Reverse fly weight standards

Dumbbell Reverse Fly Weight Standards For Males At Different Training Levels And Body Weights

Dumbbell reverse fly weight standards not only allow you to benchmark your performance against yourself but also against others.

For the average male, a good dumbbell reverse fly weight is above 90 pounds. This weight is for two dumbbells combined and a single repetition. However, an individual’s reverse fly weight will also be affected by their training level and body weight.

These benchmarks were important for me when I first started doing reverse flyes, and they may also benefit you as well.

After all, you want to know if you’re doing a good job with your training right?

My research will reveal the numbers YOU should be hitting for it to be deemed “respectable”.

You’ll also find out how to improve your reverse flyes if your numbers are below average.

Looking to Improve Your Dumbbell Reverse Fly At Home?

If you’re interested, here’s the setup I use and recommend!

Factors Affecting Reverse Fly Weight Standards

3 factors affect how much weight you can dumbbell reverse fly:

  1. Training Level. The longer you’ve been practicing the reverse fly, the more weight you can lift. As a general rule, beginners have been practicing for at least 1 month, intermediates at least 2 years, and advanced lifters at least 5 years.
  1. Body weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you can reverse fly. That’s because body weight has a positive correlation with muscle mass and strength.
  1. Rep number. The less reps you do, the more weight you can reverse fly. This post focuses on a 1-10 rep range which is generally accepted to be the best for building muscle strength and size.

Next, you’ll find out how these factors affect dumbbell reverse fly weight standards.

Beginner Reverse Fly Weight Standards

A beginner has been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for at least 1 month.

Here’s how much weight you should be reverse flying as a beginner:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
4lb
2kg
3lb
2kg
3lb
1kg
3lb
1kg
3lb
1kg
3lb
1kg
150lb
68kg
8lb
4kg
7lb
3kg
7lb
3kg
6lb
3kg
6lb
3kg
6lb
3kg
200lb
91kg
16lb
7kg
13lb
6kg
13b
6kg
13lb
6kg
12lb
6kg
12lb
5kg
250lb
113kg
24lb
11kg
20lb
9kg
20lb
9kg
20lb
9kg
19lb
8kg
18lb
8kg
300lb
136kg
30lb
14kg
25lb
11kg
25lb
11kg
25lb
11kg
23lb
11kg
22lb
10kg
Male beginner dumbbell reverse fly weight standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Note: x-rep max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for x-number of reps. Generally speaking, rep ranges closer to 1 are ideal for strength gains, whilst rep ranges closer to 10 are ideal for size gains (hypertrophy).

Here’s how much weight beginners should be reverse flying, as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 2 to 3%.
  • 150lb body weight- 4 to 5%.
  • 200lb body weight- 6 to 8%.
  • 250lb body weight- 7 to 10%.
  • 300lb body weight- 7 to 10%.

If you’ve been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for 1 month or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a good job!

Intermediate Reverse Fly Weight Standards

An intermediate has been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for at least 2 years.

Here’s how much weight you should be reverse flying as an intermediate:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
54lb
24kg
45lb
21kg
44lb
20kg
43lb
20kg
42lb
19kg
39lb
18kg
150lb
68kg
68lb
31kg
57lb
26kg
56lb
25kg
54lb
25kg
53lb
24kg
50lb
23kg
200lb
91kg
90lb
41kg
76lb
34kg
74lb
33kg
72lb
33kg
70lb
32kg
66lb
30kg
250lb
113kg
108lb
49kg
91lb
41kg
89lb
40kg
86lb
39kg
84lb
38kg
79lb
36kg
300lb
136kg
124lb
56kg
104lb
47kg
102lb
46kg
99lb
45kg
97lb
44kg
91lb
41kg
Male intermediate dumbbell reverse fly weight standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Here’s how much weight intermediates should be reverse flying, as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 33 to 45%.
  • 150lb body weight- 33 to 45%.
  • 200lb body weight- 33 to 45%.
  • 250lb body weight- 32 to 43%.
  • 300lb body weight- 41 to 30%.

If you’ve been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for 2 years or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a great job.

These are very respectable standards for beginners to aim for.

