Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 10 of 10

REVERSE DELTOID FLY! This is the tenth and last exercise in the functional fitness series. The reverse deltoid (shoulder) fly exercise targets the muscles on the posterior of the shoulders together with the muscles of the upper back. When this exercise is performed in a standing (bent over) position, the abdominal core, spine, glutes and lower back are also engaged.  A modified (seated) version of this exercise is also illustrated for those individuals who have lower back pain or weakness.

HOW TO: This exercise should  be initiated without hand weights first so as to develop the feel and posture of proper exercise form.

  • Stand with your legs about hip-width apart, arms at sides. Bend your torso forward and bend your legs slightly so that your arms extend below your body with your hands facing each other. This is the starting position.
  • IMPORTANT: First check your posture via a mirror before beginning the exercise; make sure your upper back is flat (not rounded); squeezing your shoulder blades together will help flatten your back.
  • Now, make a fist with each hand, knuckles pointing toward the floor, then, raise your arms out to your sides, while squeezing your shoulder blades together during the movement, maintain a slight bend in your elbows at the end of your upward arc, and do not raise head/chin upward.
  • Next, lower your arms (slowly) to the starting position. This completes one repetition. Perform eight to 12 repetitions (without dumbbells).
  • Once you can perform 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions while maintaining good exercise form, its time to add some light dumbbell weights to your workout. Start with dumbbells that weigh less than or equal to 5 pounds each.
  • Using the dumbbells, perform 8 to 12 repetitions. That is 1 set. Perform up to 3 sets.


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Bent Over Reverse Deltoid Fly







MODIFICATION: Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly


Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly

Sit on the edge of a armless chair or bench with legs together, torso bent over legs, upper back flat (not rounded) and arms hanging alongside the outside of your legs. Then follow the ‘How To’ steps above to perform the seated version of this exercise.

This post concludes the functional fitness exercise series. I hope you have found this information helpful in guiding you towards a better understanding of your body’s capabilities in regards to ‘functional fitness’.

If you are able to practice these 10 exercises (as often as you can manage or tolerate) it may only be a matter of weeks (or a few months) before you notice increases in your functional strength and movement patterns.

I hope that whatever improvements you realize from these exercises will be enough to encourage and motivate you to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!  Listen to your body, honor it with gentle, disciplined, functional exercise movements and it will serve you well for many days to come.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 2 of 10

PUSH-UPS! This is the second exercise of ten in the functional fitness series. Remember a functional exercise will engage your body in multiple planes of movement (front/back, side/side, rotational, etc.) or engage multiple joints at one time during the course of the given exercise.

During the push-up exercise several muscle groups in the chest, arms, forearms, shoulders, triceps, back, and neck work simultaneously. And because push-ups are performed in a prone, front leaning position, they also help develop core and shoulder stabilizing strength which aids in good posture.


The above graphic illustrates the body position progressions for the push up exercise. For the standing push up, moving the legs further away from the wall will make the push up more difficult. After the wall push up, the next transition would be to a table or counter height push-up. When performing the last two push ups variations (knee and classic), make sure the wrists are directly below the shoulder joints.

How To Progress: You should be able to complete 2-3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each push-up variation before progressing onward to the next level of difficulty. Instructions for performing a push-up in the classic position follow below. Use those guidelines to adjust and modify your hand and feet positions for all push-up progressions (wall, counter, knees, toes).

For the classic push-up, start on your hands and knees, with hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. You may angle your hands to accommodate a position that feels best for your wrists. Knees can be spread from hip to shoulder-width apart; find a position that feels comfortable for you, engage your core and butt muscles and raise yourself up to a high-plank position. The closer your feet are together, the more challenging the exercise will be.

Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles; no sagging or piking at the hip. You will use your core strength to maintain this body position throughout the downward and upward phase of the exercise. As you lower your body down towards the ground, make sure that you achieve at least a 90-degree angle at your elbows; lowering your chest to the ground will increase the intensity of the exercise. Pause for a moment in the downward position before pushing yourself back up into the starting position.

Once you master the basic push-up, you’ll be ready to add some variety to this exercise. Here’s a brief list of the different types of push-ups you can perform to further strengthen and challenge you:

  • Narrow (diamond) push-up
  • Single leg push-up
  • Spiderman push-up
  • Staggered push-up
  • Decline push-up
  • T push-up
  • Push-up to Forearm Plank to push-up

If you would like explanations or pictures for the push-up variations, just attach your comments or questions to this post. Functional fitness exercise number 3 of 10 will be posted mid-week. In the meantime…drop and give me 10!