August Move of the Month – The Iso Squat Reverse Fly

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It’s often during the warmer months we find ourselves outside and doing work around the house. Whether we’re painting, hammering the deck or pulling weeds, our muscles are used in different ways from twisting, turning, leaning over or reaching, and can leave us feeling sore and stiff the next day. As the summer season starts to wind down and you find yourself doing final projects before the Fall, consider trying this month’s move of the month: the iso squat reverse fly. The unique position and isolation of your shoulders and upper back will help strengthen and fine-tune these muscles before your next round of household to-dos.

Check out the six steps Michele Nesbit, National Fitness Director, Orangetheory Fitness Canada, shares below for perfect technique.


*A set of dumbbells are recommended for this move. To engage the right muscles and avoid using momentum, use a weight range you’re comfortable with.

  1. Start by standing with a slight bend in your knees and your feet shoulder width apart. Push your hips back and drive your weight into your heels. If you’re doing it correctly, you should be able to wiggle your toes.
  2. Keep your head in a neutral position with your eyes looking straight ahead. Lean forward until your back is parallel to the ground, like Michele in Image A. Do not lift your head up like Michele demonstrates in Image C.  It may feel uncomfortable at first but make sure you do not arch your back.
  3. With your chest wide and palms faced down holding onto the dumbbells, pull your elbows outwards with a slight bend.
  4. Push your elbows wide, not high, until your upper arm is level with your back. There should be a slight pinch between your shoulder blades. See Image B for the ideal position.
  5. Hold your arms up for a single count and return to the start position, with your body maintaining the parallel, start position.
  6. Repeat. You can try starting with three sets of 12 or repeat as many times as possible.

Expert Insight: If you experience back discomfort or difficulty driving your elbows wide, try performing this move on a seat. It will help minimize some of the tension in your back while remaining effective.

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