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Our back is made up of a group of muscles that work together to support our everyday activities like lifting children, running, and even sitting at our desk with good posture.  These major muscles are the Latissimusdorsi, Trapezius, Erector Spinae, Rhomboids and Rear Deltoids.  People who workout frequently often focus on the areas they can see easily – arms, chest, and Abs.  To stay balanced and more importantly, Functionally Strong, it’s critical to strengthen the opposing muscles, i.e., upper and lower back.

The “Rear Fly” can be done in several positions.  The video shows a standing position using a TRX Suspension system, allowing body weight to be used as resistance.   To make the move more dynamic, we have added a squat first to a standing position, pulling arms wide and contracting the shoulder blades.  The primary muscles in use are the trapezius, rhomboids and rear deltoids.  By strengthening the upper back, we can hold our torso more erect with shoulders back – counteracting the time many people spend hunched over computers, desks, and steering wheels. 

A simpler version of the exercise to strengthen your upper back can be done anywhere and without special equipment (see photo).  Stand with feet, hips, shoulders and head against a wall and raise hands to a 90 degree angle beside the head.  Hold for 30-60min to feel the upper back muscles holding a steady contraction.


Denise Duffy is the owner of SmartCore Fitness and a longtime personal trainer and group exercise instructor. 

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