Bent-Over Fly

Dose

Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions 2 to 3 times per week, or when your symptoms come on. Use light weights or just the weight of your arms.

Purpose

Issues in the upper back, shoulder, neck, and ars are often related to a lack of strength between and just below the shoulder blades. This exercise, when done correctly, activates these muscles. Once your body can use these muscles, other activities become much easier to do in a way that incorporated them, including maintaining an upright posture.

Method

Stand with the feet under the hips, and bend over at the waist while keeping a straight back. You can bend the knees slightly. Make sure the neck and lower back are not arched excessively by making a double chin and pulling the belly button in to tighten your core. If you have trouble with putting the head and lower back in a neutral position, try the Head Retraction and Pelvic Tilt exercises to practice controlling these body parts.

Start with your arms hanging down below you. Keep your hands loose, not gripping the weight too hard, and your elbows slightly bent. Raise your arms back and up and if trying to touch your elbows together behind your lower back. Simultaneously squeeze your shoulderblades down and back together, making sure they do not rise towards your ears. Keep looking down at the floor with your chin tucked and belly in while you do this.

Slowly lower your hands back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Common Mistakes

• Using the upper neck muscles to perform the movement. To avoid this, keep your eyes on the floor, rather than looking up. Avoid using too much weight, starting with just the weight of your arms if you need to. Be sure that your chest is parallel to the ground, rather than standing more upright. You will know if you are using the upper neck if your shoulderblades travel up towards your ears, rather than back and down towards your back pockets.

• Using the arm muscle to complete this movement. While you will feel your arms working during this movement, the primary focus should be o the mid-back. To avoid activating the arms too much, loosen your grip and keep your elbows slightly bent. Straight arms and a tight grip will engage your arm muscles too much.

•Using the muscles f the lower back to complete the movement. When the lower back works too hard, the mid-back cannot be activated. Try to avoid arching the lower back, by keeping the belly button tucked in and the ribs aligned with the hips. If you use too much weight on this exercise, you may find the back arches when you lift up. Decrease weight if you need to in order to avoid this.

Progression Threshold

This is a good exercise to include once or twice a week in your exercise routine. Progress its difficulty by using heavier weights, up to a maximum of about 10 kgs.