How To Make The Most Out Of The Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

The deltoid muscles must be engaged in different angles to actually grow in size and develop strength. Once you achieve this, your shoulders will not only look amazing, but you will also improve your posture and control while weightlifting or doing other upper body exercises.

While seated bent-over rear delt raises are known to be great for shoulder muscles, many people find the exercise daunting.

But do not worry! In the next sections, I will help you understand the idea behind the exercise better, lay down its benefits, and teach you the proper form and execution to minimize the risks. So what are you waiting for? Scroll down and let’s get started!

What Is The Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise?

Over Rear Delt Raise

The bent-over rear delt raise is an exercise where you use free weights to target the shoulder muscles. Also known as the rear lateral raise, it helps you build strength and increase the size of the muscle at the back of your shoulders called the rear deltoid.

To give you a bit of an anatomy lesson, the shoulder muscle is composed of three parts or heads: the middle, front, and rear deltoids. The front and middle delts are often the ones that receive all the attention. These are targeted by common exercises like side lateral raises and chest presses.

On the other hand, the rear head often gets neglected, which not only causes an imbalance but also limits the strength and size gain of the shoulder muscles.

Furthermore, due to the imbalance caused by the weak rear delts, your shoulders tend to hunch forward which gives you a terrible posture and not to mention also increases your risk of acquiring shoulder injury.

Thankfully, the bent-over rear delt raise allows you to all these three muscles while prioritizing the rear deltoids. It also targets the lower and upper trapezius, the upper back, and the neck muscles.

To perform the seated bent-over delt raise, you only need a flat bench and weights such as dumbbells. There are also many variations that require other equipment or even no equipment at all.

This exercise is excellent for people with intermediate exercise experience, skills, and physical fitness.

​Watch this video to know more about this position:

What Are The Benefits Of The Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise?

Rear Delt Raise

Why is the seated bent-over rear delt raise so great? Well, here are some of the reasons:

1. It Offers More Stability Than The Standing Variation

When sitting, your body’s center of gravity is positioned closer to the ground, which makes it more stable and easier to control. This way, you only have to balance your head and trunk without having to worry too much about equally distributing your weight on your feet, your knees, or hips. This is great for people with lower back problems.

2. You Can Isolate The Rear Delts Better

By sitting while you work out, you get a better focus and concentration on your shoulder muscles, primarily the rear delt. This is because you do not have to waste precious energy and effort on maintaining proper form and body alignment as you exercise.

3. It Is A Practical Exercise You Can Do Anytime, Anywhere

As I have already mentioned, you only need two things for this exercise: something sturdy and reliable to sit on and some weights. You can even use water bottles instead of dumbbells or not use any weights at all.

​4. The Exercise Allows For Many Variations

If you are concerned about keeping your workout routine interesting and not boring, you might also like the versatility of seated bent-over rear delt raises. You can incorporate it into an upper body workout routine. You can also do one arm at a time if you have asymmetrical muscles, alternate your arms, or as most people do, raise both arms at the same time.

How To Perform A Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Properly

Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Raise one hand

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the exercise, the next thing to know is how to actually perform it properly. Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1: ​Choose a stable bench or anything that is high enough just so you can place your feet comfortably and firmly on the floor. Sit on the edge of the bench with your feet and knees together and your hands on either side. You can also position your feet slightly closer than shoulder width apart.

Step ​2: ​​Slightly bend your torso forward at your hips until your chest almost touches your knees. Keep your back flat and your core engaged.

Step ​​3: ​​​Grab a pair of dumbbells, placing them under your thighs and behind your calves. Hold the dumbbells so that the palms of your hands are facing each other. Make sure your arms are hanging below the shoulders. This is the starting position.

Step ​​​4: ​​​​While maintaining a slight bend on your elbows and your gaze on the floor, exhale as raise your arms sideward and up until they are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a brief moment, about a second or so.

Step ​​​​5: ​​​​​Take a deep breath as you slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Step ​​​​​6: ​​Repeat the movement for as many reps as needed for a complete set.


Let me share you some helpful tips and reminders to make seated bent-over rear delt raises as safe, effective, and overall better.

Step 1: ​​Do not swing your torso as you do the movement and do not bring your arms too far back. This will change your form and the muscles that the exercise works on.

Step ​2: ​​​Avoid bouncing your back or butt from your seat. This will increase the risk of injuring yourself and decrease the load on your rear delts. You are more likely to bounce when using a too-heavy load so you might want to switch to lighter weights.

Step ​​3: ​​​​Opt to do this exercise in higher repetitions using lighter weights. Aside from the previous tip, a load that is too heavy will prevent you from maintaining the proper form.

Step ​​​4: ​​​​​Always keep your shoulder blades flat. Again, putting your arms too far back makes the exercise less effective since this puts the focus on the back muscles instead of the rear delts.

Step ​​​​5: ​​​​​Try tilting the dumbbells while you hold the position at the top. Just tilt your hands slightly forward so that your thumbs are lower than your pinkies as if you are pouring something. This elevates the exercise.

Step ​​​​​6: ​​​Do not allow the dumbbells to bump against each other at the bottom. This will ruin the momentum by releasing the tension from the shoulders.


There you have it! Now you know everything you need to know about the seated bent over rear delt raise.

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