rear delts (one of the three muscle heads of the
shoulder) are among the hardest muscles groups
to properly target. They are not glamorous and
they aren't a showpiece muscle so they are often
ignored or neglected. Big mistake!
rear delts play an extremely important role not
only in physique development but in strength and
stabilization of the shoulder joint, which is
CRITICAL for exercises like the bench press, as
well for maintaining proper posture throughout
the day. The rear delts help keep those shoulders
rear delts that are in balance with the rest of
the shoulder muscle heads (front and side) are
VERY important. Well-developed rear delts will
also really set you apart in terms of physique
gold standard rear delt lateral raise (and variations
of it) is commonly accepted as the best way to
isolate and develop the rear delts. But, as good
as it is, the rear delt lateral raise has several
note when I make these points, I'm not saying
the rear delt lateral raise is a bad exercise
and shouldn't be done. When properly done, it
is an excellent rear delt exercise that works
very well. However, as with any exercise, it does
have its problems.]
1. The bent-over body position (which is the typical
form for the exercise) places continuous stress
on the lower back and can lead to torso bouncing
to help get the weight moving, not to mention
blood pressure issues from exercising in that
you've got lower back pain, this eliminates the
exercise for you right away. If you don't have
lower back pain, doing the exercise with a short
bounce to get the weight started can actually
lead to lower back pain. The back is simply not
in a good position to be bouncing.
problem with the bent-over position can be removed
by laying face down on an incline or flat bench,
but this leads us to the second problem with the
2. The exercise offers very little resistance
at the start of the movement leading up to maximum
resistance at the top. While this results in a
good contraction at the top, your rear delts don't
really get that much meaningful work until you're
at or near that top point. They don't get worked
fully and therefore won't develop fully.
you use a lot of weight with this exercise to
try and get more out of it, the muscles of the
upper back will take over. If you use a very light
weight to go for feel, you may not be stimulating
the rear delts with enough resistance to actually
get results. It's a Catch-22 situation and neither
option is ideal.
3. When the rear delts get tired, the upper back
muscles take over. If you've been training regularly,
you know the most productive part of a set is
the last few reps when the muscles are really
getting pushed to their limits. This is the stimulus
that produces results. With bent-over rear laterals,
when the small rear delt muscles become fatigued,
the larger upper back muscles immediately kick
in and take over the exercise, reducing the tension
on the rear delts at the exact time when they
should be getting the most out of the exercise.
So what do "Lying Rolling Floor Laterals"
do to fix this problem?
I'm going to explain exactly how to do the exercise,
then I'll tell you exactly why it's so effective
and why it eliminates the problems found in the
standard rear delt lateral.
HOW TO DO IT:
this exercise, you will need one dumbell. Start
with a light to moderate weight (similar to what
you'd use for a rear lateral raise) until you
get the hang of the movement.
flat on your back on the floor with your legs
perfectly stiff and completely straight. The soles
of your feet should NOT be touching the floor.
Hold the dumbell directly above your chest in
your left hand (arm straight and stiff) and lay
your right arm flat on the floor directly to the
side with your palm facing up.
keeping your left arm stiff and straight, lower
the dumbell down towards your right hand, rolling
your entire body onto your right side as you do
so. To start the roll onto your side, all you
need to do is start bringing the dumbell over
and around a little. The weight of the dumbell
will start your body rolling over.
NOT LET IT DROP!
should be a very controlled movement all the way
down. If you had to, you should be able to stop
at any given point along the way. Push your entire
right arm hard against the floor to help control
the descent of the left arm.
the bottom of the movement, you should be laying
completely on your side (legs still stiff and
straight) with the dumbell laying on top of your
bottom hand as though clapping.
you're going to go the other way. Do a rear delt
lateral raise with the left hand (that's holding
the dumbell), raising your arm back to vertical.
POINT - As you do this lateral raise with
the left arm, push down hard against the floor
with your entire right arm. It should feel as
though you are trying to open both of your arms
out wide as you raise the dumbell and roll your
body towards your back. This means you'll be not
only working the rear delt of the left side with
a dumbell lateral raise, you'll be working the
rear delt of the right side while you push against
the floor and rotate your body.
push and roll makes the exercise into a bodyweight
exercise for the rear delts...exercises that move
your body through space activate more muscle fibers
than exercises that simply move the resistance.
This exercise accomplishes both types of movements
at the same time!
your left arm is vertical, you should be laying
flat on your back again. Carefully switch the
dumbell over to your right hand then lay your
left arm flat on the ground, palm facing up. As
before, lower the dumbell down and around and
roll onto your left side, pushing down against
the ground with your entire left arm, using the
left arm to control the descent.
absolutely sure to keep your legs stiff and perfectly
straight through the entire exercise. If your
knees are bent or your feet are on the floor,
you will be more likely to push against the ground
with your feet, removing tension from the arm
that's pushing against the floor. ALL the pushing
should be done at the shoulder.
repeating this maneuver for a full set of 6 to
8 reps. It will take a few sets through to get
an idea of how much weight you can use so don't
be afraid to experiment. If you use too much weight,
you won't be able to control the descent of the
dumbell and it will drop down into your other
hand. If you use too light a weight, you won't
feel the exercise as strongly, so be sure to add
weight if and when you can.
This series of pictures
will show you exactly how the movement is executed.
Note body position and dumbell position.
WHY THIS EXERCISE IS SO EFFECTIVE:
exercise is extremely effective for a number of
No lower back stress. Since you're lying flat
on your back with your legs straight, it puts
zero pressure on the lower back. There is some
cross-tension in the back due to the opposing
movements of the arms, however. The body position
of this exercise also eliminates much of the blood
pressure problem that occurs with the standard
bent-over exercise (this exercise does require
some abdominal stabilization, which will have
an effect on blood pressure - no more so than
any other exercise, however).
It's a body-moving exercise. As I explained above,
exercises that move your body through space will
activate more muscle fibers.
You get tension through a greater range of motion
of the rear delt. Rather than just getting tension
in the contracted position of the exercise, you
get it almost all the way from start to finish.
Granted, you lose tension at the top, but supersetting
or following this exercise with a variation of
the standard rear delt lateral raises will address
You get an extremely effective and controllable
negative on the rear delts. The negative or lowering
portion of the movement of a standard bent-over
lateral raise is extremely difficult to control
and properly target to the rear delts due to the
position of your body and the tendency for the
larger muscles of the upper back to take over.
This exercise eliminates that problem and forces
ALL the tension of the negative onto both rear
delts at the same time (the arm with the dumbell
fighting the lowering and the arm on the floor,
pushing against the ground). These two opposing
forces allow for an extremely intense and effective
negative (you'll feel this one for days the first
time you do it).
you've never felt your rear delts after a shoulder
workout, this exercise will help you feel EXACTLY
where those are! Regular use of this exercise
will help you develop your rear delts to their
maximum potential far more quickly and effectively
than any other single exercise you can do for
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