Reverse Fly High Pulley

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the pulley height to shoulder height on both sides.
  2. Grasp the D-handle of each side (the right hand grabs the left side’s D-handle, the left hand grabs the right side’s D-handle) and stand in the center of the cable crossover station.
  3. Raise arms to shoulder level and cross hands in front of your body.
  4. Place your feet in a stable stance while keeping a slight bend in the knees.
  5. Face straight ahead.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Pull your arms back, keeping arms at shoulder level until your upper arm is in line (horizontally) with your torso.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows throughout the entire movement.
  3. Keep the torso and legs motionless throughout the movement.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly reverse the movement to starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Posterior deltoid
  • Synergists: Middle deltoid, infraspinatus, teres minor
  • Stabilizers: Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, wrist extensors and other rotator cuff muscles (subscapularis and supraspinatus)
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Horizontal shoulder abduction
  • Equipment: Cable crossover station and two D-handles
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Reverse Fly High Pulley

    What Is A Cable High Pulley Reverse Fly?

    A high cable reverse fly is a resistance exercise, which targets the posterior deltoid (also referred to as “rear deltoids”). This exercise is performed standing in the middle of a cable crossover station.

    The concentric portion of the lift is horizontal shoulder abduction (arms opening against resistance). The eccentric portion is horizontal shoulder adduction as the arms return to the front of the body.

    The purpose of the high cable reverse fly is to strengthen the posterior deltoid while also promoting the hypertrophy (increases in size) of this muscle.

    Why Do A Cable High Pulley Reverse Fly?

    The high cable reverse fly activates the posterior deltoid, as it is the primary horizontal shoulder abductor. Activating the posterior deltoid contributes to the overall hypertrophy of the shoulder muscles, providing roundness and a fuller appearance.

    Although it is primarily an exercise for aesthetics, high cable reverse flyes also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Horizontal shoulder abduction performed with a cable provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

    Anatomy Of A Cable High Pulley Reverse Fly

    The deltoid is a thick, multipennate muscle that forms a curtain around the shoulder. It is the primary muscle involved with arm abduction and the posterior fibers are a primary horizontal shoulder abductor. When developed, the deltoids give the shoulder their round shape. The origin of the deltoid is located at the insertion of the trapezius, lateral third of the clavicle and the acromion spine of the scapula. Its insertion is located at the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus.

    The infraspinatus is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. Partially covered by the deltoid and trapezius, it assists with horizontal shoulder abduction. Its origin is located at the infraspinous fossa of the scapula. Its insertion is located at the greater tubercle of the humerus, near the insertion sites of the supraspinatus and teres minor.

    The teres minor is also a rotator cuff muscle that can be regarded as the “sidekick” to the infraspinatus. It is located just below the infraspinatus and may be inseparable from the infraspinatus. It comes as no surprise that the teres minor performs the same actions as the infraspinatus. Its origin is located at the lateral border of the dorsal subscapular surface. Its insertion is located just below that of the infraspinatus on the greater tubercle of the humerus.

    The latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, wrist extensors and other two rotator cuff muscles (i.e. supraspinatus and subscapularis) play an essential role in stabilizing the wrists, forearms and shoulders during this exercise.

    Variations Of A Cable High Pulley Reverse Fly

    Bent over cable lateral raise, incline bench lateral raise, bent over dumbbell lateral raise.

    How To Improve Your Cable High Pulley Reverse Fly

    Periodically rotating your wrists (grasping the end of the cable without a D-handle attached to it) can stress your deltoid from an additional angle, optimizing hypertrophy.

    Perform horizontal shoulder abduction from different positions such as on an incline bench (incline bench lateral raise) and bent over (with cable or dumbbells).

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the arms approach shoulder level.

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between shoulder training days to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Cable High Pulley Reverse Flyes

    Raising the hands above the level of the shoulder can minimize the activation of the deltoid and place negative stress on the shoulder joint.

    Swinging the torso and/or moving the legs throughout the movement minimize the activation of the working muscles and increase the risk for injury. Do not use body momentum to lift the weight during concentric phases. Do not drop the weight as you return to starting position. The concentric and eccentric phases should be controlled.

    Flexing or extending the neck is not recommended as it can increase risk of injury.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Cable High Pulley Reverse Flyes

    If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the shoulder joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury. Performing this exercise with a weight too heavy for the lifter can also increase the risk for injury.

    If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, and glenoid labrum tears may result.

    Lifters with a history of shoulder injury or present state of injury should consult with a physical therapist or orthopedic physician before performing this exercise.