How to Do rear delt swings for A Strong and Defined Upper Back

The rear delt swings are an important exercise for developing a strong and defined upper back. It specifically targets the rear delts, which are the muscles located at the back of the shoulder and are responsible for shoulder extension and external rotation. Performing this exercise regularly can help to build the strength and definition of the rear delts, creating a balanced look for the upper body.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to do a rear delt fly with proper form and technique for maximum results.

in this picture a man perform rear delt swings
Rear Delt Flyes

The Muscles Used in rear delt swings

Rear delt flys are a great exercise for building up your upper back and giving you that defined look. This exercise targets the muscles of the posterior deltoid, which is the back part of the shoulder. It is also sometimes called a rear delt fly, reverse pec deck fly, cable rear delt swing, dumbbell rear delt fly, seated rear delt fly, or chest-supported rear delt fly.
The best way to perform the exercise is with a reverse pec deck machine. It allows you to easily adjust the range of motion and keep good form while targeting your back muscles. However, you can also do this exercise with a cable machine, dumbbells, or even single-arm rear delt swings.
Your posterior deltoids are responsible for shoulder abduction (moving your arms away from your body) and internal rotation (rotating your arm inward).
By performing the exercise regularly, you can strengthen these muscles and create a more defined upper back. It’s important to maintain good form while performing the exercise so that you can target these muscles effectively.

The Form

When performing rear delt swings, it is important to focus on proper form in order to get the most out of the exercise and avoid injury. There are several variations of rear delt fly including cable rear delt fly, dumbbell rear delt fly, reverse pec deck fly, chest supported rear delt fly, high cable rear delt fly, and single arm rear delt fly.
For cable rear delt swings, stand facing away from a cable machine with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bent at the knees. Keeping your back straight, grasp the handle and bring your arms out to the side, bending slightly at the elbows.
Dumbbell rear delt flies can be done either standing or seated. When standing, keep your core engaged and a slight bend in your knees while holding two dumbbells at your sides. Seated rear delt flies can be done on a bench or Swiss ball. Keep your abs engaged and back straight throughout the exercise.

Reverse pec deck flys

Reverse pec deck flies involve sitting on a reverse pec deck machine and grasping both handles. With your back straight, extend your arms out to the side.
High cable rear delt swings involve using an adjustable pulley machine. Place one handle at the top of the pulley machine and stand facing away from it with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, extend both arms out to the side as far as possible.
The chest-supported rear delt swings involve lying face down on a bench with the pulleys set at shoulder level. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, extend your arms out to the side before slowly returning to starting position.
For single-arm rear delt flys, start by standing with a light weight in one hand, keeping your elbow slightly bent and core engaged. Extend your arm out to the side while squeezing your shoulder blade together and pause before returning to starting position.
By focusing on proper form while performing rear delt flys, you can work all of the muscles used in this exercise and maximize its benefits.

The Benefits

Rear delt flys are an essential exercise for sculpting and strengthening the back of your upper body. This type of move targets the rear deltoid muscle, which is a muscle in the shoulder that is often neglected in traditional strength training exercises. There are several variations of rear delt swings, such as the reverse pec deck fly, cable rear delt fly, dumbbell rear delt fly, seated rear delt fly, and high cable rear delt fly.
The primary muscles worked during rear delt flys are the rear deltoids, but this exercise can also help to activate other surrounding muscles, such as your posterior rotator cuff muscles, middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and teres major. Ultimately, regular practice of rear delt swings can lead to improved shoulder joint strength, posture, and overall muscular development in your upper back.

