Dumbbell Reverse Fly - Build a Muscular Back

Dumbbell Reverse Fly – Build a Muscular Back

Do you want to build powerful back muscles? Try the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly. Dumbbells are excellent for isolating muscles and making them work harder.

It is an excellent exercise for the rear shoulders as well. This article will explain how to do this exercise to develop the back muscles.

Reverse Dumbbell Fly Trapezius Muscle rear deltoid shoulder

One benefit of powerful back muscles is that they help keep your spine healthy. So if you are looking for a simple workout, this one will be perfect. It only requires two dumbbells!

The muscle group in the back that the dumbbell reverse fly works are the trap muscle which is short for the trapezius muscle.

The muscle gets its name from the geometrical shape of the trapezoid because it starts from the base of the head and fans out to cover the center of the back.

The trap muscle is flanked on both sides by the latissmus dorsi, which is short for lat muscles.

Trapezoid - 4 Sided Geometrical Shape
The trap muscle gets its name from the trapezoid, a four-sided geometrical shape because it starts from the neck and fans out into the center of the back. The trap muscle looks like a trapezoid.

The back fly can also improve shoulder stability by strengthening the rotator cuff. A rotator cuff is a group of 4 small muscles in the shoulder.

Also, the rotator cuff helps with arm movement. However, you can easily injure it while working out. Most of the time, injuries to the rotator cuff require surgery.

Thus, strengthening the rotator cuff can keep you injury-free. Another benefit of the reverse fly is that you can do it without a spotter.

Also, it is great for home workouts. You need two weights and some floor space to perform this exercise! But the best thing about this exercise is you can work out hard without being too sore afterward.

How Do You Create More Defined Muscles?

The exercise uses a horizontal plane to work the back and shoulders. Some muscle groups make you stand out and get noticed. The back fly does the best job of building muscular shoulders and upper back muscles.

Use this exercise with the chest fly to create a combination of pull/push training. The best workout takes your training to the next left. Also, use a workout based on weight training principles to get better results.

The bent-over dumbbell reverse fly exercise uses the SAID and use/disuse principles. The SAID principle states muscles adapt in specific ways.

For example, pressure on the back muscles causes the back muscles to grow, not the chest. So by targeting the back, you get stronger back muscles. The use/disuse principle states that you will lose it if you don’t use it.

These two principles explain why the back fly causes the back and posterior shoulder muscles to grow. Many people do not work the rear shoulders enough. The reverse fly is one of the few that works on the rear shoulders.

Thus, the shock causes the muscle to respond to the training immediately. The upper back muscles and rear shoulders are the most massive muscles of the upper body.

Also, they make you look wide (and your waist appears smaller). Back and shoulder workouts help correct poor posture and reduce back problems.

How Do You Perform a Bent-Over Reverse Dumbbell Fly?


  • Grasp a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip
  • Make sure your palms are facing each other
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Slightly bend at the knees
  • Bring your torso forward by bending at the waist
  • Keep your head up and your eyes forward
  • Make sure the dumbbells are directly under your chest
  • Finally, slightly bend your elbows


  • Raise your arms in an arc.
  • Stop once your arms are parallel to the floor
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbow during the move
  • Finally, return to the starting position and repeat
  • Don’t forget to inhale during the pull and exhale during the release

How Do You Build Larger Muscles in the Back?

An exercise should target the shoulder muscles when training for size and strength. Dumbbells do a great job isolating the muscle group you want to target for growth. With the barbell, the body can use other muscles to help. Also, this makes it harder to target a muscle or muscle group.

The reverse fly gives you the best chance to focus on the back. Also, this exercise can focus on the rotator cuffs or rear deltoid. How can you do it? It’s called a mind-to-muscle connection. Just think about the muscle you want to work on as you perform the exercise. There is scientific research to support the mind-to-muscle connection.

Dumbbells allow for a more excellent range of back motion. The longer the range, the greater the time under tension for a muscle. Time under tension is another factor that determines muscle growth.

Also, using dumbbells requires stabilization. The dumbbell forces you to hold, balance, and control it throughout the exercise. The control of the dumbbell allows you to push the muscle to its limits.

Also, dumbbells allow for better weight movement. Each lift’s concentric, eccentric, and isometric parts define the movement.

