top of page

Barbell Rear Delt Row 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Barbell Rear Delt Row
Barbell Rear Delt Row

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Pull (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level











The Barbell Rear Delt Row is a compound exercise designed to target the shoulders with a specific emphasis on the rear deltoids. Utilizing a barbell as the required equipment, this movement involves a horizontal rowing motion that engages the rear delts, contributing to improved shoulder development. As a secondary benefit, the exercise also targets the biceps. To perform the Barbell Rear Delt Row, one typically leans forward, maintaining a neutral spine, and pulls the barbell toward the upper abdomen, ensuring activation of the rear delts. This exercise proves beneficial for enhancing shoulder strength and promoting balanced muscle development within the shoulder complex while simultaneously involving the biceps in the pulling motion. Proper form and controlled movements are essential for maximizing the effectiveness of the Barbell Rear Delt Row and preventing undue strain on the muscles and joints.

How to Perform

  1. Begin the Barbell Rear Delt Row by loading the barbell with the desired weight. Stand up straight and position your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, ensuring a stable foundation for the exercise.

  2. To initiate the movement, bend your knees slightly and allow the barbell to slide down your thighs until it reaches just below knee level. This initial setup helps engage the posterior chain and ensures proper alignment before proceeding.

  3. Hinge at your hips while maintaining a slight knee bend, lowering your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor. This forward lean emphasizes the engagement of the rear deltoids and optimizes the range of motion for the exercise.

  4. With the barbell hanging directly below your chest, initiate the rowing motion by pulling the barbell up towards your neck. Focus on squeezing your rear delts at the top of the movement, ensuring targeted activation of the shoulder muscles.

  5. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner, allowing for both concentric and eccentric muscle engagement. This controlled descent enhances the effectiveness of the exercise and minimizes the risk of injury.

  6. Repeat the Barbell Rear Delt Row for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form throughout. Additionally, consider incorporating a brief pause at the top of the movement to further emphasize the contraction of the rear deltoids.


  1. Maintain controlled movement of the weight during the Barbell Rear Delt Row, avoiding rapid drops and incorporating a brief pause at the pinnacle of the movement to enhance muscle engagement.

  2. Direct your gaze downward throughout the exercise, focusing on a fixed point on the ground. This helps maintain a neutral neck position and ensures proper alignment of the spine during the rowing motion.

  3. Emphasize the importance of keeping the back straight throughout the entire exercise. Bending at the back is discouraged, as it may indicate an excessive load. Proper form not only targets the intended muscles but also minimizes the risk of strain on the lower back.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Excessive Weight: One common mistake is using too much weight, leading to compromised form and potential injuries. To prevent this, do not prioritize heavy weights over proper technique. Focus on a weight that allows you to execute the exercise with controlled movements.

  2. Refrain from Rounding the Back: A critical error is rounding the back during the Barbell Rear Delt Row, which can strain the lower back and detract from targeting the intended muscles. Ensure a straight back throughout the movement, emphasizing engagement in the rear deltoids without compromising spinal alignment.

  3. Steer Clear of Rapid Movements: Rapid or jerky movements can lead to ineffective muscle engagement and may increase the risk of injury. Avoid using momentum to lift the barbell and instead focus on a slow and controlled rowing motion to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.

  4. Do Not Neglect Proper Head Position: Neglecting proper head position by looking up or around during the exercise can compromise spinal alignment. Keep your gaze fixed downward, maintaining a neutral neck position. This ensures optimal engagement of the shoulders and minimizes strain on the neck and upper spine.

  5. Prevent Overarching the Neck: Overarching the neck or excessively tilting the head can lead to neck strain and detract from the targeted muscle engagement. Keep the neck in a neutral position, aligning it with the spine throughout the Barbell Rear Delt Row.

  6. Avoid Neglecting Controlled Descent: Neglecting the controlled descent of the barbell is a mistake that limits the effectiveness of the exercise. Resist the urge to let the weight drop quickly; instead, lower it in a deliberate manner, maximizing muscle engagement during both the lifting and lowering phases.

  7. Refrain from Using Excessive Momentum: Excessive momentum, especially during the upward phase, can reduce the workload on the targeted muscles. Avoid using body momentum to lift the barbell and instead rely on the strength of the shoulders and biceps for a more effective and targeted workout.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.














Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.