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Dumbbell Rear Delt Row Exercise (Step-by-Step)

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

This exercise guide we will show you how to do the dumbbell rear delt row, a great exercise for the shoulders and traps.

The dumbbell rear delt row is another simple, yet effective exercise for the shoulders, which specifically targets the rear deltoid fibres.

For this exercise, you won't need access to any equipment or need any specific skill. The only equipment you will need to do the rear delt row is a pair of dumbbells.

If you do wish to use cables instead, a cable machine will be needed. You can also use resistance bands and even kettlebells if you wish.

If you have dumbbells, you can include this exercise into your bodyweight home workout.

How to Do the Rear Delt Row

These instructions below are specifically designed for the dumbbell rear delt row.

However, the same exercise process applies even with the cable machine variant or resistance bands.

  1. To begin, stand in an upright position with a dumbbell in each hand.

  2. Then, with your knees slightly bent, lean forward (at around 45 degrees in angle) in a bent-over position. Keep your back straight.

  3. Hang your arms out in front of you, perpendicular to the floor, with your wrists pronated (palms facing you) and your elbows pointed to the side. This will be your starting position.

  4. Begin the movement by "rowing" the dumbbells toward your body. Your shoulders should stay retracted, squeezing your traps together throughout the exercise. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to your torso.

  5. Continue the row until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.

  6. At the top of the rep, pause for 1-2 seconds and squeeze the rear delts.

  7. Return to the starting position.

  8. Repeat for your desired amount of repetitions.

Additional Variations

You can do this exercise using kettlebells, a cable machine, dumbbells or you can use resistance bands.

  • Standing bent-over (dumbbells)

  • Seated bent-over (dumbbells)

  • Seated bent-over on incline bench

  • Standing bent-over with one arm (dumbbell)

  • Seated reversed on pec-deck machine

  • Standing with two arms (cable machine)

  • Standing bent-over with one arm using (cable machine)

dumbbell rear delt row

Caution: Be sure to not use too much weight as this leads to bad form and a possibility of injury.

How to Make It Easier

There are a few ways to make the rear delt row exercise easier, we have found and listed the best ways to make it easier below.

  • Start by doing one arm and at a time - then try to do both arms when you master this.

  • Obviously using lighter weight will make the dumbbell rear delt easier.

  • Likewise, doing fewer reps will make this dumbbell row easier - you can make up for the fewer reps with more sets.

How to Make It Harder

There is also a couple ways to make the rear dumbbell row harder.

The best ways are below:

  • Obviously, using heavier weights and doing more reps will make this exercise harder.

  • Doing the dumbbell rear delt row with both arms at a time will make it harder.


Written by Billy White

billy white

Billy White is a qualified Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer. He is an aspiring bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, and health and fitness researcher.

He has multiple years of experience within the fitness, bodybuilding and health space. He is committed to providing the highest-quality information.


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

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