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Bent Over Fly Exercise : Benefits, Common Mistakes, And Variations

Bent Over fly exercise


  • Bent over fly is a strength training exercise mainly targeting your upper back and shoulder muscles 
  • It can be easily done in the gym or at home using dumbbells  
  • Bent over fly when done regularly strengthens your rear shoulders, improves posture, mobility and athletic performance  
  • Some common mistakes to avoid when performing this exercise is to avoid rounding your back and  lifting heavy weights.  

The bent over fly is a classic strength training exercise that targets the muscles in the upper back and shoulders. It is a simple yet effective exercise that can help improve posture, increase upper body strength, and enhance overall athletic performance. In this blog, we will cover the proper technique for performing bent over fly, the benefits of this exercise, common mistakes to avoid, and some variations you can try. 

How to Do Bent Over Fly: 


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. You can perform this exercise sitting on the bench as well. 
  • Hinge at the hips and lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise. 
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing each other. 
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent, lift the dumbbells out to the sides of your body until they are level with your shoulders. 
  • Pause for a moment, then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  • It’s important to maintain proper form while performing bent over fly to ensure that you are targeting the intended muscles and to avoid injury. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind: 
  • Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together throughout the exercise. 
  • Avoid arching your back or swinging the dumbbells. 
  • Use a slow and controlled motion. 

Muscles Worked During Bent Over Fly


Primary Muscles Worked  

Rear Deltoid  

The rear deltoids are the back muscles of your shoulders. They start from the spine of the shoulder blade all the way inside your upper arm bone. These muscles help extend your lats and rotation of your external shoulder along with your rotator cuff.  

Rotator Cuff 

 Rotator cuffs are muscles that move your upper arm and stabilize your shoulders. They surround your shoulder joint.  

Secondary Muscles Worked


Trapezius or traps is a muscle that covers your upper back. It mainly supports your shoulders and arms. It also moves and rotates your scapula.  

The traps muscles help with different upper body movements during workouts like rowing, overhead pressing, pulling, and deadlifting. 

Benefits of Bent Over Fly:  

Strengthens the upper back 

The bent-over fly targets the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, including the rhomboids and deltoids. Stronger upper back muscles can help improve posture and reduce the risk of upper back pain and injuries.  

Strengthen Rear Shoulders 

Bent over fly exercise targets rear posterior deltoids, which are the back of your shoulders. Doing this exercise helps promote the functioning of the shoulder joint and prevents injury.  

Improved Posture 

This exercise helps improve your posture by keeping your upper back upright. Strong upper back muscles are important for aligning the rest of your body and supporting your spine.   

Increases range of motion

The bent over fly stretches and lengthens the muscles in the upper back, increasing range of motion and flexibility. It is especially important for people living a sedentary lifestyle working in offices and spending most of their day sitting in front of a desk. Bent over fly workout increases the mobility of your upper back and shoulders by reducing the strain leveled on them because of sitting in one position for too long.  

 Improves athletic performance: 

It can improve upper body strength and power, which can be beneficial for sports and activities that require upper body strength, such as swimming, tennis, and boxing. It also helps you perform everyday tasks like standing up after sitting for too long, bending over, picking up things from the ground, or putting away items on a higher shelf much more easily.  

Incorporating bent over fly into your strength training routine can have numerous benefits for your overall physical health and performance. However, it’s important to remember that exercise alone is not enough for optimal health. Make sure to also pay attention to your diet, hydration, and recovery to get the most out of your fitness efforts. 

Common Mistakes of Bent Over Fly

Rounding the back

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise to avoid strain on the spine. 

Lifting too heavy

Choose a weight that is appropriate for your strength level. Lifting too heavy can lead to poor form and increase the risk of injury. 

Flaring the elbows

Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the exercise to maintain proper form and avoid strain on the shoulders. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of lifting and push yourself too hard, but it’s important to listen to your body and use caution when trying to increase the weight or reps of an exercise. If you feel any pain or discomfort while performing bent over fly, stop immediately and consult with a qualified fitness professional. 

Variations Of Bent Over Fly Exercise 

Cable Reverse Fly  

You can do cable reverse fly by attaching a handle at the bottom or top of the cable station. Either stand or bend over and move your arms horizontally just as you would do with the dumbbells.  

 Incline Bench Reverse Fly  

For the incline bench reverse fly set the bench on an incline and then lie on it face down. Perform reverse fly as you usually would. This variation is perfect for people wanting to reinforce proper technique and form without using momentum. In other words, it is the easier, more effective version of the regular bent-over fly workout.  

 Bent Over Pause Fly  

If engaging your rear deltoids is a struggle for you then this variation of bent-over-fly exercise is perfect for you. Bent over pause fly workout efficiently targets your rear deltoids giving you the results you desire. 

Do bent-over fly workout as you usually would, but right when you bring your arms up, hold the position for a few seconds squeezing the rear deltoids and then slowly bring your arms down to the starting position. 

Key Takeaway

The bent over fly is a classic exercise that can help strengthen the upper back and shoulders, increase range of motion, and improve athletic performance. By following proper technique and avoiding common mistakes, you can safely and effectively incorporate bent over fly into your strength training routine. Try some of the variations mentioned above to mix things up and challenge your muscles in new ways. 

Remember to always start with a weight that is appropriate for your strength level and to listen to your body when exercising. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and consult with a qualified fitness professional.

Incorporating exercises like bent over fly into your routine can help improve your overall physical health and fitness, but it’s important to also pay attention to your diet, hydration, and recovery to get the most out of your efforts. 

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