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Cable Rear Delt Fly: Unleashing the Power of Posterior Shoulders

Unlock the potential of your posterior deltoids with the Cable Rear Delt Fly, a cornerstone exercise for shoulder health and aesthetics.

Often overshadowed by more popular front and side delt exercises, the Cable Rear Delt Fly is the unsung hero that can provide balance and symmetry to your physique.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the mechanics, benefits, and execution of this pivotal movement.

With a focus on form, function, and finesse, we'll explore how the Cable Rear Delt Fly not only enhances muscle definition but also fortifies shoulder stability and function.

From gym novices to seasoned athletes, it's time to turn the spotlight on one of the most effective exercises for achieving a well-rounded shoulder workout.

What is the Cable Rear Delt Fly?

Credits: Luke Hoffman

The Cable Rear Delt Fly is a resistance training exercise that targets the rear deltoids, the often-neglected muscles at the back of the shoulder.

Performed using a cable machine, it involves pulling the handles outward, away from the midline of the body, and engaging the rear deltoids in a flying motion.

Isolating the rear deltoids can be challenging, but the Cable Rear Delt Fly provides a movement that specifically targets these muscles, promoting balanced shoulder development and improved posture.

It’s an essential exercise for those looking to enhance the overall appearance and strength of their shoulders.

This exercise is commonly integrated into upper body or shoulder-specific workout routines.

It's versatile enough to serve as a warm-up for shoulder activation or as a muscle-defining finisher. The Cable Rear Delt Fly is adaptable to various fitness levels, making it a staple in both beginner and advanced training programs.

The Purpose of the Cable Rear Delt Fly

Credits: BullFit

The primary purpose of the Cable Rear Delt Fly is to develop the posterior aspect of the shoulder muscles. This development is not just important for bodybuilders aiming for a 3D shoulder look but also for anyone interested in maintaining a balanced and functional upper body.

By strengthening the rear deltoids, the Cable Rear Delt Fly contributes significantly to the stability of the shoulder girdle. This stability is crucial for the prevention of injuries, especially for athletes involved in overhead sports or occupations requiring repetitive arm movements.

In today's forward-leaning society, where many individuals spend hours hunched over computers, muscular imbalances are common. The Cable Rear Delt Fly serves to counteract these imbalances by strengthening the muscles that are often weakened by poor posture.

Muscles Worked by the Cable Rear Delt Fly

Cable Rear Delt Fly

Primary Muscle Group: Rear Deltoids

As the name suggests, the Cable Rear Delt Fly primarily targets the rear deltoids. These muscles are key players in shoulder horizontal abduction and are essential for movements that require you to move your arms away from your body.

Engaging Supporting Muscles

Secondary muscles engaged during the exercise include the rhomboids and middle trapezius. These muscles contribute to retracting the shoulder blades, making the Cable Rear Delt Fly a comprehensive exercise for the upper back as well.

Rotator Cuff Activation

The rotator cuff muscles also play a supportive role in this exercise, as they are involved in the stabilization of the shoulder joint throughout the movement. This engagement helps to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which are vital for shoulder health.

How to Perform the Cable Rear Delt Fly

Setting Up the Machine

To perform the Cable Rear Delt Fly, start by adjusting the pulleys on a cable machine to shoulder height. Select an appropriate weight that allows you to perform the exercise with proper form while still challenging your muscles.

Executing the Movement

Grasp the handles with opposite hands (right hand to left pulley and vice versa) and step into a staggered stance for stability. With a slight bend in your elbows, pull the handles outwards and back, keeping your chest up and core engaged.

Form and Precision

Maintaining proper form is crucial. The movement should be slow and controlled, with a focus on feeling the rear deltoids working. Avoid using momentum to swing the weights, as this can lead to injury and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

5. Variations of the Cable Rear Delt Fly

The seated variation helps to stabilize the body and isolate the rear deltoids further. It eliminates the assistance from the lower body, ensuring the rear deltoids are doing the bulk of the work.

Performing the exercise with one arm at a time allows for increased concentration on each rear deltoid. It also helps in identifying and correcting any muscle imbalances between the two sides.

Using an incline bench to perform the Cable Rear Delt Fly changes the angle of pull and can help target the rear deltoids differently. This variation can be beneficial for those looking to add diversity to their shoulder training.


The Cable Rear Delt Fly is not just another shoulder exercise; it's a critical component of a well-rounded strength program. Through this guide, we've highlighted the significance of the rear deltoids for both aesthetics and function.

Incorporating the Cable Rear Delt Fly into your routine can lead to impressive gains in shoulder strength, improved posture, and a balanced physique.

Remember, the journey to robust shoulders is a combination of consistent effort, proper technique, and progressive overload.

With the Cable Rear Delt Fly in your arsenal, you're well on your way to unlocking the full potential of your posterior deltoids.


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