You often don’t think about your shoulder and upper back muscles—or how important they are. But it’s worth taking a moment to consider the wide range of movements and functions you perform every day that depend on these muscles.
From the tasks you do at your computer to the tasks you do at home, your shoulders and back are an integral part of how you go through life. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep your shoulder and upper back muscles in good shape so they can meet every challenge you throw at them: Dumbbell Reverse Flyes.
What is the reverse fly?
Reverse flyes are a simple yet effective exercise that you can do at home or at the gym. They don’t need fancy equipment or expensive personal trainers. In fact, all you need is a pair of dumbbells, a few minutes to spare and a little determination.
If you’re wondering how to do dumbbell flyes, check out these three easy steps:
- Step 1 – Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the dumbbells at your sides. Then, bend so your chest is parallel to the floor while keeping your legs and hips straight. Your arms should hang comfortably on the floor.
- Step 2 – Hold that position and take a deep breath. As you exhale, slowly lift your arms out and away from your body, as if you were about to fly. Remember to keep your elbows at a slight angle and focus on bringing your shoulder blades together where they meet your spine.
- Step 3 – While inhaling, slowly lower your arms to the starting position. As you do this, be sure to tuck your chin toward your neck so that your spine is properly aligned during the exercise. Repeat the movement as many times as you feel fit or can. For best results, be careful not to hunch your shoulders during this move.
6 Benefits of Reverse Flies
For such a simple and relatively low-intensity exercise, you might be surprised at how many varied benefits you can get from performing dumbbell flyes. But the dumbbell reverse fly exercise focuses on important muscles in your shoulders and upper back that you use all day.
This means that keeping these muscles strong, toned and well-conditioned can greatly improve your physical health in a number of ways.
Here are six reasons why incorporating reverse flyes into your exercise routine is a great idea:
- They can strengthen the back shoulder muscles – Reverse flies work your rear deltoids, the muscles behind your shoulders. Keeping your shoulder muscles strong helps promote proper shoulder joint function and protects the joint from injury.1
- They can help you build upper back muscles – In addition to building upper arm strength, reverse flyes can strengthen the rhomboid and trapezius muscles in your upper back, just like a pullover exercise. These muscles are crucial to your posture and your mobility, so it’s important to keep them in prime condition.2
- They can improve posture – Another function of your back shoulders and upper back muscles is to keep you upright. When these muscles are strong, they are better able to support the rest of your body while maintaining your posture.3
- They can help you maintain balance – Some studies have linked an array of shoulder and upper back problems to imbalances while standing, walking or running, suggesting that taking care of these muscles can keep you in better balance.4
- They can reduce pain and mobility problems – For those who work in an office or at a computer, spending too much time at their workstation can lead to stress, strain, and pain in the shoulders and upper back. Reverse flyes can help reduce the pain associated with this type of strain and help reduce mobility issues that may occur.3
- They can help with functional fitness – Reverse flyes can be a boon to your overall functional fitness. Functional fitness refers to your regular, daily tasks and activities such as lifting things, getting up from a sitting position, or putting something away on a high shelf.5
From targeting different shoulder muscle groups to reducing soreness, the simple dumbbell reverse fly exercise is worth adding to your upper body routine.
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Knowing the exercises and workouts that can help you build a stronger, healthier body. But knowing how to incorporate them into your fitness routine is another matter entirely. That’s where Choose Fitness comes in.
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Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- Share care. Why should I do shoulder strengthening exercises? https://www.sharecare.com/health/strength-training/why-should-shoulder-strengthening-exercises
- Cleveland Clinic. Trapezius muscle. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21563-trapezius-muscle
- Fits very well. How to Do a Reverse Fly: Correct Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-perform-the-reverse-fly-4684392
- BMC. Balance ability and postural stability in patients with painful shoulder disorders and healthy controls. https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2474-14-282#
- Healthline. Why functional fitness is important for everyone https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/functional-fitness-adults