Machine reverse fly Why and how

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To develop your upper back, do 10 to 20 sets per week, divided into several exercises. One of these is the popular reverse fly machine, also called rear delt fly machine.


With the reverse fly machine you primarily train the back of your shoulders, or the rear delts. This muscle group is often neglected because only general back exercises are done. Training this muscle is important because it ensures that your shoulders grow proportionally and can reduce the risk of injuries.

With the reverse fly machine you also train other muscle groups in the back. These are all:

  • back of shoulders (posterior deltoid);
  • trapezius;
  • rhomboid;
  • infraspinatus;
  • teres major and minor.

You see, these are all muscle groups that determine the thickness of your back, or the volume seen from the side. You often see that the back of the shoulders in particular is flat, which is why you should also do targeted exercises.

The latissimus dorsi hardly comes into action during the reverse fly machine.


You can train your rear delts in different ways. The most popular exercise is the machine reverse fly, because it is more comfortable and stable than similar exercises with free weights. Using a machine also prevents you from using momentum to ‘cheat’.

You will obviously need a reverse fly machine for this exercise. This is available in the vast majority of gyms, often combined with the chest fly machine.


You do the machine reverse fly as follows.


Adjust the handles and seat so that when you sit and grasp the handles, they are aligned with your shoulders, and your hands are as close together as possible.

Sit on the chair with your chest against the cushion and plant your feet on the floor. Then reach forward and grab the handles.

You can grip the handles both underhand and overhand. The difference? Overhand you place a little more emphasis on the rhomboid muscle, with underhand you place emphasis on the middle part of the trapezius. The standard is overhand, so with your palms facing down, but you can also do both variations if you prefer.


While keeping your elbows slightly bent, push your hands away from each other. Keep pushing until your arms point straight out to your sides (or slightly behind your body).


Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.

Do the exercise in a controlled manner, but not excessively slowly.


Watch the full instructional video here.


There are other ways to train your rear delts:

  • dumbbell rear lateral raise (standing or sitting);
  • cable machine reverse fly;
  • barbell rear delt row.

See also our article about training the rear delts.


The basis of your back training is formed by pulls (horizontal and vertical); flyes, such as the reverse fly machine, are an important addition to this.

Cover image: Mind Pump TV

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