HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Cable Rear Delt Fly

How To: Cable Rear Delt Fly

Cable Rear Delt Fly
When training shoulders most guys neglect their rear deltoids! The anterior and medial deltoids receive all the love from presses and lateral raises, however the 'out of side, out of mind' mentality seems to come into play when it comes to the rear (posterior) deltoids!

The cable rear delt fly is a fantastic exercise to hone in on the rear delts and show them some love.

Opt to perform this exercise on shoulder day, back day or if you're encountering issues with them lagging behind then hit it twice a week!

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Shoulders

Required: Cable Machine + Handle Attachments

Optional: N/A

Cable Rear Delt Fly Form:

Flex at the hips to bend over in front of your cable machine before grasping the left handle in your right handle and the right handle in your left hand (your arms will be crossing over).

With your palms facing each other keep your back straight as you bend your waist in order to get down into position with your torso as parallel to the floor as possible.

While maintaining this position with your torso bend your elbows slightly while contracting your shoulder blades to lift the handles up until parallel to the floor.

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Hold this contracted position for 1 second.

Slowly lower the cable handles until they're in front of your legs once again while still maintaining the slight bend in your elbow

Cable Rear Delt Fly Variations

Bent Over Rear Delt Fly

Instead of sitting on the edge of a flat bench perform the rear delt fly standing up while bent over, this variation increases core activation.
Be wary of form while performing the standing rear delt fly as jerking and momentum often comes into play through the knees.

Reverse Pec Deck Fly

Adjust the pec deck machine arms and sit on the seat backwards and voila! You've got a rear delt fly machine.
I personally find the dumbbell variations of the rear delt fly to be superior to the machine variation as the machines range of motion is locked in place - not an ideal plane of movement for everybody.

Common Cable Rear Delt Fly Mistakes

Not Hitting All Parts Of The Deltoid

Your shoulder is not just made up of one muscle, the shoulder is comprised of 3 ‘heads’, these are known as:

  • The anterior deltoid (the front of your shoulder)
  • The medial deltoid (the side of your shoulder)
  • The posterior deltoid (the rear of your shoulder)

If you are not training all 3 heads you will not get round, full shoulders.

See also
How To: Tate Press

Shoulder training is based around 2 main movements, presses and raises, the traditional dumbbell and barbell presses are a great starting exercise for your shoulder routine as they are a compound exercise (and therefore hit all heads of the deltoid) we can then hone in on the anterior, medial and posterior heads individually through different variations of raises.

Bouncing The Weight

Your stance should be shoulder width and you should maintain a slight bend in your knee (I have seen quite a few people performing standing shoulder exercises with locked out knees, however for stability and reduced risk of injury a slightly bent knee is superior).

At the bottom of the repetition you pause for a split second before proceeding with the following rep – no bouncing.

Using A Partial Range Of Motion

Partial reps can be used to push yourself beyond your point of failure at the end of your set, however strict, full range of motion must be practiced first.

Poor Scheduling Of Your Shoulder Workout

I highly recommend having at least 1 day between your chest and shoulder workouts.
The flat barbell bench press, incline bench press and dips place a large amount of tension on the front deltoids (even though the chest is the primary muscle targeted during this exercise).
If you’re going straight from a heavy chest workout on Monday into a shoulder workout on Tuesday you won’t be getting the best bang for your buck out of your workout – your shoulders will be recovering and from my experience you won’t be able to lift anywhere near as heavy as if they were fresh.

See also
How To: Seated Machine Row

Ongoing, excessive amounts of stress placed on the shoulders can result in a shoulder impingement which’ll have you out of performing the vast majority of upper body exercises for weeks if not months, not good.

If you’re strapped for time and can only train three times a week the push/pull/legs workout regime is an option which hits both chest and shoulders in the same (push) workout however if you’re able to train 5 days a week I recommend performing a split in the following order:


Alternatively, through a leg or rest day between your chest and shoulder workouts.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise
  • Arnold Press
  • Reverse Pec Deck Fly

Any Questions Regarding The Cable Rear Delt Fly? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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