Why are rear deltoids such a common deficiency among bodybuilders, and how can they be developed?
My most effective training principles for increasing rear-deltoid muscle mass are isolation, full range of motion and maximum weight resistance. However, the remote location of rear deltoid heads renders them a challenging exception to these principles.
Try flexing your rear delts and you’ll see what I mean. Unlike many other muscles in the body, the position of rear deltoids limits the ability to control them directly, to move them through a wide range of motion and, especially, to contract them with power and strength. About all you can do is pull backward with a flye movement, yet no matter how far you pull, their range of motion amounts to little more than a partial squeeze. What’s more, they are only being reached indirectly; rhomboids provide most of the motion and tend to take most of the stress before the rear delts are activated.
To illustrate this difficulty, compare your rear delts’ isolation, range of motion and strength with those of other muscles. Biceps, triceps and legs contract directly against the weight they are lifting and, therefore, are more thoroughly fatigued. Pectoral muscles and lats can push an enormous amount of weight through a great range of motion, which means they, too, are more directly fatigued. Even frontal and lateral deltoid heads can be more easily isolated and lift a greater amount of weight directly and through a greater range of motion by means of front or lateral dumbbell raises. They, too, can be more directly and thoroughly fatigued. So, what is the solution?
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