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Cable Rear Delt Fly – Learn Proper Form, Muscles Used, Benefits And Variations

The reverse cable fly, also known as the cable rear delt fly, is a deltoid muscle strengthening and definition exercise. It’s one of the best isolation exercises for your back and posterior deltoid.
This workout targets your posterior (back) deltoids while using a range of upper body muscles.

Simply put, understanding the cable rear delt fly will boost your shoulder exercise program dramatically.

One of the most impressive qualities on a lifter, possibly the most impressive, depending on who you ask, is a powerful back with strong rear delts. There’s a valid explanation behind this. A large, defined back looks incredibly intimidating and exudes dominance. While the chest contains two pecs, the back is covered in a variety of muscles, emphasizing their significance. There’s nothing wrong with deadlifts, back rows, and pull-ups. These are all excellent workouts for moving heavy weights and generating maximum strength and growth. Start executing the cable rear delt fly stated above to really cause your muscles to pop.

The cable rear delt fly is an isolation exercise that allows you to focus on certain muscles. To get the most out of this exercise, you must first comprehend what it does and how to do it correctly. We will cover that and a number of variations in this article, but first, let’s learn about rear delt anatomy.

Rear Delt Muscle Anatomy

The rear delts are one of three sets of muscle fibers in your deltoids, with the front and lateral delts being the other two.

The infraspinatus and teres minor, two rotator cuff muscles, are partially covered by your rear delts, which come from the spine of your shoulder blade.

Rear Delt Muscle Anatomy

Your rear deltoid inserts on the outside of your upper arm, allowing it to both extend (= pull your arm back in a row) and externally rotate your shoulder.

In shoulder extension, it works in tandem with your lats, and in external shoulder rotation, it works in tandem with your infraspinatus and teres minor.

Your arm is also abducted by the upper regions of your posterior delts.

How To Do The Cable Rear Delt Fly 

  • Adjust the weight and the pulleys to the right height. You should be able to see the pulleys because they should be above your head.
  • With your right hand, grab the left pulley, and with your left hand, grab the right pulley, crossing them in front of you. This is where you’ll begin your journey.
  • Start the movement by moving your arms back and forth while keeping your arms straight.
  • Pause at the finish of the move for a brief moment before returning the handles to their starting positions.

Cable Rear Delt Fly Muscles Worked

Obviously, the rear delts play a big role in the rear delt fly. While the cable rear delt fly is frequently referred to as an “isolation” action, it actually works a lot more muscles than simply the deltoids. The truth is, a number of muscles perform an important role in the body, and not merely as “stabilizers.” The muscles utilized in the cable rear delt fly are listed below.

Rear Delts (Posterior Deltoids)

The back deltoid is a major mover in this exercise, as the name says. There are three heads to the shoulder muscle (deltoids). Because the shoulder joint is a “ball-and-socket” joint, these heads are required. Because these are the most mobile joints, these three heads must move the arm in a variety of directions.

The rear deltoid sits on the posterior of the body and is responsible for what would be regarded as “pulling” movements and often interacts synergistically with other back muscles. Shoulder horizontal abduction, as observed during the rear fly, is one of the key movements it controls.

Traps (Trapezius Muscle)

The trapezius, sometimes known as the “traps,” is a powerful set of muscles located in the middle of the back. The traps are divided into three sections.

Upper Traps– This muscle goes virtually shoulder to shoulder across the top of the upper back. It also extends from the base of your skull to the top of your neck.
Middle Traps– This part spans from the spine to the scapula and is about as wide as your complete shoulder joint.
Lower Traps– This is the most significant section. It begins to taper off as it runs down the back, starting from the middle traps. It eventually comes to an end around halfway down the back.
Scapular retraction and control is the fundamental function of each part, which varies significantly. Scapular retraction is required for practically every posterior motion, including the rear delt fly, for maximal effect AND damage prevention. As a result, it aids shoulder abduction in a synergistic manner.

Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus

Half of the rotator cuff muscles are made up of two tiny muscles called the infraspinatus and supraspinatus. They have an important role in strengthening the shoulder capsule and assisting with arm abduction, despite their tiny size. The scapula, rotator cuff, and shoulder are all supported by these two tiny muscles.


