How To Do Rear Delt Flys

Kelsey Lensman, ATC


The long lost forgotten part of the shoulder: the rear delt. Everyone LOVES hitting front raises and lateral raises, but if you only do those you’re missing a huge part when training shoulders! Like I described in my previous article “How to Build Boulder Shoulders” focusing on rear delts is a huge part in my training. One of the main movements I use is bent over rear delt flys. They’re a common exercise, but the details to this one are HUGE.

How to Set Up:

  1. Start with slight bend at your hips. Your back should be completely FLAT (no curve). THIS IS HUGE.
  2. Keep soft bend in knees and soft bend in elbows.
  3. Hold DB with palms facing down (full pronation). If you have shoulder issues (impingement, bursitis, etc.) this may be painful. If painful – do not full pronate hands and keep wrists more in neutral position (palms facing in)
  4. Squeeze shoulder blades down and back: lock those shoulder blades in. THIS IS HUGE.

 How to Complete:

  1. With keeping shoulder blades down and back, drive ELBOWS up.
  2. Focus on keeping elbows high the entire time. Don’t let them drop!
  3. Breath out HARD when driving elbows up
  4. Slowly return to position at the bottom.
  5. DONE

 How People Cheat if it is TOO Heavy:

  • You will see people excessively bending at hips, knees, or back more in order to use that momentum to get the weight up. If you have to swing your body to get the weight up… it’s too heavy!
  • **Put top of head against wall or bench pad to restrict motion. This will help your body fro not swinging.

 How to Increase Difficulty:

  • Increase weight
  • Isolate certain ranges of motion:
    • Work only from halfway down to full extension, work from starting position to halfway down, etc.
  • Hold DB from head of DB instead of bar. Will create longer lever arm so more difficult!
  • Complete isometric hold with one while doing reps with the other
  • Single arm: load body on one side so obliques have to work more

 How to Make Easier:

  • Bend elbows so your elbows are at 90 degrees instead of more extended.
    • This will shorten lever arm so not as hard to do. Still focus on lever arm!

 ***Biggest key is the elbow drive! Focus on pronating your hands entirely (palms facing down) and drive that elbow up! Keep that elbow high! NOW GO KILL IT! As always, train hard and train smart!

Kelsey uses the Max Effort Muscle Post Workout to help kick cravings and recover faster while she is cutting!