AJ masterfully teaches you how to perform the back fly exercise. Variations included!
Unless you’re living WAY off the grid, chances are you spend a good portion of your day hunched over – at a desk, on your phone screen, or even on a Spin bike. OUR favorite SSoD lifting expert, AJ, is here to talk about her favorite underrated exercise – the back fly – to keep your posture picture-perfect.
Why we love the back fly:
• Posture – strong rhomboids and posterior deltoids (your back chain) help you keep your chest up tall.
• Appearance – you will look (and feel) better when you’re standing taller without a hunchback.
• Balance – working your back balances out your strong chest.
• Options – this is a move you can do with weights, a TRX strap, a band, or even with no equipment. Read on to find out the many ways to knock out this move.
How to do a back fly:
Option 1 – No weights:
Let’s start by assuming you’re reading this or watching the video while you’re at a desk or on a couch, hunched over a screen.
• Stand up.
• Bend at your hips, with a slight knee bend.
• With your shoulders back and down, reach your arms straight down in front of you.
• Keeping your arms straight, “fly” them outward until your arms are parallel to the floor.
• Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and release your arms back down.
Option 2 – With hand weights:
AJ suggests starting with medium to light weights for these. The basic move is the same as without weights.
• Starting with a nice tall posture, shift your shoulder blades down toward your back pockets.
• As you bend at the hips, keep your feet about hip-width apart, and tighten your glutes.
• Raise and lower the weights slowly so you are feeling resistance on both the up and the down, being sure to squeeze your shoulder blades a bit at the top.
If you’ve got a bad low back, try a split stance, or you can even do this move seated.
• If sitting, you can increase your weight a bit.
• Sit with your legs out a bit straighter.
• Lean forward almost parallel to the ground.
The weighted back fly can also be done single-arm.
Option 3 – Resistance band:
AJ likes to do single-arm flies when she uses the band. You can experiment to figure out what you like best.
• From a split stance, put one end of the band under your front foot, leaning forward over your front leg.
• Hold the band in your opposite hand. The closer your hand is to your anchor, the heavier the resistance will be. Play around with that until you find a tension strong enough that you can keep resistance through the release.
• Fly out, and back (remember, keep that tension steady through the entire move).
Another fun way to do a back fly with a band:
• Stand tall with the band in both hands (slight tension when your arms are hip-width apart).
• Raise your arms up parallel to the floor, about chest high.
• Pull your arms outward toward a “T” position, and back.
Option 4 – TRX Straps:
This TRX exercise, called “The W,” is AJ’s favorite.
• Holding a handle in each hand, face your anchor point.
• Keeping your body in a straight line, hold your arms out straight in front of you.
• Pull your arms up and outward, bending your elbows, until your hands are about even with your ears, so your body looks like a “W”.
• Squeeze between your shoulder blades, and release.
How many reps and how often?
The unweighted back fly is a great stretch you can add throughout your day anytime you need a movement break. AJ recommends incorporating a weighted/resisted back fly into your workout routine 3 times a week. If you’ve got a well-structured routine, add this on the shoulder or pull moves day.
You should aim for three sets per session. For lighter weights or a band or TRX strap, aim for 15-20 reps per set. If you’re doing heavier weights, shoot for 8-10 reps.
And if you’re looking for more body-sculpting, fat-torching workouts where you can find lots of ways to strengthen your back, check out Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.