The reverse cable fly is a popular exercise in strength training and body building. It primarily targets the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, helping to improve posture and overall upper body strength. In this article, we’ll explore the reverse cable fly in detail, from its execution to its benefits and variations.

Muscles Targeted

The reverse cable fly primarily targets the following muscles:

– Rear deltoids (posterior deltoids)


– Trapezius (upper and middle fibers)

– Rotator cuff muscles

Equipment and Setup

To perform a reverse cable fly, you’ll need access to a cable machine with an adjustable pulley and a pair of D-handles. Here’s how to set up the equipment:

  1. Attach the D-handles to the high pulleys on the cable machine.
  2. Set the pulleys at chest height.
  3. Stand in the center of the machine, gripping one handle in each hand.

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Proper Form

To execute the reverse cable fly correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold the D-handles with your palms facing each other, arms extended in front of you.
  3. Engage your core and keep a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. Begin the movement by pulling the handles apart and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  5. Maintain a controlled motion as you return to the starting position, keeping a slight bend in your elbows throughout.


Variations of the reverse cable fly can target different aspects of your upper back and shoulders. Some popular variations include:

– Low-pulley reverse cable fly: This variation involves setting the pulleys low and pulling the handles upward, targeting the lower part of your rear deltoids and upper back.

– Single-arm reverse cable fly: By performing the exercise one arm at a time, you can isolate each side of your upper back.

– Reverse cable fly on an incline bench: This variation provides a different angle of motion, intensifying the workout for your upper back and shoulders.

Benefits of Reverse Cable Fly

The reverse cable fly offers several benefits, including:

– Improved posture by strengthening the upper back.

– Enhanced shoulder stability and mobility.

– Targeting often neglected muscles, reducing the risk of muscle imbalances.

– Building overall upper body strength. 

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes when performing the reverse cable fly:

– Using excessive weight, which can compromise form and lead to injury.

– Swinging or using momentum to lift the weight.

– Not squeezing the shoulder blades together at the peak of the movement.

– Failing to maintain a slight bend in the elbows.

Safety Precautions

To ensure your safety while performing the reverse cable fly:

– Start with a light weight and focus on mastering the form.

– Use controlled and deliberate movements.

– If you’re new to the exercise, consider working with a fitness professional to learn the proper technique.

Incorporating Reverse Cable Fly into Your Workout Routine

To incorporate the reverse cable fly into your workout routine, consider doing 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions. It’s a valuable addition to upper body workouts, particularly on back and shoulder training days.


The reverse cable fly is a valuable exercise for anyone looking to strengthen their upper back, improve posture, and enhance overall upper body strength. By performing it with proper form and incorporating it into your workout routine, you can reap the many benefits it has to offer. Remember to start with lighter weights, focus on technique, and progressively increase the resistance as you become more proficient in the exercise.