Homemade Reverse Flyes or Rear Delts Station

The Reverse Flyes exercise is one of the shoulder exercises that isolates the rear delts. The exercise can be done on a Reverse Pec Deck machine, with low cable crossovers or with free weights, using dumbbells.

As a free weight exercise, it is sometimes called Rear Delts Lateral Raise or Bent Over Dumbbell Raise or a combination of those words.

The free weight version of this exercise can be performed by standing or sitting (as shown in thumbnail) and then bending forward. But for some people, this stresses the lower back.

The solution is to use gym equipment similar to the incline bench. This will allow you to rest your upper body on a chest pad of the bench and then focus on the shoulder movement.

You will be able to mimic the incline bench for this exercise with the homemade safety squat racks we made. You simply add a chest pad on top of the safety bars.

How to Make a Chest Pad for the Racks

  • EVA or Foam Rubber Floor tile (interlocking mats), 1'x1', 1/2" thick - 2 pieces.
    Shown below are a couple of foam rubber floor tiles.

  • Plywood, 11" x 17", 1/2" thick - 1 piece, extra plywood for board spacers.
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Quick Dry Paint

  1. Shown below is the plywood piece that fits the top area of the safety bars. It acts as a bridge between the two safety bars and will support the weight trainer's upper body. Be sure to smooth out the edges because your body may be rubbing against it as you do the exercises.

  2. Saw a couple of plywood spacer boards. With a construction adhesive, glue them to the plywood piece (chest pad board) as shown below. The spacer boards create a groove in between them.

    When set, the groove creates a space for the bolt heads to fit. This setup then prevents the chest pad from sliding from the rack especially when the rack is set to an incline.

  3. With a pair of heavy duty scissors, cut off the interlocking tabs of the two foam rubber tiles. What will remain are tiles that measure 11" x 11".

  4. Cut one of the foam rubber tiles so it measures 11" x 6".

  5. Apply construction adhesive on the top side of the plywood piece and attach the two pieces of foam rubber tiles. Join them together so they cover the chest pad's board.

    You'll notice where the two pieces of cut foam rubber tiles join on the plywood board in the photo below.

  6. When the adhesive had dried, paint the bottom side and edges of the plywood piece with quick drying paint.

  7. The photo below shows the chest pad on the racks as it will be used for the reverse flyes or rear delts lateral exercise. The legs of the racks are set flat (no incline) in the photo.

How to Perform the Reverse Flyes or Rear Delts Lateral Exercise

  1. Place the dumbbells on the floor under the racks. Here's a tip to keep the dumbbells from rolling away.

  2. Lean on the chest pad of the racks. Pick up the dumbbells from the floor. This is the start position.

  3. Slowly raise your arms sideward and up while contracting the rear delts. This is the end position.

The photo below shows the start and end positions of the Reverse Flyes or Rear Delts Lateral Raises.

Notice the front legs of the racks have been adjusted higher to get the desired incline.

This Reverse Flyes station is also useful when performing other free weight exercises that require you to bend over - but without the lower back stress. These include exercises like barbell rows, dumbbell rows and T-bar rows.

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