Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

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

Bent Over fly exercise

There’s no short cut to building an upper back that gets everyone drooling. But there is an exercise that can make you look ripped in all the right ways – welcome, Bent Over Flies! Targeting two muscle groups in one move i.e., your shoulders and upper back, this exercise is the perfect way to get sculpted whether you’re shredding or bulking.

Want to build a back that gets all the heads turning? Incorporate bent over flies to your upper back workout routine!

How to do Bend Over Flies | Muscles Worked | Gym Clothes | Benefits | Common Mistakes | Variations | Key Takeaways | FAQs

Bent Over Flies: A Step-By-Step Rundown

Popularly known as bent over flies, this exercise is also referred to as bent over reverse flies, dumbbell reverse fly, rear delt fly.

How To Do Bent Over Flies?


Targets: Rear delts (shoulders), upper back and biceps

Sets: 3-4

Reps: 10-12

Rest: 45 seconds

Here’s a step-by-step guide on doing bent over flies:

  • Take your position with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your arms extended by your sides, holding dumbbells in each hand
  • Depending on your comfort, you can do this exercise sitting on a bench or standing
  • Hinge your hips and maintain a neutral back – avoid rounding or slouching your back
  • Now, lower the hinge to the point your chest is parallel to the ground
  • Brace your core while maintaining your breathing pattern – with every lift, exhale and inhale when you bring the weights down
  • Now, with a slight bent in your elbows, and lift the weights
  • During the lift, focus on your rear delts, squeezing them together as you pull the weights up
  • Do not hunch your shoulders during the movement – this will engage your traps instead
  • You will feel some tension in your traps but your rear delts and upper back should be the primary muscles worked
  • Control your eccentric and bring the weights back down to your sides
  • This is one rep

Build shoulder boulders with these 3 deltoid exercises!

Muscles Worked During Bent Over Fly


Muscle Group Description Benefits
Rear Deltoid Muscles at the back of your shoulders. Improves movement and strength in your upper body.
Rotator Cuff Group of muscles around the shoulder joint. Keeps shoulders stable and helps avoid injuries.
Trapezius Muscle covering your upper back, supporting shoulders. Helps with neck and upper back health, and makes posture better.

Your Workout Gear Matters

Whether you’re hitting the gym or working out at home, your active wear matters. With the right gym clothes, you’ll be performing at your best.


Benefits of Bent Over Flies

Apart from giving you that those Thor-like delts, the bent over flies offers several other benefits such as:

1. Strengthened 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 improve your posture and reduce the risk of upper back pain and injuries.

Learn more about how to fix rhomboid pain.

2. Strengthened Rear Shoulders

Bent over fly exercise targets rear posterior deltoids, located at the back of your shoulders. Doing this exercise helps promote a healthy functioning of the shoulder joints and prevents injury.

Improve your mobility with these 4 shoulder cable workouts.

3. 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.

Strengthen your upper back with these 5 dumbbell back exercises that enhance your posture.

4. Increased 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.

Sculpt your delts with these resistance band shoulder workouts.

5. Improved Athletic Performance

It improves upper body strength and power, which is 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.

Incorporate this exercise into your back workout routine for mass building.

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.

3 Common Mistakes of Bent Over Flies

While this exercise is a great way of building strength and looking shredded, it’s important to do it the right way. Otherwise, you’re going to end up compromising your gains.

Here are a few common mistakes people make when doing bent over flies:

1. Rounding The Back

It is important to keep a neutral back throughout the exercise to avoid strain on the spine. Actively engage your core to prevent your lower back from arching. This will give your body stability and keep your back straight.

Build a strong and powerful back with these 9 back exercises to do at home.

2. Lifting Too Heavy

Choose a weight that is appropriate for your strength level. If you go heavy as a beginner, you’ll end up with a poor form during the lift. This will not only render your workout ineffective, but also lead to a risk of injury.

If you’re new to working out, consider resistance band workouts to build lean muscle and strength.

3. Flaring The Elbows

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

Learn how to do barbell upright rows to chisel your side and front delts.

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. Stay safe and be cautious 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 personal trainer.

3 Variations Of Bent Over Fly Exercise

If you want to switch it up from dumbbell bent over flies while keeping the same movement, then check out the following variations:

1. Cable Reverse Fly

  • Set the cable pulley to the extreme top or bottom
  • Stand in the middle of the cable with a slight bent in your knees
  • Hold the pulley in both hands
  • You should be standing with your arms in a cross – left pulley in right hand and vice versa
  • Slightly bend your elbows and start pulling the handles in a cross to your extreme sides
  • As you pull the cables, make sure you’re squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • While controlling your movement, bring your arms back in the starting position
  • This is one rep

Aim for 10-15 reps in a single set.

Get beefy with this complete shoulder workout.

2. Incline Bench Reverse Fly

  • Set a bench to a 30°-45° angle
  • Sit on the bench with your chest against the surface
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, making sure your arms are fully extended
  • With a slight bent in your elbows, lift the weights
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the weight upwards
  • Lower your arm again, controlling your movement
  • This is one rep

Aim for 10-15 reps or do this exercise until failure.

Tone your arms with these shoulder workouts for women.

3. Bent Over Pause Fly

  • You can do this exercise while sitting or standing – it’s up to you
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
  • If you’re standing, then your knees should be slightly bent
  • With your arms on the sides and your elbows softly bent, lift the dumbbells
  • Contract your shoulder blades and pause for 3-5 seconds at the top
  • Feel the tension in your rear delts as you hold the position
  • Gently lower the weights, extending your arms by your sides again
  • This is one rep

Aim for 10-15 reps or until failure.

Incorporate triceps workout on your push days to achieve the physique of your dreams.

Key Takeaway

The bent over fly is a classic exercise that strengthens your upper back and shoulders, increases range of motion, and improves athletic performance. With proper technique 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.


What are bent over flys good for?

Also known as reverse flies or reverse dumbbell flies, the bent over flies are amongst the top exercises for sculpting your shoulders. This exercise works the muscles in your upper back along with your rear delts, giving you the muscles that make even Superman jealous!

What is the difference between a reverse fly and a bent over fly?

Reverse fly and bent over fly are often used interchangeably. However, a bent over fly is a specific exercise that requires your upper body to be parallel against the ground with your arms doing lateral raises, squeezing at the shoulder blades to engage rear delts. On the other hand, a reverse fly is a much broader term and includes the multiple variations of the ‘fly’ exercise. Most commonly, the machine reverse fly is considered a ‘reverse fly’.

It is important to note that the movement in both, bent over fly and reverse fly is pretty much the same as they both target the same muscle groups.

What is the proper form for the bent over fly?

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold dumbbells by your sides. Make sure your hips are hinging, your back neutral and your chest parallel to the ground. If you’re standing, your knees should have a slight bend – this doesn’t really apply to seated bent over flies. With your elbows slightly bent, lift the weights, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Read More From SQUATWOLF

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.