Advanced Reverse Fly Weight Standards

An advanced lifter has been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for at least 5 years.

Here’s how much weight you should be reverse flying as an advanced lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
104lb
47kg
87lb
40kg
85lb
39kg
83lb
38kg
81lb
37kg
76lb
34kg
150lb
68kg
124lb
56kg
104lb
47kg
102lb
46kg
99lb
45kg
97lb
44kg
91lb
41kg
200lb
91kg
152lb
69kg
128lb
58kg
125lb
57kg
122lb
55kg
119lb
54kg
111lb
50kg
250lb
113kg
176lb
80kg
148lb
67kg
144lb
65kg
141lb
64kg
137lb
62kg
128lb
58kg
300lb
136kg
196lb
89kg
165lb
75kg
161lb
73kg
157lb
71kg
153lb
69kg
143lb
65kg
Male advanced dumbbell reverse fly weight standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Here’s how much weight advanced lifters should be reverse flying, as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 63 to 87%.
  • 150lb body weight- 60 to 83%.
  • 200lb body weight- 55 to 76%.
  • 250lb body weight- 51 to 70%.
  • 300lb body weight- 48 to 65%.

If you’ve been practicing the dumbbell reverse fly for 5 years or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a fantastic job.

These are also very respectable standards for intermediates to aim for.

Average Male Reverse Fly Weight

The average US male weighs 197.9-lbs.

Here’s how much weight an average 200lb male should lift on the dumbbell reverse fly, at different training levels:

Training Level1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
Beginner16lb
7kg
13lb
6kg
13b
6kg
13lb
6kg
12lb
6kg
12lb
5kg
Intermediate90lb
41kg
76lb
34kg
74lb
33kg
72lb
33kg
70lb
32kg
66lb
30kg
Advanced152lb
69kg
128lb
58kg
125lb
57kg
122lb
55kg
119lb
54kg
111lb
50kg
Dumbbell reverse fly weight standards for an average 200lb male at different training levels. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Therefore the average man should be able to reverse fly 6-76% of his body weight.

The exact weight will depend on training experience and rep number (as seen in the aforementioned standards).

How Good Is Your Reverse Fly Vs Others?

Determining your current reverse fly weight as a fraction of your body weight is a reliable way to compare your performance with others.

To do this, simply divide the weight of both dumbbells combined, by your body weight.

Here are the percentages of males who can lift their own body weight on the dumbbell reverse fly:

Dumbbell Reverse Fly 1RM Weight (As A Fraction Of Bodyweight)% Of People Who Can Do It
0.10x93%
0.20x82%
0.30x69%
0.40x56%
0.50x44%
0.60x33%
0.70x24%
0.80x17%
0.90x12%
1.00x8%
1.10x6%
1.20x4%
1.30x2%
1.40x2%
1.50x1%
1.60x0.7%
1.70x0.4%
1.80x0.3%
1.90x0.2%
2.00x0.1%
Percent of males aged 24-39 at 200lbs bodyweight who can dumbbell reverse fly their body weight. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.
  • 75% of men can dumbbell reverse fly 0.25x their bodyweight for a single repetition. This represents the lower percentile of males and is a respectable weight for absolute beginners to achieve. But you should aim for higher numbers with more training.
  • 50% of men can dumbbell reverse fly 0.45x their bodyweight for a single repetition. This represents the median percentile of males and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a good target for beginners to aim for.
  • 25% of men can dumbbell tricep extend 0.70x their bodyweight for a single repetition. This represents the upper percentile of males and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a good target for intermediates to aim for.

If you’re struggling to build muscle size and strength, it may be because you’ve missed one or more training and nutrition essentials. You can check out my other article for a complete guide to gaining 10-lbs of lean muscle.

Why the reverse fly can be difficult.

Reasons Your Reverse Fly May Be Below Average

Here are 5 common reasons why you may be underperforming on the dumbbell reverse fly:

1) You’re trying to lift too heavy on the reverse fly.

The reverse fly is an isolation-type exercise that primarily works the posterior deltoids. However, stabilizer activity also comes from the neighboring back muscles to facilitate the fly movement. These stabilizing muscles include the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae.

