Yoga for Posture – 18 – Reverse Flies

Okay, it’s been a while since my last posture Monday. Let’s get back to it.

We ended off last time having covered plank, and for those of you who find plank a little too easy, plank mods, after which we rotated 90° to do side plank. Let’s go back to the shoulders.


Because lately I’ve felt my shoulder blades beginning to stick out a little, and my shoulders (already anatomically internally rotated) begin to hunch in. Sometimes it’s good to revisit the basics (like with straight armed [plank] pushups, or rotator cuff curls) which I’ve been doing myself. And sometimes, it’s good to dial it up a notch.

So, let’s dial it up a notch.

The reverse fly is actually quite similar to the rotator cuff curl. Just more intense. And harder. And suckier. But it gets its name from the dumbbell curl, so let’s review.

The dumbbell fly is one of the most common exercises you’ll see in the gym.

  • Pick your dumbbell weight
  • Lie on the weight bench on your back
  • Arms straight up in front, elbows slightly bent
  • Lower the weights until your arms are horizontal
  • Return to upright.

Picture that, and keep that picture in your head. If you can’t picture it, search dumbbell fly on YouTube and you’ll have approximately 87 billion hits to show you what I’m talking about.

For the reverse fly you’re going to make a few changes.

  • Lie face down on your yoga mat. Literally face down – put your forehead on the floor
  • Extend your arms straight out from the shoulders, elbows bent 90°…meaning your fingers are pointing in the same direction as the crown of your head.
  • Lock your legs, squeeze your butt cheeks and brace your core with a neutral spine.
  • Simultaneously lift both elbows straight up as far as you can.
  • Do this while maintaining the 90° bend in the elbows, and keeping your forearms parallel to the floor.

This is a dynamic exercise, rather than a static one, but that does not mean you should be rushing.

  • Lift your elbows SLOWLY. Take a couple, three seconds on both the up and down movements. It’s gonna hurt more, and suck more, but it will do more good. And believe me, 2 seconds will seem a LOT longer than you think. Count it, and count on it.
  • Keep your forehead on the floor. Concentrate on keeping your legs, butt and core locked.
  • Concentrate HARD on keeping your forearms level. Your hands are going to want to rise higher than your elbows, don’t let them
  • Also, concentrate HARD on keeping your elbows straight out from your shoulders. They’re going to want to drift backwards, don’t let them.
  • You could do this exercise with your arms straight, but increases the tendency of your arms to drift rearwards, reducing the efficacy of the exercise.

You want your shoulder blades lying flat to your back, close to your spine (2 – 3 inches away). If they drift out, and/or have a tendency to point outward, this exercise will help to correct that.