Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise


Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise

Lying rear laterals are the same as seated bent-over lateral raises but now you are lying face down on a bench and you don’t have to worry about balance or your lower back. In other words, lying rear laterals will effectively take away stress from the lumbar region and minimize the danger of swinging with the upper body. That’s why you should definitely try this very effective bodybuilding exercise in order to target the posterior deltoids.
This great exercise works the rear deltoid head, which is a part of the shoulder that a lot of people tend to ignore when they exercise their shoulders. In this post you will learn how to perform this very important rear deltoid exercise using perfect form for best results.

Exercise Instructions

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Lie face down on a flat bench with your legs, chest and stomach on a flat bench and your head at the top. Your chin should be just above the top of the bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms oriented toward each other (neutral grip). Let your arms hang down loosely with the elbows slightly bent. This will be your starting position.

Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise

Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Raise your arms in a wide, arcing motion out to the sides until your elbows are at shoulder height and your arms are roughly parallel to the floor. Squeeze for a count before slowly returning to the start position and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

Important Note:
In this exercise you will not be able to bring your hands together in the starting position because the flat bench is simply not high enough. In other words, you will not be able to start the exercise with your arms hanging straight down from the shoulders. Your hands will touch the floor at the bottom of the movement. This is surely not disadvantage. You really don’t need to have your hands touching because the rear delts are not involved during this short horizontal range of motion. The image below illustrates the correct hand position at the bottom and at the top of the movement.

Lying rear deltoid raises

Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise Tips & Key Points

  • Focus on controlling the dumbbells on both the way up and on the way down. Keep the rep timing slow. If you go too fast, you won’t sufficiently activate the rear delts. Raise and lower the weight slowly.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the elbows. If your arms are totally straight, you won’t be able to lift nearly as much.
  • Raise both of your arms up and out to the side of your body until your elbows reach the same height as your shoulders and that your arms are around parallel to the ground.
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together as you use your rear delts and upper-back muscles to raise your arms out to the sides.
  • This is an isolation exercise so it’s important that you focus on strict technique to isolate the rear deltoids. Don’t try to lift more than you can.
  • Keep your elbows above your wrists during the motion. Lead with your elbows.


  • Swiss-Ball Prone Reverse Fly. You will lie with your chest on a ball instead of a flat bench. Execute a standard prone reverse fly, keeping your legs as straight as possible.
  • Lying rear delt cable flys

Muscles Engaged in Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise

  • 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

This is an excellent variant. The lying rear deltoid raise closely resembles the seated bent-over rear delt raise. With the basic same arm motion, you target the back of the shoulders by raising both arms in a reverse fly. This body position will eliminate any opportunity to cheat by rocking your body and any uncomfortable (and even dangerous) strain on the lower back.

With more stability and balance from the flat bench, you are now able to work your rear deltoids without relying on other muscles to support your body. That way you can much better isolate the shoulders. You want your torso to be completely parallel to the floor in order to hit your rear delts as you lift the weights out to each side. This is much better variation than incline bench rear delt raise because lying at 45° is not sufficient angle to target rear deltoids. To do so your torso should be completely parallel to the ground.

About Author

Hey! My name is Kruno, and I'm the owner and author of Bodybuilding Wizard. I started this website back in late 2014, and it has been my pet project ever since. My goal is to help you learn proper weight training and nutrition principles so that you can get strong and build the physique of your dreams!

Leave A Reply

Share via

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend