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Goal: Detail
Bodypart: Rear Deltoid

Sometimes in the pursuit of a bigger, better physique, we can lose sight of the totality of bodybuilding. Training programs are often directed at adding meat to the money areas like quads, chest and back but all too often, the lowly rear deltoid is lost in the pursuit of bigger "shoulders." Here's the thing people -- bold, rounded shoulder caps are only had by building up this smaller muscle group.

How is this achieved? Bent-over rear delt raises? These are great but we often fall victim to ego and end up trying to hoist too much weight around, leaving our lower backs and necks to carry the brunt of the load. Reverse cable flyes? Getting warmer but this standing position calls for a fair amount of torso stability, meaning that weight loads are often compromised. A better bet may be the reverse pec deck.

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The reverse pec deck keeps you in a stable, seated position, allowing you to move the weight loads that you need to instigate growth. And the fixed range of motion on this movement, unlike many machines, puts you in a very natural plane of movement, setting you up for success set after set. Finally, the smooth, constant tension of the pec deck makes for a comfortable, yet effective movement.

Get it right. This exercise isn't just plug-and-play, so to speak. Proper alignment is key. With your chest flush against the pad and hands on the handles, your upper arms should be parallel to the floor at shoulder level. This means that you will either need to adjust the seat to the ideal height, or stand slightly, to achieve proper stimulation of the rear delt. From this position pull back in a wide arc and hold the peak contraction for a count. Don't focus on your grip -- think about slamming your shoulder blades together in order to keep the focus on the rear delts.

Build it in. If your rear delts are lagging, then you need to bump them up in your shoulder routine. Relegating them to last, as is often the case, usually results in last-place development. After a few sets of heavy, overhead presses, get right into the reverse pec deck. Save your stronger delt heads -- the lateral and anterior heads -- for last.

Rep right. It's a myth that smaller muscle groups require lighter weight and higher reps. One or two "heavier" sets will likely provide a new stimulus, which is sure to elicit a response from your rear delts. Try three sets of 8-10 to failure, then on the third set, do an extended drop set, moving the pin down one notch at a time and repping to failure at each stop.

Exercise Sets/Reps
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 4/12,12,10,8
Reverse Pec Deck
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Front Raise
* After reaching failure on the third set, drop the weight by moving the pin one notch. Rep to failure again. Continue repping to failure at each stop through the stack.

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