I'm training the rear delts in a reverse-benchpress movement. The problem is maintaining consistent elbow positioning. It is too easy to compensate for progressive overload by tucking the elbows closer to ones torso than one should. Eventually one ends up with a weight too heavy to do the exercise correctly. Progressive overload results only in the progressive lowering of the elbow instead of strength-progression. Like Athlean-X demonstrates here:


How can I prevent this?

  • 1
    Maybe I'm missing something obvious here, but if you can't maintain form on an exercise (if your stronger muscles are taking over instead of the target ones), then you're using too much weight. Just add more sets until they get stronger.
    – Dark Hippo
    Oct 2, 2018 at 11:47

2 Answers 2


The big problem that most people have is that the rear deltoids are relatively weak, and it doesn't take a lot of weight to stress them (Especially since they are usually undertrained in comparison to the medial/front deltoids). So they use more weight than is needed, and break form to accommodate.

If you would like to train them with good form, rowing is a good exercise, as well as reverse rows. Put a bar low on a smith machine or similar, get in a bench press position underneath it, and pull yourself up to the bar rather than push it away. If you need more weight, you can lay a plate on your chest. When that gets unwieldy, you can move to free weight/dumbbell type exercises.


Yes, training the rear delts can be a pain and take awhile to develop. I've used several exercises to develop my rear delts over the years. Instead of typing it all out, follow this link on bodybuilding.com

7 Rear-Delt Raise Variations For Maximum Growth!

Remember, check your ego at the door. You're on the right track when it comes to heavy weight, you end up with synergistic domination (compensatory strength) or not using the intended prime movers.

The rear delts are small and stubborn muscle to develop. So, it's important to train with the proper weight and DON'T swing your body! Even if that means you have to lay accross your quads on a flat bench with torso parallel to the ground with 5lb weights. If that is all you can do to get them rear delts on fire, do it!

Don't pay attention to those around you and what they think, you're ego will get you in trouble or just cause you to cheat yourself.

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