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Dumbbell Reverse Fly – Build a Muscular Back

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Reverse Dumbbell Fly

Do you want to build powerful back muscles? If so, then the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly is for you. The reverse fly, also known as the back fly, is an excellent exercise because they work your upper and lower back, as well as your rear deltoids. This blog post will explain how to do this exercise correctly to get the most out of it.

One of the significant benefits of having powerful back muscles is that they help to keep your spine healthy and well-aligned. So if you are looking for an easy workout, this one might be perfect because it only requires two dumbbells!


The back fly can also improve shoulder stability by strengthening the rotator cuff – a group of 4 small muscles in the shoulder area that helps arm movement. It’s easy to do on your own or with a friend at home or in a gym since all you need is two weights and some floor space! The best thing about this exercise? You can work out as hard as you want without worrying about being too sore afterward.

How do you create more robust and defined muscles with the dumbbell reverse fly?

The exercise uses a horizontal move 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 bench press to create a combination of pull/push training. The correct workout takes your training to the next left. Also, use a workout based on weight training principles to get results.

The bent-over dumbbell reverse fly exercise uses the SAID and use/disuse principles to get results. 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.

While the use/disuse principle states if you don’t use it, you will lose it. These two principles explain why The back fly causes the back and shoulder muscles to grow. The shoulders and upper back muscles do not get worked often, but this exercise overworks them. Thus, the shock causes the muscle to respond to the training immediately.

The upper back muscles and 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 correctly and safely?

Dumbbell Reverse Fly –  Build a Muscular Back

Now let’s watch how to perform the exercise standing and slightly bent.

Here are the steps for the dumbbell reverse fly exercise:

The Setup:

  • 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

The Execution:

  • 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 does the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly exercise build an impressive back?

Upper back exercises should target shoulder muscles when training for size and strength. Dumbbells force the body to balance the weight and singles out specific muscles to work. With the barbell, the body can always use other muscles to help with an exercise. So, you may not be working the right muscle as much as you think. The reverse fly gives you the chance to focus on the back.

Dumbbells allow for a more excellent range of back motion. Also, using heavy dumbbells requires stabilization. The dumbbell forces you to hold, balance, and control it through the entire exercise. The control of the dumbbell allows you to pull a muscle to its limits. Also, the back fly forces you to use many supporting muscles.

When you force supporting muscles to work, you build a stronger core. Dumbbells also allow for better weight movement. The concentric, eccentric, and isometric parts of each lift define muscles. For example, dumbbells build an impressive upper back by ensuring the back muscles stay under constant tension. As a result, the harder you work the back muscles, the faster it responds.

How does the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly strengthen the shoulders?

The dumbbells use angles to put pressure on the shoulders. The shoulders must hold up the dumbbells during the exercise. Because gravity pushes the dumbbells down, the shoulders must work to keep the weight up. The waist angle determines how much pressure the shoulders receive—the more vertical the stance, the more pressure on the top of the shoulders. A complete bend places more pressure on the back of the shoulder.

The force to lift the dumbbells begins with the hands and gets transferred to the shoulders. All muscles in the power 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 part. But the shoulders and upper back do the hard work. A small muscle group like the shoulders gets worked harder than a large group like the back. A chain always breaks at the weakest link.

Volume determines how muscles grow and look. The total weight lifted based on sets, reps, and weight defines the work. As the volume goes up, the muscles grow. For example, the dumbbell reverse fly uses volume to force the shoulders to grow. There is a relationship between how much you lift and the size of your muscles. Bigger muscles lift the heavier weight. It does not get any simpler than that.

How do you use alternative forms of the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly to build a muscular upper back and shoulders?

Dumbbell Reverse Fly –  Build a Muscular Back

Seated dumbbell reverse fly exercise.

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 parallel the floor.

Your elbows should remain bent and at the level of the dumbbells. Next, pause for a second at the highest point 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.

Dumbbell Reverse Fly –  Build a Muscular Back

Prone dumbbell reverse fly exercise

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 a little bent and at the level of the dumbbells and your torso. Next, pause for a second at the highest point 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,” the resistance is too much, drop to a manageable weight.

Dumbbell Reverse Fly –  Build a Muscular Back

More powerful defined shoulders

Big, developed shoulders enhance your physique. Your shoulders are the three triangular-shaped muscles. They include the anterior (front), lateral (middle), and posterior (rear) deltoid.

Many people work the front shoulders when training the chest and biceps. Also, they train the side or lateral shoulders, but most neglect the rear shoulders. This is a mistake as your back shoulders work to balance your (front) shoulder size and strength. The front shoulders work hard during chest training. Also, they often become more developed than your back shoulders.

The last word on the bent-over dumbbell reverse fly exercise

You can train your back shoulders with horizontal abduction or pulling movements. The best exercises for the back cause your arms to move backward on the horizontal plane. The back fly is an ideal exercise that focuses on the back shoulders. You can perform reverse fly face down on a bench, seated, slightly bent over, or completely bent over. Also, you can stand and bend forward from your hips to conduct the reverse fly.

When doing reverse flies while standing, tighten your core and lower back. If you have lower back problems, the Prone (bench) reverse fly creates less pressure on your lower back during the movement. For best results, avoid swinging the dumbbells and cheating!

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 in an upper back and shoulder workout are the deadlift, back row, pull-ups, superman exercise, planks, shoulder press, and bench press. If you love the pull/push routines, a great superset can include the chest fly and back fly.

The reverse fly is an excellent exercise for strengthening and defining your back, shoulders, and upper arms. The back fly is a horizontal move that works the posterior muscles on both sides. If you’re looking to achieve success with your workout, we recommend incorporating this technique into your routine at least once or twice per week. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know how it goes! Finally, combine your workout program with a compatible diet, biological activities, and rest schedule.

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