June 9, 2023
The dumbbell rear delt row can be an excellent exercise, but it can also cause some problems if you don’t do it correctly. Here are 5 tips for the perfect dumbbell rear delt row, so you can avoid injury and reap all the benefits of this simple yet versatile exercise
Changing your grip during a rear delt row targets different areas of your back, making it more effective. By using an underhand grip, you hit more of your middle and lower traps, which are located closer to your shoulder blade. An overhand grip gives you more access to your rear delts. Experiment with both grips and see which one is right for you.
You’ll generally see two types of dumbbell rear delt row in gyms: with an overhand grip and a supinated grip (underhand). Rows done with a supinated grip (underhand) put more emphasis on your rear delts. With an overhand grip, however, you can target both your upper and lower back. This variation is better for adding thickness to your upper back, while sets done with a neutral or underhand grip are better at producing width. Overall, by mixing it up between both grips, you'll hit every muscle in your lats—including traps—as well as all your rear delts! Just be sure to keep that shoulder tucked down! You don't want to bring any unnecessary stress onto those rotator cuffs.
When performing a dumbbell rear delt row, you want to find a seated position with your torso as upright as possible. Avoid sitting back on your heels (for instance) because doing so can put too much stress on your lower back and won’t target your delts as effectively. When you’re setting up, make sure that if you could draw a straight line from shoulder to shoulder, it would run perpendicular to gravity. In other words, don’t lean forward or backward.
One of the most common mistakes people make during a dumbbell rear delt row is letting their elbows pull in. Keeping your elbows pinned against your sides helps keep proper form and it allows you to lift more weight, which in turn increases strength. You don’t want to let your elbows swing forward like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone—just a little. Think of them as tiny hinges that aren’t allowed to bend too far beyond 90 degrees. And remember, even if you don’t use weights, keeping your arms close to your body can help protect against injury from falls or blunt force trauma. So start thinking about what you really need from your exercise routine and be sure not to neglect safety as part of it.
While it’s tempting to perform a dumbbell rear delt row exercise at a full 90-degree angle, you’ll lose some of your potential for targeting the rear delts. When pulling weight up and toward your body, try to keep your arms at or above 90 degrees in order to maximize muscle fiber recruitment. If you have trouble maintaining that position, consider using dumbbells with a handle that allows for easier grip. This way, you won’t have to fight for as strong of a grip on each rep.