Major rhomboids and minor rhomboids are the two types of rhomboids. The minor rhomboid lies superior (above) the major rhomboid, forming a rhomboid-shaped muscle. They connect the scapula to the spine and reside beneath the trapezius muscle. They work in a similar way to the traps in retracting the scapula and stabilizing the scapula.

Teres Major and Minor

From the humerus to the scapula, the teres major and minor run. They have an important role in drawing the arm back and providing stability, despite their small size. These muscles also assist the posterior deltoid in guiding its motion by preventing the humeral head from moving higher as the arm is abducted. During abduction, it also functions in tandem with the posterior deltoid.


When it comes to pulling activities, the triceps are generally overlooked. The triceps, on the other hand, are quite important. The arms must be stretched and held as they are pulled back during the exercise. Due to the need for resistance in the hands, the elbow will desire to flex to relieve the stress. Because you don’t want this to happen, the triceps must activate in order to maintain an isometric contraction. You’ll quickly discover whether you have weak triceps if you do rear delt flies.

Forearm Extensors

The forearm extensors perform similarly to the triceps, but their primary function is to maintain a stable wrist.

Cable Rear Delt Fly Benefits

Works And Strengthens Rear Delts

It’s no secret that shoulder training is essential for a well-rounded physique. The appearance of your delts can be greatly improved by having well-developed delts. Most individuals, however, tend to overlook the fact that the three heads of the shoulder serve very diverse purposes. Most people exercise their shoulders with exercises like shoulder presses, later rises, and upright rows. There’s nothing wrong with those; they’re excellent shoulder exercises that you should be doing.

However, you should know that most of your shoulder workouts, only target two heads: the anterior delt (front) and the lateral head (side). The posterior delt, often known as the back delt, is absent from shoulder exercises. To be fair, almost every pulling exercise involves a lot of training for the posterior delt. When it comes to isolating the muscle, however, it is frequently overlooked. Including the cable rear delt fly will ensure that you train this deltoid head. Plus, it might just jog your memory and remind you that you have posterior delts.

Enhances Posture

Unfortunately, many people’s posture needs to be improved. Many posterior pulling movements are one of the finest strategies to achieve this. While rows do a lot of the heavy lifting, employing an exercise that allows for a lot of volume is a great way to balance out the amount of work in front of the body, both in motions and in daily life, such as writing or typing.

Include a lot of cable rear delt flyes in your routine if you have bad posture. This exercise can be used as a mobility or warm-up exercise rather than a “strength” exercise. This means you do it every session with minimal weight and a high number of reps.

Strengthens the entire shoulder complex as well as the muscles of the scapula

You observed that the rear delt fly strengthens a wide variety of muscles, including the rotator cuff muscles and the scapular muscles, in addition to training the rear delt. This is critical since injuries are frequently caused by poor scapular control and weak rotator cuffs. “Strong things don’t shatter,” as the saying goes (or, “Weak things break easier”).

You don’t want to shatter your shoulder, yet doing rear delt flys strengthens it, so do them.

Cable Rear Delt Fly Variations

1. Bent-over Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Bent-over Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Grab a couple of dumbbells for this rear delt fly variant if you prefer to exercise with free weights rather than cables. To bring your arms straight out to the side, hinge at the waist, engage your core, and retract your shoulders.

Return to the starting position and repeat in a controlled manner!

2. Bent-over Cable Rear Delt Fly

The cable rear delt fly can also be done in a bent-over position. Instead, lower the pulleys, hinge at the waist so that your back is parallel to the ground, and retract your rear delts to raise the weight.

At the top of each rep, you should feel a comparable pinch in your shoulder blades.

Take Away

For a large percentage of lifters, back training is a favorite. It allows you to use heavyweight, and a large, thick back exudes strength. All of the hard lifting is beneficial, but diversity is necessary for effective back conditioning. With the large weights, you should take it easy and focus solely on the burn.

Because it uses a little load and requires a strong mind-muscle connection, the cable rear delt fly is the ideal exercise. It also trains the posterior muscles in a functional manner while allowing you to train various muscles with a single joint exercise.

Serious lifters should consider cable rear delt flyes.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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