Two things can happen if you use too much weight on the reverse fly:

  1. You will start “cheating” by using body momentum to help lift the dumbbell.
  2. You will end up doing partial reps.

Both of these mistakes will take the emphasis away from activating the target muscles mentioned above (and should therefore be avoided).

Instead, you should decrease the weight and improve your form.

“The rear delts are not the strongest muscles in the body. If you use too much weight, you will end up completing partial reps which compromises the benefits of the reverse fly.”

Mike Kenler, Anabolic Aliens.

If you’re struggling with dumbbell workout ideas, you can check out my list of the best dumbbell lifts for skinny beginners to build muscle at home.

2) You aren’t training with a full range of motion on the reverse fly.

Range of motion refers to how far your arms travel upwards and outwards during the reverse fly.

This is important because much of the muscle activation from the reverse fly happens at the top of the movement (when you’re arms are held up and out).

Therefore training with a partial range of motion can negatively impact your strength gains.

And this may be why your dumbbell reverse fly is below average.

3) You’re wrists are hyperextended.

A hyperextended wrist is bent too far upwards (revealing the palms).

This should be avoided for two reasons.

Firstly, a hyperextended wrist places a lot of strain on your wrist joint and increases injury risk.

Secondly, this joint stress will limit the amount of weight you can lift and also reduce your range of motion.

As a result, you won’t reap the full benefits of the reverse fly.

And this could be why your reverse fly is sub-par.

“Keep your wrists in a neutral position with the palms facing down throughout the reverse fly”

Bojana Galic, NASM PT.

4) You’re using body momentum to facilitate the reverse fly.

Using body momentum during the reverse fly is considered cheating

There are two common ways people cheat.

The first involves extending your legs and raising your hips to generate upward body momentum.

The second involves banging the dumbbells together at the bottom of the movement to generate momentum.

And whilst cheating will help you lift heavier dumbbells, it should also be avoided.

When you cheat, you take the emphasis away from posterior deltoid activation.

Instead, emphasis shifts to the neighboring lower back and leg muscles which do the brunt of the work.

This is counterproductive if you aim to strengthen the posterior deltoids, and maybe why you struggle to improve your reverse fly.

5) You aren’t training you’re back muscles with enough variety.

The back muscles play an important role in stabilizing the posterior deltoids during the reverse fly.

This makes them a key component of the movement.

However, the back muscles comprise multiple smaller muscles which combined, span a large area of your back.

So if you’re not performing a variety of back exercises, certain muscles may lag.

And when this happens, your reverse fly will be impacted negatively.

“It’s good to change things up and we recommend including reverse fly variations and alternatives for best results”

Matthew Magnante, Fitness Volt.
How to improve your dumbbell reverse fly.

How To Improve Your Reverse Fly

Here are 5 tips to help you improve your dumbbell reverse fly:

1) Practice and perfect your form.

As a beginner, the best thing you can do to increase your reverse fly weight is to first master your form.

This may mean you need to reduce your dumbbell weight.

But when you can perform the reverse fly with good form, you’ll maximize posterior deltoid activation.

And this will help you to lift heavier dumbbells in the future.

Here’s how to do the perfect reverse dumbbell fly:

How To Perform Bent Over Reverse Flys - Exercise Tutorial

2) Start with light dumbbells and progressive overload regularly.

Reverse flyes are most effective when performed at lighter poundages with good form.

But if you don’t increase the weight at some point, you’ll never progress.

The important point is to increase weight only when you can perform the current weight with good form.

And ideally, you should increase the weight by small increments (no more than a couple of pounds per dumbbell) but at regular intervals (once every 1 or 2 weeks).

Dumbbells with small weight increments are ideal to progress smoothly on the reverse fly.

I use and recommend the Powerblock Elites (link for the cheapest price).

Not only do they replace multiple pairs of dumbbells with a single set, but they also feature small 2.5lb increments at the lower poundage settings.

This makes them ideal for doing reverse flyes at home.

Powerblock dumbbell reverse flyes

They can also go as heavy as 90lbs per dumbbell, making them perfect for heavy compound lifts like the bent-over and upright row.

These exercises are excellent ways to build a broad back and complement the reverse fly very well.

