Whereas flyes are typically used to strengthen and build the pectoralis major, the subscapularis fly is a specialized exercise designed to recruit the subscapularis. The reason is that most people have a chronically tight and weak subscapularis. This is yet another shoulder girdle health issue, and so the muscle often needs some short-term, dedicated specific work to restore the proper length / tension relationship.
Another great benefit from direct subscapularis training is the potentiation of strength of the trapezius 3 and 4 areas. Since the subscapularis works in almost direct opposition to the trap 3, training these two structures back to back yields a quicker result in both strength and flexibility.
The Subscapularis Fly is not much different than a regular Dumbbell (DB) Fly. The primary change occurs in the pattern of movement. Whereas a regular DB Fly puts the DB’s in line with the ears at the bottom of the movement, a subscapularis fly puts the DB’s above the line of the top of the head.
To perform the exercise, lay down on a flat bench with the DB’s at arm’s length, directly over the chest, as pictured below. The arms should be bent approximately 5°.
Inhale, and lower the DB’s in an outward and backward arc, approximately 45° from the torso. The movement should be made of equal parts out, and back. The tension will be generated primarily in the subscapularis, and will manifest itself as a sensation of stretch underneath the pecs. The shoulders will naturally externally rotate as you descend, so although you begin with a palms away (pronated) grip, the bottom of the range of motion will look like you have supinated the wrists and turned the palms slightly toward the ceiling.
After reaching the bottom position of fullest stretch, exhale and reverse the movement.
NYC Personal Training
Physiqology is a personal training company based in New York City. We offer a sustainable system of personal fitness training through the seamless integration of exercise, flexibility training, diet and supplementation.