Dumbbell Hands & Knees Rear Delt Fly
How to Do the Dumbbell Quadruped Rear Delt Fly | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS] Intermediate
Proper Form, Common Mistakes, & Variations | Home Resistance Training
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
MUSCLES THIS WORKS
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN The Hands & Knees Fly
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Mid and lower trapezius
- Latissimus dorsi
- Serratus anterior
- Lateral deltoid
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
Other names for this exercise: Quadruped Rear Deltoid Raise
ALL WE'RE DOING:
While on all fours, raise your arm out to your side.
The posterior delt fly is a great exercise for improving shoulder mobility and loosening up tight muscles. But first off, this rear delt fly version is done with a dumbbell, however, the versions using a resistance band ARE going to be a bit more effective - so if that's an option for you, I suggest it - those are here:
Resistance Band anchored to wall version
Band anchored to other hand version (no wall mount needed).
That's because the pull of the band will be there through the entire range of motion making the muscle work the whole time. With the dumbbell, it will not feel very challenging until the last portion of the contraction when your hand is higher in the air. That said, it is still an effective exercise even with the dumbbell, because the rear delt is the most active in the range of motion where the arm is higher in the air anyway.
But now let's get on with it!
This exercise works the rear portion of the deltoid muscle and has the bonus of also working the shoulder and arm that is on the floor. The arm on the floor is supporting some of your weight - this works all of the muscles of the shoulder joint at the same time (co-contraction) to keep the shoulder stable and to train the proprioceptors of the joint (the receptors that communicate with the brain so that it knows where the arm is). Weight-bearing exercises are very good for stimulating bone growth, especially for individuals with/or at risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis (low bone density). The hands and knees deltoid raise also work the muscles that stabilize the back and hips.
This exercise works most of the muscles that move and stabilize the shoulder blades as the arms move. The muscles are worked on both sides but each side in a different way. The arm on the floor works to hold the body still (static stability) and the other arm moves. The muscles around the shoulder blade of the working arm works to hold the shoulder blade still as the arm moves in the socket. This version of the rear delt raise focuses on shoulder extension, but does not target shoulder external rotation.
The use of the band will work the rear deltoid more the higher the arm is raised.
HOW TO DO THE EXERCISE
HOW The Hands & Knees Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly SHAPE OUR BODY
Toned, balanced, sculpted shoulders, good posture.
PROPER FORM: Hands & Knees Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8 reps
Moderate speed for lift up - with control and back stability, and slow, controlled return to start.
BODY POSITION FOR THE Hands & Knees Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
BODY STANCE: Hands and knees (4-point, quadruped). Neutral spine, abdominals activated. Weight equally distributed through both hands and knees. A good hands and knees position is like the beginning of a push up - sternum lifted, chest open, shoulder blades together and down your back. Your back should be level - if you put a tea cup filled with water on your upper back, it would not spill.
ARMS: Directly under shoulders, hand flat, fingers pointed forwards. Arms near straight - can have a slight bend at your elbows if that is more comfortable. If this position hurts your wrist you can do this with your hand fisted. Lift your working hand off of the floor to make sure the position feels ok when you are stabilizing with just one arm, as you will be in the exercise.
GRIP: Hold the dumbbell with a pronated grip, this means that when your hand is the start position, your palm will be facing behind you.
Position your knees directly under your hips. The tops of your feet are resting on the floor, toes pointing back (it is fine to have the ankle dorsiflexed and the toes on the floor if that is more comfortable). Check to make sure that your thighs are straight up and down (vertical, perpendicular to the floor). Hips are bent to 90 degrees, knees are bent to 90 degrees.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed. Neck lengthened, eyes down.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO the Quadruped Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
CUE: Focus on keeping your torso still and only moving through your shoulder joint.
Lift your working arm straight out to the side. Keep lifting it up, your arm will be parallel to the floor. Pull your arm back. Hold the end position and pause.
Slowly lower your arm back down again, with the focus on isolating the movement to your shoulder joint. Lower until your hand is just above the floor without touching the weight down, this will keep some tension on the muscle.
Begin the next rep.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Hands & Knees Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid Leaning to One Side
AVOID: Leaning to one side.
WHAT TO DO:
- Torso should be level with your weight evenly distributed on both legs.
2. Avoid using too heavy weight
AVOID: Too much weight.
- The deltoid will become most active towards the end of the movement when the upper arm is behind your shoulder joint. Increasing the weight may prevent you from being able to get to this position.
- Increasing the weight can put too much strain on the front of the shoulder joint at the end of its range of shoulder extension.
3. Avoid Arching Low Back
AVOID: Arching your low back.
- Pressure or discomfort in your low back.
- Can cause low back joint injury, muscle strain, or damage over time.
WHAT TO DO:
- Troubleshooting suggested fixes
- Poor core strength: activate your abdominal muscles, or choose a position with more support.
4. Avoid Rounding Low Back
AVOID: Rounding (flexing) your back.
- Can lead to muscle strain or low back joint injury.
- Will decrease the activation of the targeted muscles.
WHAT TO DO:
- Maintain a neutral spine position.
- This can be a result of poor back extensor strength
- Choose a position with more support.
