Rear Delt Fly: Secret to 3D Shoulders

Rear Delt Fly

Rear Delt Fly Exercise: This is one of the most ignored exercises which no trainers advises you to do. One of the main reasons why your shoulders are not having that 3D delts look.

You all train your front delts, middle delts, but never train your rear delts. If you won't target your muscle from all the sides, it won't grow properly.

Today, we are going to talk about this most ignored part of the shoulder muscles and some of the best exercises to train it.

We are going to talk about all the basic variations, steps to do, benefits, and mistakes of this movement. You can choose one and you do not have to perform all of them at one single workout session.

However, you should try to change and try the other variations after some weeks. For instance, stick to one for 6-8 weeks, then include the another one in your routine.

Let's get started!

Machine Rear Delt Fly

You may have seen this machine in the gym. Many of the peck deck (butterfly) machine have this function too.

In this exercise, we are going to target the back portion of your shoulders mainly.

So, how to start this exercise. Firstly, adjust the machine height so that the handles come across your shoulder level and the chest must be firmly pressing against the cushion.

After getting into position, make sure your core is tight before starting the exercise. Next, hold the handles of the rear delt fly machine, activate your shoulder muscles.
Rear Delt Fly

Then, start the movement by pulling the handles towards your back. Make sure to start with a light weight which is easy to handle, else you can get yourself injured.

Do not over extend the arms, else you may get your back muscles engaged. Do this for 10-12 repetitions and 3 sets.

This is one of the exercise where you may not go too heavy, but the proper mind muscle connection will help you activate your rear delts.

Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

Next variation in our list in which we are going to use the dumbbells instead of the machine. It is easy to do and you can do this one at home also if you have a pair of dumbbells.

Start the movement by standing with the feet shoulder width apart. Bend down until you get into the position of the barbell bent over rows.

Your back should be straight with no curve. Pull the dumbbells upwards and feel the contraction at the top. 

dumbbell rear delt fly

Do this for 8-12 reps and perform 3 sets.

Make sure to not go too heavy in the beginning with the dumbbells as it will lead to injury in the muscles or joints.

This variation can be done in both positions, i.e, standing (by bending) and sitting on a bench. 

If you prefer to do it on a bench, you have to bend so as to engage the rear delts before starting the movement.

Also, you can mix both by doing one form on one day and the other one in the next week.

Cable Rear Delt Fly

Next is the rear delt cable fly, a great isolation movement for your shoulders. This is a variation in which you will feel an insane pump and activation of the delts.

A cable machine is required for this workout. Set the cable pulley at a height which is slightly above your head.

Cable Rear Delt Flyes

Hold the handles (pulleys) with your opposite hands. In simple words, pull the left one with your right hand and vice versa.

Move one step back to create good activation of the deltoid muscles. Then start pulling the weights in a cross body manner.

Do not over extend at the back. Perform in a slow and controlled way to feel the muscle activation. Keep your core stable.

Try to aim for doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps each.

Rear Delt Flyes Muscles Worked

The muscles worked in these exercises are:

  • Back portion of your shoulders (Main, Primary): Rear delts are the primary muscles worked by doing this exercise.

  • Upper Back: Apart from the delts, it also works the upper back muscles like traps. This is the reason some people train it on back day. However, I prefer to include it on the shoulder day.

  • Shoulders


Now, I am going to write about the benefits of doing this exercise in your workout routine

Round 3D Delts

You may be training the shoulders using the best shoulder exercises. But, most of us tend to forget this portion of the shoulders which is the rear part.

If you want round 3d look in your shoulders, you must train it from all the angle, which are front, middle and back.

Most of us keep doing exercises like military press, side raise, front raise, etc but ignore this one. This is why I thought of writing this post to help my fellow gym mates!

Aesthetics In Outfit

When you wear any outfit like t-shirt or shirt, shoulders are a major part that comes into eye contact. Therefore, a well developed shoulders will make you look aesthetic and fit in any outfit.

Apart from that, you should also try to develop and grow your arms if you want to look more muscular!

It is said first impression is the last impression. Your looks constitute a major part of your first impression.

In addition, if you look fit, it shows that you are a disciplined person who follows good diet and exercise routine.

Helps other Movements

Shoulder muscles (delts) are used in various other workout movements such as bench press, deadlifts, shoulder press. If you will develop strength in one muscle, it will subsequently help the other muscle training too.

For instance, while training back, biceps are used greatly. That's the reason your biceps get pumped up after a back workout.

If the secondary muscles involved in an exercise are strong, it helps to lift more in other compounds too.

Shoulder Strength Development

Shoulders are a major part of the upper body training program. The rear delt flyes exercise helps to develop the shoulders and thus a proper upper-lower body ratio.

Most people keep training their chest and back muscles, but they don't know that shoulders play a major role in those movements too.

If you will have strong shoulders, it will benefit your overall upper body workout by providing intensity and strength.

In addition, muscular shoulders also look good. You may have seen many people with huge back and muscular chest, but their shoulders look extremely small and not in proportion.

You must focus on growing each muscle properly and not only the ones that you love to train!

Rear Delt Fly Mistakes

Now, moving on to the most common mistakes of these exercises so that you don't do them at least. 

I focus on covering every single aspect of any thing I write about so that you become perfect in that after reading my blog.

Overextending Backwards

While doing machine rear delt flyes, I have often seen people overextending their arms backwards. This will activate your back muscles.

Our focus is targeting the rear delts through this exercise and not the back muscles.

Make sure you go till your arms are by your sides and not far beyond that while doing this exercise.

Half Reps

People often do half reps in order to lift very heavy weights. They don't know that it is doing no benefit.

What is more important is doing the exercise with weights that you can easily handle and with a proper full range of motion

Rather than jerking with heavy weights where they become prone to injury.

Always make sure to use the weight or dumbbells that you can handle. I say again and again the word "heavy" means different for all persons.

Perfect the form first, then increase the weights gradually. 

Round Back

While performing most of the exercises like rear delt flyes, bent over rows, deadlifts, etc, back must be straight.

A straight back means no curve in the spine. 

For ensuring a straight and stable spine, you can perform this exercise in front of a mirror so that you are sure that there is no arch.

Ego Lifting

Ego lifting is the most common cause of the gym injuries. As you may have seen in most of the "gym fails" videos, the person getting injured is the one who has picked a weight which is far more than his capacity.

I want you guys to make this a thumb rule for your workouts, never do ego lifting.

We are going to the gym to make our body, not destroy it!

Pick a weight according to your capacity so that you can perform slow and controlled reps rather than jerking.


I hope you got some value from this post on rear delt fly exercise. I tried to cover every possible topic on this exercise including the variations, steps, benefits and mistakes.

Share this post with your friends if you liked it. Also, drop a comment down below regarding your feedback and suggestions for upcoming posts!

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