The Set Up

Rear Delt Flyes Upper Back
Rear Delt Flyes

When it comes to setting up for rear delt flys, there are several options. For beginners, using a reverse pec deck machine or a cable rear delt swings can be a great way to start. These machines allow you to keep good form while gradually increasing the resistance.
If you’re looking to incorporate more free weight into your routine, dumbbell rear delt flies and seated rear delt flies are both effective exercises. To perform a dumbbell rear delt swings, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length in front of you with palms facing inward. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your chest lifted as you slowly raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides, aiming for shoulder height.
High cable rear delt flies are another great option for building strength and size. To set up for this exercise, attach a straight bar or single-handled cable attachment to the top of a cable machine and set the weight to your desired level. Hold the handle with both hands at chest height and slowly move it behind you and out to your sides. Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight throughout the motion.
Single-arm rear delt flies, chest-supported rear delt flies, and reverse pec deck flies are all variations on the classic rear delt swings. Each offers its own unique benefits, so experiment to find which version best suits your individual goals. Whichever variation you choose, proper form is key—the goal is to really target the rear delt muscles without recruiting other muscles in the shoulder or upper back region.

Progressions and Variations

Once you’ve mastered the standard rear delt fly, you can challenge yourself with more challenging variations. The reverse pec deck fly, also known as a cable rear delt fly, is similar to the regular rear delt fly but is done on a machine with a reversed grip. This variation puts more emphasis on the rear delt muscles and allows for a deeper stretch at the bottom of the movement.
For an even greater challenge, you can try a single-arm rear delt fly. This exercise is performed with one hand on the handle of the machine and the other hand balancing you on the side of the machine. This variation will help to improve your core stability and balance, as well as target the rear delts from a different angle.

Seated rear delt swings

For a completely different approach, try seated rear delt flies. This exercise uses lighter weights than other variations and focuses on slow, controlled movements. Seated rear delt flies are great for building muscular endurance and working the smaller muscles of the shoulder.
Another great option is chest-supported rear delt flys. This variation utilizes a flat bench or incline bench and focuses on deep stretches and range of motion. Chest-supported rear delt flys are a great way to isolate the rear delts and reduce stress on your lower back.
Finally, you can add variety to your routine by doing high cable rear delt flys. This variation is done on a cable machine and requires you to pull the weight up and across your body. High cable rear delt flys are great for building strength in the upper back and targeting the smaller muscles of the shoulder.
No matter what variation you choose, make sure to keep your form and posture perfect throughout each set. Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with heavier weights as you progress.

Tips For Success rear delt swings

When it comes to getting the most out of your rear delt swings, proper form and technique are key. To ensure you get the most out of your rear delt fly workout, here are some tips for success:

  • Start with a lighter weight: When starting out, it’s best to use a lighter weight until you get the form down. Not only will this help prevent injury, but it will also help ensure that you are engaging the right muscles while doing the exercise.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush through the movement. Pause at the top and bottom of each rep to ensure you’re feeling the muscles working.
  • Focus on using your rear delts: You want to be sure that you’re targeting the correct muscles with your rear delt fly. Keep your elbows close together and don’t let them flare out, and focus on feeling the muscles in your upper back contracting with each rep.
  • Vary your rear delt exercises: There are several different types of rear delt flys that you can do, such as reverse pec deck fly, seated rear delt fly, high cable rear delt swings, chest supported rear delt fly, single arm rear delt fly, rear cable fly, and dumbbell rear delt fly. Try mixing up your routine and include different variations in order to keep your muscles challenged and progressing.
  • Experiment with tempo: The tempo of your reps can have an effect on the muscles being worked. Play around with slower or faster tempos to find which one works best for you.
    Following these tips will help you get the most out of your rear delt fly workouts. With proper form and technique, you’ll be able to build strength and definition in your upper back while avoiding injury.


Q: What are the differences between a cable rear delt fly and a dumbbell rear delt fly?

A: Cable rear delt flys offer more resistance and allow for better control of the movement, while dumbbell rear delt flys provide more freedom and range of motion. Both variations will be effective at targeting the posterior delts.

Q: What is a single-arm rear delt fly?

A: A single-arm rear delt fly is a unilateral variation of the rear delt fly that targets one side of the body at a time. This exercise can be done with either dumbbells or cables.

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