Mid / Rear Deltoids.
The obvious counterpart to the front deltoids. The rear shoulder tends to be the weaker area, and strengthening it well will balance out your shoulder and help prevent injury during certain compound exercises as well as sports and life. For more movements from the Element Training program, click on the figure at left.
Exercises for Strength
Reverse Elbow Lifts
Laying on your back, lift your straight legs up to point upwards. Place your elbows at your sides and push hard back with them to lift your torso up, then let it back down. Try not to assist with your abs. To increase the intensity and focus on the rear delts, extend your arms by your sides and push up from your fingers.
Lateral Dumbbell Raises
Stand up straight with a light dumbell in each hand. With elbows slightly bent, raise your arms sideways into the crucifix position and lower them back down. You can combine this exercise with Calf Raises if you like.
Backward Dumbbell Raises
Get your torso parallel to the ground, with one knee and hand on a bench or bed and the other foot on the floor. With your spare arm, grab a light weight and slowly contract your rear shoulder to swing it back and up as far as it will comfortably go.
Clasp your hands together in front of your collarbone, with elbows, hands and shoulders level. Resist with one hand as your contract with the opposite rear shoulder and trapezius, thus bringing the elbow straight back.
Dips, Dumbell Rolls, and especially Reverse Vertical Push-Ups are also good for the rear shoulders.
Stretches for Flexibility
Reach your left hand over to the right without twisting your spine. Take hold above the elbow of your left arm with your right hand, and rather than pushing the elbow closer to your body, pull it farther right. Deepen this stretch by fully straightening the left elbow while holding firm with the right.
(One) Lay on your stomach and place your assisting hand just above its matching shoulder, in a fist with the thumb side up. Place the outside of the stretching side's elbow on the assisting fist, and bend the stretching arm at the elbow to hold your forehead in its palm. Now use the weight of your body and head to push down into a deep stretch. (Two) Place your assisting fist a foot ahead of your stretching shoulder on the floor, anchor the stretching elbow on the fist, and lower your body into a more vertical rear shoulder stretch.