Build Broader Shoulders With The Dumbbell Reverse Flye

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There are many benefits to building stronger, broader shoulders. Sure, some of them are aesthetic, because wide shoulders help you fill out T-shirts like nobody’s business, but there are also more practical benefits, like better posture, improved performance on other lifts to help you build strength and greater resistance to injury. And when it comes to broadening your Noddy Holders, there are few better exercises than the dumbbell reverse flye.

The reverse flye hits the side and rear parts of your shoulders as effectively as any other exercise, which will contribute greatly to building broader shoulders. The move also helps to improve stability in your shoulder girdle and rotator cuff muscles. These are both areas that can be injury-prone when doing weighted exercises that involve the shoulder joint, so the stability benefits of the reverse flye will please all keen gym-goers. Furthermore, it’s a great exercise for those worried about their posture, because it strengthens the shoulders in a manner that counters the hunched position many of us adopt at a desk all day.

However, all these benefits depend on you doing the dumbbell reverse flye with proper form and often that’s dictated by picking the right weight. It’s vital not to try to lift too heavy with this exercise, because that can pull you out of shape and risk putting too much stress through the shoulder joint. Go light – and always remember, what feels fine on the first rep can be torturously heavy by the fifth.

How To Do A Dumbbell Reverse Flye

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a light dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other. Lean forwards from the hips, keeping your chest up, core and glutes braced and keep your back, with the weights hanging forward in front of you and a slight bend in your elbows.

Keeping the bend in your elbows and leading with them, raise the dumbbells out to the side until they reach shoulder height. Pause at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then lower them back to the start.

It’s vital to engage your muscles to lift and lower the weight, rather than relying on momentum to swing them up and down. Using momentum means you won’t work the target muscles effectively and exposes your shoulder joint to a significant risk of injury.

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.