VARIATIONS OF the Hands & Knees Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
Kneeling Rear Delt Fly
This is a nice version to work both arms at once. Plus, if putting the weight on your non-working arm/wrist is not comfortable (which I experience from time to time) - lift your non- working arm up off of the floor and move your torso back into a kneeling (not tall kneeling, the hips can be hinged). Your torso should be as close to parallel to the floor as possible for maximum benefit. Your non-working arm can be placed behind your back or you can put your hand on your thigh. This position will eliminate the weight bearing benefits of your hands and knees position - (through the nonworking arm) and will decrease the work of your gluteals.
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE Rear Delt
The Rear Deltoid Fly works the muscle on the back of the shoulder. To target the rear (or posterior) part of the deltoid muscle the arm is lifted up to about the level of the shoulder and moved back, and slightly behind the torso.
Something I like about this exercise is it's one of the few exercise to work the back of our shoulder in a standing position. Why is this great? Because being bent over is a more challenging position for our body to hold! Nice to have a break once in awhile.
This exercise is a nice change from the movements that move the arm forwards or up. The backward movement of the arm works many of the muscles of the upper back, and moving the straight arm back will stretch the muscles on the front of the chest and the biceps. This feels good after sitting at a computer all day - it can be used to loosen up knots in your upper back by increasing blood flow to the area.
WHY BOTHER DOING IT?
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
THE BACK OF THE SHOULDER MATTERS TOO
The muscles on the back of the upper body are frequently overlooked in exercise programs. A lot of time is spent on exercises that involve lifting the arms up, pushing them forward, and pulling them down. It is important to include exercises that target the muscles of the back of the body in order to balance out the exercises that focus on the muscles in the front of the body.
Some of the most important muscles of the upper body are the muscles that attach to the shoulder blades (of which the rear or posterior delt is one). These muscles are responsible for keeping the shoulders healthy, the ability to move your arm through its full range, and hold you in upright posture. Overworking the muscles on the front of the body and underworking the muscles on the back of the body can lead to a stooped posture, upper back, neck and shoulder pain.
It is extremely rare that we only use one muscle at a time. Most movements involve many muscles working in coordination. This is especially true for movements of the arm. The main job of the shoulder is to move and position the hand. Moving the arm involves coordination between the arm and the shoulder blade. This exercise is good for targeting the muscles that control the movements of the arm and the shoulder blade and training them to work together for healthy arm movement.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR rear deltoid IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. REACHING BEHIND THE BODY
- Tending a kid in the back seat
- Reaching into the back pocket
- Bringing the arm back to throw a ball (overhand)
- Pulling a car door shut
- Pulling a refrigerator door open
3. ROTATING THE UPPER ARM SO THAT THE SOFT UNDERSIDE IS FACING FORWARD AND/OR UP (EXTERNAL ROTATION)
- Reaching the back of your head for washing, brushing your hair
- Pulling a shirt off over your head
- Reaching the top of a zipper
- Scratching your upper back
- Turning your outstretched arm with the palm up (need shoulder external rotation and forearm supination)
- Receiving change in the palm of the hand
4. WORKS WITH THE ANTERIOR, AND MIDDLE FIBERS OF THE DELTOID TO STABILIZE THE SHOULDER JOINT DURING ALL ARM MOVEMENTS.
- Improves the ability to lift and carry heavy objects (the arm has a stable base to work off of).
- Injury prevention
HOW TO FEEL WHAT MUSCLE IS WORKING
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Take your opposite hand and place it on top of your shoulder. You should feel a hard, flat surface right on top close to the shoulder joint. That is part of the shoulder blade called the acromion process. Drop your fingers right below the bony ridge. Hold your upper arm up out to the side a little more than halfway between being right by your side and being at shoulder level (approximately 50 - 60 degrees of abduction) with the elbow bent. Push the upper arm back. You should feel the rear fibers of the deltoid activate under your fingers. It can help to push your elbow into the back of the chair or a wall.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
The rear portion of the deltoid originates on the scapula (shoulder blade), crosses the shoulder joint at the back and attaches on the humerus (upper arm bone). The muscle moves the arm back from being in front of the body and externally rotates the arm. It is most active when the arm is lifted out to the side and away from the body (in abduction - so the arm is moving closer to horizontal abduction and extension).
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Hands & Knees quadruped Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
In the beginning position, the core stabilizers (internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, psoas major, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidi, transverse abdominis) hold the spine in a neutral position.
The hands and knees position uses the muscles surrounding and stabilizing the hip joints (hamstrings, quads, hip abductors and adductors, internal and external rotators). For this exercise one arm is on the floor and the other arm (the working arm) is off of the floor. Supporting the upper body on one side only will cause a rotational force on the torso, the obliques and quadratus lumborum will work to hold the torso level and stable.
The muscles of the weight-bearing arm (the arm on the floor) are co-contracting (contracting at the same time isometrically) to stabilize the shoulder blade and shoulder joint; these muscles include the biceps, triceps, rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor), latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior, pectoralis, deltoids. The muscles of the arm will work isometrically to hold the elbow and wrist stable.
The posterior deltoids contract concentrically to lift the arm up and out to the side (from the floor out to the side - 90 degrees of abduction). The arm will be parallel to the floor and to the side and will move slightly backward (up toward the ceiling). The triceps works isometrically to hold the elbow in extension.
The deltoid works eccentrically to lower the arm back to the beginning position for the next rep.