For example, bringing the weight down is the concentric part of the lift. While pausing at the top of a lift is the isometric part of the lift. As a result, the back and supporting muscles stay under constant stress with the reverse fly. As a result, you work harder and build a more impressive back.

What Mechanics Are involved in the Dumbell Reverse Fly?

Big shoulders enhance your physique. Your shoulders are three triangular-shaped muscles. They include the anterior (front), lateral (middle), and posterior (rear) deltoid. Many people work the front shoulder head when training the chest and biceps.

Also, they train the side or lateral shoulder head, but most neglect the rear shoulder head. Thus, the anterior shoulder head develops more than the posterior shoulder head. Also, this is a big mistake, as the posterior shoulder head balances the anterior shoulder head. Not developing it correctly can lead to a tear of the rotator cuff.

You can train your back shoulder head with horizontal abduction or pulling movements. The dumbbells use the right angle to pressure the rear shoulder head.

The shoulders hold up the dumbbells during a reverse fly. Gravity pushes the dumbbells down, making the shoulder work harder during the reverse fly. The position of your waist to the floor determines how much pressure you put on your shoulders.

The more upright you stand, the more pressure on the top of the shoulders. A bend over where the back is parallel to the floor places more pressure on the rear shoulder.

The force to lift the dumbbells begins with the hands and gets transferred to the shoulders. All upper body muscles in the poster chain get worked.

The back fly uses the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and back to lift and transfer power from one part of the body to the next.

But the shoulders and upper back do the heavy lifting. A smaller muscle group, like the shoulders, gets worked harder than a larger group, like the back. A chain always breaks at the weakest link.

Volume determines how muscles grow and respond to a workout. The work performed during training is based on sets, reps, and weight. By multiplying sets, reps, and weights, you get one number that tells you how hard you work.

As the volume goes up, the muscles grow. The volume of larger muscles is more than that of smaller muscles. There is a relationship between how much you lift and the size of your muscles. Bigger muscles lift heavier weights. It does not get any simpler than that.

What Are Some Alternative Exercises to the Bent-Over Dumbbell Reverse Fly?

The best exercises for the back cause your arms to move backward in a pulling motion. Besides the reverse fly, use other isolated, compound, isometric, and isotonic exercises to develop your upper back and shoulders.

The best upper back and shoulder exercises are the deadlift, back row, pull-ups, superman, and planks. If you love doing pull/push routines, a great superset can include the chest fly and back fly.

Seated Dumbbell Reverse Fly

With a dumbbell in each hand, sit on the edge of a sturdy bench. Then lean forward until your chest rests on or above your thighs. Also, your arms should be down, and the weights near your ankles. Next, lift the dumbbells in a slow, controlled motion until your arms are parallel to the floor.

Your elbows should remain bent and at the level of the dumbbells. Next, pause at the highest point for a second and contract your back muscles. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Next, lower the dumbbells to the starting position and repeat. You can also perform this exercise with a resistance band.

Prone Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Use an incline bench. Start in the prone position with your chest against the bench. Then hold the dumbbells in both hands while hanging your arms down. Next, tighten the core and raise the dumbbells with a controlled motion.

Your arms should rise until parallel to the floor. Also, your elbows should remain slightly bent and at the level of the dumbbells and your torso. Next, pause at the highest point for a second and contract your back muscles. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Next, lower the dumbbells to the starting position and repeat. Note: Avoid swinging the weights and using momentum to complete the movement. If you must “cheat,” drop to a manageable weight.

The Last Word on the Dumbbell Reverse Fly

The reverse back fly is an ideal exercise focusing on the posterior shoulder and upper back. You can perform a reverse fly face down on a bench, seated, slightly bent over, or completely bent over.

Also, you can stand or bend forward from your hips to conduct the reverse back fly. When doing reverse flies, tighten your core and lower back.

If you have lower back problems, the Prone (bench) reverse fly creates less pressure on your lower back. For the best results, avoid swinging the dumbbells and cheating!

The reverse fly is an excellent exercise for strengthening and defining your back, shoulders, and arms. We perform the back fly on a horizontal plane, thus working posterior chain muscles.

If you want to achieve success with your workout, we recommend incorporating this technique into your routine at least once or twice weekly.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know how it goes! Finally, combine your workout program with a compatible diet, a periodization plan, and a rest schedule.

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