the shoulder press is the king of the Deltoids, the rear deltoid fly is the
Duke of the posterior region. Also known as the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly, the rear delt raise, or the rear delt dumbbell fly; this exercise targets the muscles at the rear-delt area otherwise named the posterior deltoids or rear delts (Wikipedia Link). It also works
the upper back muscles.
The Rear Delt Dumbbell Fly packs a punch well
above its weight and commands respect in any shoulder workout session.
How Do You Know if Your Rear Delt Is Underdeveloped?
your rear shoulder muscles seem to disappear and look flat the moment you turn to the side
and the rear, chances are your rear deltoids are severely underdeveloped.
you’ve been training for a while and seen little to no results, you might be
asking are rear delts hard to grow? It can be difficult when you use poor form
or too much weight to the point you have to rely on momentum. The problem with
this muscle group is that it is much smaller and weaker than the surrounding
upper back muscles; they can often get robbed of much of the work during an
this article, I'll show you exactly how to perform the Rear Deltoid Fly so you can
start growing a 3D rearview. For this, we won't be using a rear delt machine but mainly dumbbells. After you get a firm understanding of rear delt flies, we'll arm you with some variations and more information to add to your exercise arsenal.
name is Psymon H., architect of the Mission Jacked movement, and the man making his name from improving
physiques and growing natural muscle with minimal equipment.
my nearly 40 years of natural bodybuilding, I've seen many physiques come and
go. You can always tell the person that pays close attention to the minor
details; their shoulders thicken out and look meaty from all angles, with a
nice balance between the arms and the shoulders. On the flip side, I've seen
many more physiques that suddenly disappear the moment they turn to the side or
rear. In many instances, the Triceps overshow the shoulders making the
person look somewhat deformed.
let that be you!
we break down the rear delt dumbbell fly content, I want to quickly explain the job of the rear-delt muscles because after all, knowledge is power, and power builds muscle and improves performance.
As they originate from the back-side of the body, the rear shoulder muscles extend the
shoulder backward and hyperextend the shoulder, pulling it behind the line of
When the arms are in an abducted position, it's called called
Since the rear deltoids insert on the lateral aspect and wrap around the arm
when they pull, they externally rotate the shoulder.
have to get your elbows up and behind the line of your back to fully contract
the rear deltoids. Now we know the job of the rear delts and how to get a good
contraction in the muscle, let’s go ahead and fly some dumbbells.
The Rear Delt Dumbbell Fly Is A Great Place To Start
with every exercise, using good form on this rear shoulder raise should come before weight. If you get the form right,
the weight will soon follow.
Incline bench & a pair of dumbbells.
exercise can be done by hinging over at the hips and performing the bent over rear delt fly version. While there is nothing wrong with this variation, we’re going to use
the bench as support to minimize unwanted movement.
To Do The Rear Delt Dumbbell Fly
1: Lean over an incline bench set at between a 45 and 75-degree angle. You can
straddle over the bench so you're leaning against the back pad, or you can flip
the bench around and place a pad on the top. Personally, I like the second
option, but do what works best for you and makes the exercise more comfortable.
your feet up until they are under your shoulders. When you do this, it adds
stability to the exercise. This creates maximum mechanical tension in the rear
With arms straight and directly underneath you, turn your palms towards each
other. Without rocking or lifting your torso off the bench, raise the weights out to the side in a sweep motion, until your elbows are slightly higher than
the line of your Shoulders.
Hold for a brief second before lowering the dumbbells to the start position,
trying to maintain as full a motion as possible.
you have trouble raising your elbows high enough to the side, chances are the
dumbbells may be too heavy. Start light and work your way up in weight once
you've mastered the movement.
To improve the health of your delts, always warm-up, warm-down and include regular delt mobility work.
you're looking for an engaging variant that taps deep into the muscle fibers of
the rear deltoids, try these Rear Delt Flies out.
first glance, version 2 looks no different from the original exercise. The
setup is the same; you lean over an incline bench set between a 45 and
75-degree angle. You also walk your feet in so they're almost directly under
your shoulders. Your dumbbells, arms, and palms will start in the same
position. The only difference is where you fly the dumbbells.
of flying the dumbbells directly out to the side, for this rear deltoid fly you fly them up at a
45-degree angle in front of you, aiming to bring your elbows as high as you
may find this style more challenging than the original simply because it’s much
harder to fly at a 45-degree angle while executing pristine form and keeping
your torso from lifting off the bench. For this reason, you will need to use
my personal experience of using this version, I have found that if you use the
best form possible, you use fewer upper back muscles and engage more rear
fact that you’re lying face-down on a flat bench for this rear deltoid fly makes this a much stricter
exercise and a perfect alternative to the original Rear Deltoid Fly. If you
feel yourself using too much momentum and you struggle with keeping your torso
glued to the bench, opt for this Deltoid Fly version instead.
