Benefits of Rear Delt Training

I have to admit- when it comes to my lifting days- I tend to want to train the big muscles and the muscles I deem important. You know…glutes, biceps, shoulders…the ones that look good on the beach and in tank tops. But in actuality, I need my lifting days as a tool to improve my CrossTraining workouts. And the little muscles play a bigger role in our olympic lifts than we realize.


So after an intense AMRAP workout today that includes pull-ups, toes to bar, barbell over head and burpees- I asked Eddie, ‘Should I do any extra lifting?’. And to my surprise- he told me to work on my rear delts. Really? Those little muscles back there?? Those forgotten muscles that I hardly ever flex when checking out my back in the mirror? Yep.

Ok so I never argue with Eddie when he tells me what to do in the gym, because he is the expert and his workouts and programming are part of the reason I am where I am today, physically. The other part, of course, is my diet. So he set me up to do rear delt cable flies and rear delt bent over rows with dumbbells.

Some advice he was giving me during my sets- which I have said to many of you during circuit workouts, ‘Work the muscle, don’t just pull the weight. Feel the muscle, MOVE the muscle.’ He pointed out that in our cross training workouts, we are moving barbells. Not so much really moving our muscles (of course they are activated to move the weight, but we aren’t focusing on their movement as much). Isolating muscles in weight training (like we do on circuit days) is a good way to not only concentrate on the movement of the muscle itself, but to build size and definition.

It also turns out that having strong rear delts plays a huge role in the health of your shoulders and upper back. If you suffer from shoulder pain as a result of poor posture, being hunched over all day, or just pronated shoulders (rounded forward), strengthening your rear delts will help pull them back into proper position and alleviate some of this pain.

Aside from the aesthetics of improving rounded shoulders, working the rear delts will also improve your bench by helping you control the bar down to your chest better and thereby giving you more power and speed to bring it back up. Rear delts help strengthen your shoulders which will also improve your bench.

If you’re only coming to the CrossTraining workouts, take at least 2 days a week to hit the gym for some regular lifting sessions. You can ask Eddie for ideas as far as what to work and how often. Or after the Zone workout, just ask us for some extra lifting homework.

You are only as strong as your weakest link. Paying attention to the little guys will go a long way in your olympic lifts and other exercises we do.