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Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly [Exercise Guide]

Dumbbell rear delt fly (or the dumbbell reverse fly) is one of the vital exercises to enhance your deltoid muscle strength and definition. It is also very helpful to help you keep your shoulders safe and maintain a good posture, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair. This article outlines everything you need to understand about this exercise.

What is a Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly?

Dumbbell rear delt fly is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the rear or posterior part of your deltoid muscle. Rear delts are a difficult area to isolate and this exercise is one of the few exercises that isolate this muscle area. Besides that, the rear delt fly exercise also works your upper back muscles like traps and rhomboids.

Advantages of a Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

1. Posture benefits

Spending long hours sitting can result in a bad slouched posture that not only looks bad but can also result in negative health symptoms like low back pain or even headaches.

The rear delt muscles are one of the muscle groups that can help you maintain a good posture and counteract the negative effects of sitting for a long time. The rear delt fly is a great exercise that will help you strengthen your rear delts and other upper back muscles which will help keep your shoulders in a proper position, therefore, resulting in a better posture.

2. Shoulder strength and health

Rear delt strength is a crucial component of keeping your shoulders safe and strong. Most people focus primarily on developing their front and middle delts by doing exercises like shoulder overhead press, side lateral raises, or even bench press.

While these exercises are great, if you only do them and ignore the posterior part of your delts, it will very likely cause a muscular imbalance in your shoulders, which may result in shoulder injuries.

Besides just that, strengthening your rear delts will help you with your other major lifts like shoulder overhead press or even deadlifts as it will add additional stability to your shoulder joint.

3. Better overall look

Even though aesthetic benefits aren’t a higher priority than health benefits, they’re also important. Well-developed rear delt muscles will give your shoulders a much better-rounded look of your shoulders. Not only that but having a better posture as a result of training your rear delts will also make you look much better.

How to Perform a Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

In order to do the dumbbell rear delt fly exercise, you need a pair of dumbbells.

How to perform the exercise:

  • Step 1. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulders width apart. Push your hips back until your upper body is nearly parallel to the ground. Maintain this position throughout the whole exercise.
  • Step 2. Slightly bend your arms in the elbows. Then lift the weights up until they’re parallel with your shoulders
  • Step 3. Bring your hands back down slowly to the original or starting position.

To achieve the best results, it’s recommended that you do 3-4 sets of 10-12 dumbbell rear delt fly. More so, you can challenge yourself more by adding more sets and reps if you continually feel more comfortable with your form.

5 Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly Alternatives

While dumbbell rear delt flys are great, you may want to use another exercise to challenge yourself and switch things up. Here are 5 great alternatives.

1. Standing rope face pull

It’s a great exercise that primarily works by targeting the traps, upper back, deltoids, and rotator cuff muscles. You can use it as a suitable alternative to the dumbbell reverse delt fly. In order to do this exercise, you will need access to a cable machine. Alternatively, you can use a resistance band.

In order to perform the exercise pull the handle towards your face while separating your arms a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Try to lead the exercise with your hands and not your elbows to make sure you engage the rotator cuff muscles. After you’ve reached the peak position, slowly return back to the initial position.

2. Standing barbell rear delt row

For this alternative, you’ll need a barbell. Hold it using a neutral grip and stand up straight. Then bend your body at an angle of 90 degrees forwards, ensuring you push your rear backward while bending the knees slightly. Lift the barbell weight gently up to your chest level, move it downwards slowly, and repeat the set several times.

3. Reverse cable fly

Reverse cable flys are another great alternative to a dumbbell rear delt fly. To perform the exercise, set the cables at the mid-chest level. Setting them up at this level will give you higher rhomboid engagements and scapular retraction. Grab the left pulley with your right hand and the right pulley with your left hand. Then start moving them both towards your back while keeping your arms away from your body. To complete the exercise, slowly return to the initial position.

4. Bent arm lateral raise

In order to perform this exercise stand with your shoulders width apart while keeping a dumbbell in each hand. Slightly bend your arms in your elbow joint and start raising your arms to the of your body until they’re parallel to the ground. When performing the exercise try not to internally rotate your shoulders too much as it may cause some damage to your shoulder joint. To complete the exercise, slowly lower the dumbbells.

5. Bent-over face pull

Hinge back until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, bend your arms in your elbows to form a 90-degree angle. Start raising the dumbbells up until your hands are parallel with your back. Slowly lower the dumbells to finish the exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rear delt fly vs. lateral raise – the differences?

The primary difference between the lateral raise and the rear delt fly is their target muscles. The lateral raise exercise primarily engages the side delt muscles while the rear delt fly puts the focus on your posterior delt muscles.

What muscles does the rear delt fly work?

The rear delt fly shoulder exercise is one works to strengthen your rear deltoids as well as your traps and other upper back muscles rhomboids.

Can I do a rear delt fly workout with cables?

Yes, you can have your rear delt fly workouts successfully with cables. In order to achieve optimal results and engage your rhomboid and scapular more, you’ll need to set the cables at chest level.

Wrapping Up

The dumbbell rear delt fly exercise is considered to be one the crucial and one of the most effective exercises for your rear delts. You should make it a part of your workout routine in order to grow your shoulders and keep them safe and healthy. It also helps to improve your posture and the aesthetics of your shoulders.