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Standing Dumbbell Alternate Reverse Flys and Swim Flicks

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

This exercise isolates the muscles at the back of the shoulder. You'll alternate reverse flys—taking your arm out to the side—and swim flicks—taking your arm back behind you. Be sure to carve a clear path with your arm, and to lift as high as you can without excessive strain.

Muscles Worked
Shoulders (rear deltoids, traps)

Starting Position
Stand upright with feet hip-width apart and with dumbbells held in each hand. Keeping your back flat and your abdominals engaged, bend forward at the hips, lowering your chest to a 45-degree angle from vertical. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your weight in your heels. Your palms should be facing each other, with your hands below your shoulders and your arms slightly bent (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, lift your right arm straight out to the side in a reverse fly press. Your right elbow should be "soft" or slightly bent, and your back should remain flat as you lift (see Photo 2).
  2. From the top of the reverse fly press, lower your right arm back to the starting position (see Photo 3).
  3. Immediately follow the reverse fly with a swim flick by lifting your right arm straight back and up behind you. As you raise your right arm, retract your right shoulder blade. Lift as high as you can while keeping your arm extended; your arm should be higher than the level of your back. Remember not to lock your elbow as you do this; keep a slight bend (see Photo 4).
  4. Continue to alternate reverse flys and swim flicks with the right arm until you have done the recommended number of repetitions. Then return to the starting position and repeat the set on the left arm, again alternating reverse flys and swim flicks for the recommended number of repetitions (see Photo 5).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.