How Bent Over Flys Increase Shoulder Strength & Stamina

bent over flys

Give your shoulders a great workout with bent over flys.

Building our shoulders and working hard to get that well-rounded physique can be challenging, but great exercises like bent over flys are exactly what we need to see serious growth. With the right approach to any workout you can better tackle all of those strength wants and needs and really give yourself the best when it comes to boosting your overall gains. But it isn’t easy and it takes work, for building boulder shoulders requires only the best form to avoid injury and unwanted pain.

The nice part about bent over flys is that they are a beginner level exercise with advanced level gains. Performing this exercise is relatively easy but knowing form and how best to tackle technique is more than important. Our shoulders can be vulnerable, but by taking the right steps to strengthen the surrounding areas we better set ourselves up when it comes to sport specific and more functional gains. Bent over flys are the perfect exercise for all your lifting wants and needs and is definitely something to place into your workout.

Let’s take a look at bent over flys and see what’s up with this exercise. From what it is, to muscles worked, the many benefits of it, and how to perform it, we’ll break down bent over flys so you can maximize all of your gains. Plus, we will offer some great alternatives so you can better structure your workouts for added diversity.

bent over flys

What Are Bent Over Flys?

Bent over flys are a great exercise to build your shoulders for better overall development, support, strength, and stability. As an effective isolation exercise, all you need are quality dumbbells and you are ready to go. Great for beginners, as well as those intermediate and advanced, this is an effective muscle building workout for all. By working to strengthen your delts, you assist with pushing movements and can increase your level of strength for other lifts. Also, improving posture and structural support can greatly affect your gains for the better.

Muscles Worked

This exercise targets your shoulders and is very close to an isolation exercise. Working all three heads of your delts (front, rear, and lateral), you get a well-rounded workout to increase strength, size, and functionality of this often times vulnerable area. Along with your shoulders, you may feel it in your traps and triceps as a result of the movement, but primarily this will work only your shoulders.

bent over flys

Benefits Of Bent Over Flys

The benefits of bent over flys are hard to ignore but can greatly affect all areas of your overall shoulder gains. By working your delts and putting an emphasis on strength and stamina, you never have to worry about a poor shoulder workout again.

Benefits of bent over flys include:

  • Better strength and stamina: Work to increase strength and size while also improving stamina to help push through any muscular failure.
  • Increased posture and balance: By strengthening your shoulders you provide for better stability and balance while working to improve posture and overall support (1).
  • Reduce injury: Strengthening this often times vulnerable area can work for your benefit to reduce the risk of injury and keep you in the gym longer (2).
  • Help with muscle imbalances: Those dreaded muscle imbalances are annoying but the right exercise can work to build better symmetry.
  • Round out a physique: Beefing up those shoulders can only add to a well-rounded and more buff physique.
  • Plenty of variations: Plenty of variations means more diversity in your workout so you never grow bored and are always seeing huge gains.

How To Perform This Exercise

Here are the steps for performing bent over flys:

  1. Choose your desired amount of weight and find a comfortable position to perform this exercise in.
  2. With your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart, engage your core and keep your body neutral as you hinge at the hips.
  3. With the weight hanging in front of you, pull the dumbbells so they are parallel to the floor.
  4. Give a good squeeze at the top and gently lower back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps.

shoulder mobility

Bent Over Fly Variations

Along with this great exercise comes plenty of variations to try. The benefit to many variations is that you can diversify your workout so you never grow bored of the same movements. However, you will still build muscle for these exercises will target the same muscles but in different ways. Once you find a variation you greatly enjoy, you can alternate back and forth from that and bent over flys for the most effective gains.

Variations of the bent over fly include:

  • Seated Bent Over Fly
  • Horizontal Fly
  • Kneeling Reverse Fly
  • Reverse Fly On Bench
  • Machine Rear Delt Fly
  • Side-Lying Rear Delt Fly
  • Face Pulls

Best Exercises To Pair With Bent Over Flys

To tag along with bent over flys in your workout, consider pairing with the right exercises so you see only the best gains. Working with exercises like the deadlift and Romanian deadlift, these will work nicely to give your shoulders a break but keeping them engaged. The lat pulldown and pull-ups will recruit your shoulders to really engage those lats for a wider physique and to emphasis and focus on only the best for pulling motions. And for that extra shoulder work, toss in reverse flys to boost strength and size.

Wrap Up

The bent over fly is a great exercise worthy of putting into your shoulder day routine. As an effective delt builder, you will find an increase to strength, size, and stamina as you will better be able to push yourself through any muscular fatigue. Knowing how best to perform this exercise will prove to be safe and effective with the right form and the many benefits will certainly leave you feeling satisfied. Check out bent over flys, place them into your workout routine, and watch your gains take off.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Lee, D.; et al. (2017). “Changes in rounded shoulder posture and forward head posture according to exercise methods”. (source)
  2. Mitchell, C.; et al. (2005). “Shoulder pain: diagnosis and management in primary care”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.