This is a more technical exercise than some and form is important. This is more than just flapping your wings as we often see happen at the local gym. Choose lighter weights to begin as you work to understand form cues and where you should feel this exercise. Gradually increase the weight to a level where you can complete your set but would not be able to do 5-8 more repetitions.
How to do a Bent Over Reverse Fly
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip-width apart and hinge forward from the hips. Your knees should have a slight bend and your torso will almost be parallel to the ground.
Keep your back flat with your core engaged and your head in alignment with your spine. This is important to protect your back. Keep your ears down from your shoulders and your shoulder blades down. Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders with your palms facing each other and maintain a slight bend in your elbows.
Slowly raise the dumbbells by moving your arms apart and leading with your elbows. Do not raise your arms higher than your body. Slowly control the weights and bring your arms back to the starting position.
Make sure you back stays flat and your chest open. Make sure you are not feeling this in your low back by keeping your core engaged. Work to feel this in the upper back and shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the motion. We like to cue people to think of cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades at the top of the motion. The shoulder joint is the only joint moving and only your arms should move. Keep your upper body still and do not use momentum to swing the weights.
Choose Your Fly
If you feel this exercise in your low back, try moving one foot forward a few inches.
This exercise can also be done seated on a bench or chair. Lean forward when seated and perform the same movement. We happen to like the standing bent over row because it forces an emphasis on core and glute engagement to maintain the pose.
For those of you with tight hamstrings you may find you need to have slightly more of a knee bend to keep this out of your back or hamstrings.
Building strength takes time and consistency. Add Bent Over Reverse Flies as a regular exercise to counteract the loss of muscle that can happen as we age.