If you have a height-adjustable bench, great. If you don't, place two crates
underneath a flat bench to lift it off the floor to give your arms room to move
without hitting the floor.
Lay face down on your flat bench station, making sure to bring your chin over
the edge of the bench. Pull your thigh back so that they don’t influence the
Start with straight arms directly under the station with palms facing in.
you want to make things extremely hard for yourself by evicting all momentum
from your Rear Delt db Fly, this is the version for you. By starting every
repetition from a dead-stop position and committing yourself to nothing more
than the rear-deltoids doing all of the work, it becomes a real test of deltoid
strength. If you haven't tried this rear delt dumbbell fly variation, add it to your next shoulder workout.
Flat bench and a pair of dumbbells. If you have long arms, you may need to
place a couple of bumper plates under each end of your flat bench.
Your start position is different from the original rear db delt fly and almost
starts a quarter of the way up. Make sure to start with the dumbbells on
the floor and in line with your shoulders.
This single arm dumbbell rear raise with band is a great way to maintain tension on the rear deltoid while making
it progressively harder the higher you raise your arms. This doesn’t take much
weight to pressurize the muscles in question. Your rear delt flies will never be the same once you add this variation.
One dumbbell, one light resistance band, and an upright anchor.
Setup: Loop your band at
the bottom of an upright anchor ensuring that the band and the anchor are
secure under tension.
Lay the band out on the floor looped around the dumbbell. Stand side-on and
just behind the end of the band. Pick up the band/bell combo with the hand
furthest away from the anchor and hinge over at the hips.
Take a side step away from the anchor to allow for a little tension to mount in
the band. At this point, your head should be directly in line with the
band/bell combo. Place your other hand on your thigh to help you maintain a
While keeping yourself square on, raise the band/bell out in a fly motion until
your elbows are level with the line of your back.
6:This same rear delt reverse fly variation can be performed with a cable machine. I like to do this
movement without a handle which restricts the amount of weight you can use but
helps you focus on committing to good form.
To improve the health of your delts, always warm-up, warm-down and include regular delt mobility work.
A: The rear delt
fly can seem a really hard exercise to perform if you are not used to training
your rear Deltoids. This muscle is notoriously weak in comparison to the
surrounding muscles in the upper back area.
Another reason why the rear delt db fly can be hard is if you
use the Incline Bench rear delt dumbbell fly version
where you have little room to sway the body and influence the exercise.
If you are new, start light and concentrate on form before
increasing the weight. This will give your rear deltoids time to get used to
being worked and more time to get stronger.
Q: Are rear delt dumbbell fly push or pull?
A: The Dumbbell rear delt dumbbell fly is classed as a pulling exercise because all you are doing is
modifying the classic row motion by extending your arms out. If you have broken
down your workouts into a push/pull split, it’s recommended you do rear
deltoids, and all of your rear delt flys on your pulling day along with your
Q: What can I do
instead of rear delt dumbbell fly, is there a rear delt fly alternative?
A: You can
perform standing or seated Face Pulls Into Press. You could also do an Incline
Flared High Row that stimulates the same muscles as Rear Deltoid Flys.
Q: Do rear delt dumbbell fly work Traps?
A: Yes, when you
perform a rear delt db fly you involve some mid and lower traps. This is
especially true if you do a reverse fly variation such as the Incline Bench rear delt dumbbell fly because your upper body is supported. You can influence the Traps
more by retracting your shoulder blades by pulling them back before each
Q: Can you do a rear delt dumbbell fly into row?
A: Yes, what is
being described is what we call an In-Set Superset, where you alternate between
two different exercises within the same set. The best way to perform this
high-intensity strategy is to pair the Bench rear delt dumbbell fly with Incline Flared
Dumbbell Row to blast the rear deltoids.
Pay special attention to your row and shoulder fly form so
that most of the stress remains on the rear deltoids instead of the upper back.
I would even play with both my row and rear delt hand position to get the best
out of both exercises.
With the row, start with a wide pronated grip, and make sure
to row in line with the shoulders. For the next set, I would change the hand
position so that my palms are facing in, making sure to lift the elbows as high
as I can at the top of the movement.
With the delt fly, I would start with palms facing each
other and leading with my knuckles. On set two I would turn my grip to a
pronated position and do my delt flys by leading with my little finger.
For this Rear Deltoid Fly/ Row In-Set Superset, start with 2 sets of 16 repetitions, meaning that you would
alternate between the two different movements until you’ve performed 8
repetitions of each exercise. Aim for leaving 1-2 repetitions in reserve on
each working set.
Q: Where can I find more rear delt fly variations to add to my rear deltoid workout?
A:We have an article all about Bent
Over Rear Dumbbell Flyes and their various different variations. There are some great exercises you can swap in and out of your training block.