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Deltoids and Shoulder Flyes

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Deltoids and Shoulder Flyes
A woman is holding dumbbells over her head. Photo Credit: Dirima/iStock/Getty Images

The shoulder is one of the most movable joints on the body and requires strong deltoid muscles for prime functioning. The deltoids consist of three heads: the anterior, lateral and posterior, all of which are targeted by bent-over dumbbell flyes. When performed properly, this exercise can help you maximize shoulder strength.

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Shoulder Power

Primarily, the deltoids serve to move your arms. Lifting your arm to the front is the anterior deltoid. The lateral deltoid raises the arms to the side and the posterior delt allows the arms to lift to the rear of your body.

Flyes for Strength

Performing flyes correctly can help you to develop the shoulders while reducing your chances of sustaining an injury. Choose dumbbell weights that allow you to fatigue between eight and 12 repetitions, which means that you would not be able to perform one more rep with proper form. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Lean your torso forward by approximately 20 to 30 degrees with the dumbbells directly under your chest. Raise your arms in a semi-circle motion out to the side until the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Hold the contraction for one count and then return to starting position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

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