Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

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Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

You can target your posterior deltoids with the rear laterals, using dumbbells, cables, and machines. In this post you will learn how to perform seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise safely and effectively to achieve maximum results from this beneficial exercise.

This is the same as the basic exercise (standing bent-over dumbbell laterals), but you sit on the edge of a bench. The rear deltoid fly works the posterior deltoid and requires a little more patience. These muscles are usually a neglected area, a part of the shoulder that a lot of people tend to ignore when they exercise their shoulders. However, they give your shoulders an unbelievable 3d look from all angles. The main advantage of this position is that it provides better balance and reduces the strain on the lower back. The movement is stricter and so a little less weight is normally used. But you can also perform the exercise standing or lying (on a flat or incline bench), but in all cases ensure that you maintain good body position to avoid engaging the larger muscles of your back.

Other names for this exercise:

  • Seated dumbbell rear lateral raise
  • Seated rear deltoid fly
  • Rear delt dumbbell raise (seated)
  • Dumbbell bent laterals (seated)

How to Perform Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise?

Follow these exercise instructions thoroughly to ensure perfect technique for this tremendous rear deltoid exercise.

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Start with a set of dumbbells resting on the floor on either side of the end of a bench. Sit on the end of an exercise bench while bent forward at the waist so that your upper back is parallel with the floor and your chest meets your knees (your chest nearly resting on the thighs). Drop your arms straight down, and grab the dumbbells with your palms facing each other. This is your starting position.

seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise

Seated Rear Deltoid Fly

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Raise your arms to the sides and away from your body until they are parallel with the floor. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Hold and squeeze your shoulder blades together (pause for two counts at the top of the movement), then return the weights slowly to the floor.

Notes for Seated Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Fly

Additional helpful hints on how to master this rear delt exercise like a pro.

  • Your chest should be touching your thighs.
  • Keep your legs together, bent at the knee and forward.
  • Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other (neutral grip). Pronated grip on the dumbbells (thumbs pointing inward) improves isolation of the rear deltoid.
  • The rear delts are small muscles that do not require heavy weights to see results.
  • Try to keep the weights suspended from the floor between reps to keep the tension on the muscles the entire time.
  • Don’t swing your body, let your rear delts lift the weight. You should be in complete control of the weight at all times.
  • Keep your torso still – do not raise your body as you raise the dumbbells.
  • Lead with your elbows, not your hands.
  • Keep your elbows bent at about 10 degrees throughout to avoid straining them.
  • Do not let the dumbbells touch at any point during the exercise.
Seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise

Seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise

Exercise Variations

  • Use pronated grip instead of neutral grip.
  • Another way to perform this exercise is doing it standing by bending over to almost 90 degrees (torso parallel to the floor) while bending at the knees a bit. See standing bent-over dumbbell lateral raises for more details.

Muscles Involved

This exercise works the deltoid (shoulder) muscles. Specifically, it works posterior and middle deltoids (shoulder), the trapezius (upper back and neck), rhomboid (upper back), teres minor (outside of shoulder blade), and infraspinatus (shoulder blade) muscle.

  • 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;

Replacement Exercise

Replacement exercises using dumbbells:

Replacement exercises using cables (low/high pulleys):

Replacement exercises using machines:

Closing Thoughts

Seated bent-over dumbbell lateral raise belongs in the isolating exercise category because only the shoulder joint is mobilized.

This is essentially the same as the main exercise (standing bent-over dumbbell lateral raise), but you sit on the edge of a bench with the dumbbells below your legs, which should be kept together, bent at the knee and forward. Your chest should be touching your thighs.

We highly recommend this rear deltoid exercise over the standing variants. The main advantage of this position is that it provides better balance and reduces the strain on the lower back. Furthermore, the movement is stricter and so a little less weight is normally used.

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