent-over cable lateral raise, etc.
You can find all of these replacement exercises and plenty more in our big bodybuilding exercise database.
Incline rear deltoid raise is an excellent variant of the main exercise. This incline lying position will eliminate any opportunity to cheat by rocking your body and any uncomfortable (and even dangerous) strain on the lower back. Although this is a good rear deltoid exercise, we strongly advise you to perform lying rear deltoid raise (using the flat exercise bench). Why? Lying at 45-degree is not sufficient angle to optimally target rear deltoids. Your torso should be completely parallel to the ground for the best possible results.