My forgotten body part series will cover those muscles that you don’t see flexed on Instagram or talked about on Facebook.
One of the most overlooked muscles is the posterior deltoid, the red headed step child of shoulder training.
Now any of you who have read anything that I (Ian Hales!) have whittled on about before will know is that I believe that every muscle is equal and should be trained with equal intensity. This may upset some of the “functional training” bunch but, hey, balance is the key to a long career in weight training.
The posterior deltoid is a small muscle at the rear of the shoulder being the prime mover in shoulder horizontal abduction, moving the arm away from the medial line of the chest. Now I do agree the rear delt does get some work during rowing movements but some isolation is definitely needed to make them stand out.
My go-to isolation exercise for rear delts is a single arm dumbbell raise (sat sideways on a bench), this allows for the use of a slightly heavier weight than bent over lateral raises. I do x sets of x-z reps.
Then I do 3 sets of face pulls or rear delt cable flies − 20 + reps to burn them out.
At at the ripe old age of 44 I am overly cautious with any shoulder training. As anyone doing a shoulder workout for the first time will tell you most of the motions are completely abnormal. You hardly ever raise your arm out to the side laterally or in a rear fly motion in everyday life (unless you’re an air traffic controller – you know the guy with the paddles who parks the plane).
So those smaller shoulder muscles need warming up correctly or I guarantee shoulder pain will hunt you down like a fat kid after an M&M!
I find all smaller muscle groups respond better to a slightly higher rep range 10 to 12, with having the added benefit of the lighter weight being easier on the joints (as opposed to the 6 to 8 rep range for the larger muscle groups like chest and back).
Now this is my personal experience of training myself and others. I have been lifting for over 26 years with no layoffs and it’s always better to side with caution and live to lift another day. Progress comes to a grinding halt once your injured.