3) Practice reverse fly with resistance bands to overcome the moment arm.

When you perform the reverse fly, you may find that the dumbbells suddenly feel very heavy after your arms go past a certain point.

This is due to a phenomenon known as a “moment arm”.

Without going into the physics too much, a moment arm makes it much harder for the muscle to exert force around a joint.

As a result, it becomes difficult to lift the dumbbell past this point.

This reduces your range of motion and muscle activation.

Undersun resistance band reverse flyes

Resistance band flyes are an effective way to train your posterior deltoids to overcome the moment arm.

That’s because unlike the predesignated weight of a dumbbell, bands have a resistance curve spectrum.

This simply means resistance gradually increases as the band stretches.

And this resistance spectrum makes it easier to slowly build deltoid strength at the point where the moment arm is created.

To make your reverse band flyes more effective, go slow and really focus on retracting the shoulder blades to get a good contraction.

I use and recommend the Undersun Fitness bands (link for cheapest price).

Unlike their budget competitors, these bands are extremely durable (they come with a lifetime warranty).

Having had 2 sets of budget bands snap on me in the past, I would highly recommend making a slightly higher initial investment in a set of bands that will last.

I’d also recommend some gloves to protect your hands (the bands generate a lot of friction against your hands).

The gloves don’t need to be expensive to be effective.

I find budget gloves like the Ihuan ventilated neoprene gym gloves do the job perfectly well.

4) Do incline reverse flyes on a bench to prevent cheating.

The awkward position of the standing reverse fly can make it difficult for beginners to not cheat.

If this is something you struggle with, I recommend practicing the reverse fly on an incline bench.

Laying your chest against the backrest of a bench prevents you from cheating because your body can’t generate the momentum that it can do when doing the standing reverse fly.

As a result, you’ll maximally activate your posterior deltoids and your reverse fly will likely improve.

I use and recommend the Flybird FB149 adjustable weight bench (link for cheapest price).

It’s affordable, can be folded after workouts, and the 700lb weight capacity is perfect for home dumbbell training.

Furthermore, it has 7 flat/incline/decline settings.

This makes it very versatile and it can be used for other exercises like the shoulder press, bench press, single-arm row, etc.

But the Flybird bench dimensions make it suitable only for people between 5’7″ and 6’0″.

If you fall under/over this height, then the Fitness Reality adjustable weight bench has more comfortable dimensions.

If you’re looking for a new weight bench, you might be interested in learning how different weight bench dimensions affect the bench’s performance.

5) Do compound exercises to strengthen you’re back.

When it comes to increasing back strength, you can’t beat the compound moves.

I’m talking about the row, pull-up, and their variations.

Performing these exercises will fast-track your back development.

As a result, you’ll be able to lift heavier on the reverse fly, since your back muscles stabilize this movement.

Again, you should concentrate on lifting with good form and progressive overloading regularly.

It’s also important to make sure you’re eating enough protein and calories since compound lifting is energy-intensive.

I would recommend at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight and a 5-15% caloric surplus every day.

How These Weight Standards Were Calculated

The numbers for my research were sourced from Strength Level’s database of 3,000 user-generated reverse dumbbell flyes.

Dumbbell reverse fly strength standards.

Average dumbbell reverse fly standards.

Reverse fly 1RMs were taken from the Strength Level database.

These were then multiplied by the following fractions to get the 6-10RM weights:

  • x0.84 for 6RM.
  • x0.82 for 7RM.
  • x0.80 for 8RM.
  • x0.78 for 9RM.
  • x0.73 for 10RM.
Reverse fly body weight standards.

% of people who can reverse fly their body weight.

The Strength Level database also allows for different reverse fly weights to be sampled against a total population.

I sampled a variety of weights for 200-lb male beginners aged 24-39.

Recommended Products Recap

Conclusion

I’ve shared dumbbell reverse fly weight standards for different training levels and body weights.

If you’re above these averages, then you’re lifting a very respectable weight and you should be proud of yourself.

But if you’re below average, then you can try some of the tips I share to improve your reverse fly strength.

How much weight do you currently lift on the reverse fly?

Let me know in the comments!

Or check out my other posts to find out:

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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