Your rear deltoids might not be your favorite muscle to exercise, but they can add an extra dimension to your figure, especially when viewed from behind. In addition, as every chest and shoulder pressing exercise involves your anterior or front deltoids, it's important that you don't neglect this out-of-sight-out-of-mind muscle if you want to avoid developing rounded shoulders and a hunched posture. There are a number of machines you can use to keep your rear deltoids in tip-top shape.
Adjustable Pulley Machine
Adjustable pulley machines allow you to raise and lower the handle anchor point so you can perform a variety of exercises, including face pulls, which are an effective rear delt workout. Face pulls involve setting the pulley to shoulder-height and pulling a rope handle toward your face, usually while standing in a staggered stance for balance. As well as working your rear deltoids, this exercise works your middle trapezius and rhomboids, which are located between your shoulder blades. These muscles are at least as important as your rear shoulders for maintaining good posture.
Cable Crossover Machine
Cable crossover machines are commonly associated with chest exercises such as cable flys and standing chest presses. This versatile machine can also be used to target your rear delts when you perform cable reverse flys. This exercise involves sweeping your arms backward at shoulder-height against the resistance offered by the machine. The long levers involved in this exercise mean that even light weights can provide a challenging workout.
Seated Row Machine
When you perform seated rows with a wide grip and pull the bar to your chest as opposed to your abdomen, it changes from a latissimus dorsi exercise into a rear delt, middle trapezius and rhomboid exercise. To get the most from this exercise, keep your elbows up and level with your shoulders and concentrate on leading with your elbows and shrugging your shoulders back. Do not use a heavy weight as this will only encourage you to jerk the weight back. While jerking may allow you to lift more weight, doing so actually makes the exercise less effective.
Rear Delt Fly Machine
This machine has two vertical handles that you grab and hold at shoulder level with your arms extended. Then, keeping your chest pressed firmly against the pad, you open your arms out wide and push them back slightly behind you. This horizontal extension movement works your rear deltoids. Most rear delt fly machines also double as pec fly machines. By turning around and moving your arms forward, you can also get an effective chest workout.
While not strictly a machine, a chest expander will provide a no-frills rear deltoid workout. Hold and raise your chest expander up to shoulder-height. Keeping your arms extended but slightly bent, spread your arms and stretch the device out across your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat. A similar exercise, called the band pull-apart, can be performed using a resistance band in place of a chest expander.
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.