A reverse pec deck machine is an excellent piece of equipment to activate your rear delts and upper back muscles (lower and mid traps and rhomboids). It’s an incredibly versatile tool, making beginners and pros alike form a beeline in the gym. If you want to ensure that you have a solid, chiseled, and strong physique, you cannot skip training these muscle groups.

If you have a pec deck machine or want to work out at home, reverse pec deck alternative exercises will help you achieve the same effect without the machine. Some could give you better results!

Reverse Pec Deck Alternatives (Our 10 Recommendations)

When choosing a reverse pec deck alternative, you should check if it’s targeting the same musculature and has an almost identical movement pattern. 

The muscles you’re activating with pec decks are the trapezius, rhomboids, and rear delts. These back and shoulder muscles are essential to train because they’re responsible for improving your posture and increasing the stability of your shoulder girdle. It will help you reduce shoulder injuries and prevent shoulder impingement.

The reverse pec deck is similar to a reverse fly with the movement pattern. It involves scapular retraction (squeezing shoulder blades together) and humerus horizontal abduction (arms traveling horizontally away from the midline). Since the movement pattern affects the musculature that you’re going to be engaging in, it’s a must that your alternatives are similar. 

So, without waiting any longer, here are 10 alternatives that you should try!

1. Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly

The bent-over dumbbell rear delt fly is an excellent alternative to reverse pec deck because it targets your rear delt, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles using the same movement pattern. It’s the perfect workout if you don’t have a pec deck machine but have dumbbells! 

You can do this workout while seated, with a bench, or by hinging at your hip and continuously maintaining an inclined position. Performing the bent-over dumbbell rear delt fly will require more stabilization than reverse pec decks because you will be holding yourself in a static position as you complete the reverse fly. 

How to do it

  • If you’re using a bench, sit on it with dumbbells in hand. Hinge at the hip with a slight bend in your knee if you’re not. Let your torso incline towards the ground with the dumbbells.
  • Begin with your arms dangling down in front of your body with your palms facing each other.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows. 
  • Start the movement by pulling your arms out towards your sides in a T position.
  • Concentrate on pressing your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms out to the sides. However, avoid shrugging your shoulders towards your ears.
  • Don’t elevate your arms when they’re in line with your body. Pause momentarily in this position.
  • Return your arms to the start position with control.
  • Repeat as many as necessary.

2. Incline Bench Reverse Dumbbell Fly

This reverse pec alternative is a great workout when engaging your rear delts because it has a similar movement pattern. The only contrast between the two is that you won’t generate much force or lift as much weight as you expect. With this exercise, you’ll need an incline bench and dumbbells. 

How to do it

  • Start by grabbing a dumbbell on each hand and sitting on the Incline Bench facing the backrest that’s angled at 45 to 60 degrees. 
  • Keep your torso against the backrest and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Let your arms hang with your elbows flexed slightly and your palms facing each other. Brace your core and abdominal muscles.
  • Exhale and slowly lift the dumbbells up and out to your sides, lifting your upper arm, elbows, and dumbbells together until near shoulder level. 
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together. While in the raised position, keep the dumbbells aligned or slightly in front of your ear. Avoid arching your back.
  • Carefully inhale and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  • Repeat as many as necessary.

3. Barbell Rear Delt Row

Compared to the first two, this next reverse pec deck alternative may be a bit tricky to execute. The barbell rear delt row requires a proper form throughout the motion to isolate the rear delts. Although this workout is perfect for adding a bit of weight in your rear delts training, many end up using their upper backs to do most of the work. 

To accomplish a barbell rear delt row correctly, utilize your elbows by using a wider than shoulder-width grip and remember to perform “high and out elbows.” So, you’ll need a lot of mind-muscle connection here and use a lighter weight as you learn the proper movement pattern. 

How to do it

  • Grasp the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. 
  • Bend over at your hips and keep your back straight. Let the bar hang down in front of you.
  • In a controlled manner, pull the barbell in towards your chest. Focus on engaging your rear delts. 
  • Repeat as many as you can.

4. Face Pull

This reverse pec deck exercise is a good alternative since it engages the same muscle group and has an almost identical movement pattern. However, you should note that although face pulls are similar to a reverse pec deck, it has an external rotation component since the arms are closer to the body during the pull. 

Because of this, it decreases the engagement on the rear delts and activates the external rotators more. This alternative exercise is ideal if you do reverse pec decks to increase your shoulder’s strength and stability. You can perform it using a cable pulley machine or resistance bands.

Face pulls target shoulder muscles that will keep your shoulders healthy. However, if you are after muscle growth in your rear delts, this may not give you the results that you expect. 

How to do it

  • Anchor the Resistance Band slightly overhead to a sturdy object or a rack or set the cable of a cable pulley machine using a somewhat overhead rope attachment.
  • Stand and face the cable or band.
  • Hold the band/rope attachment and step back to a staggered stance to create tension.
  • Begin with your arms extended in front of your body.
  • Then, pull your elbows back behind your head.
  • Use your hands to pull the band/rope apart as your forearms rotate backward.
  • Keep your elbows high as your forearms rotate backward. 
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pause in this position momentarily before going back to the starting position.
  • Repeat as many reps as you can.

5. YTWs

This reverse pec deck substitute is the best home exercise you can include in your shoulder workout routine. You don’t need any equipment, just enough space, and your body weight! It is an excellent alternative because it targets similar muscle groups and the “T” position has the same movement pattern as a reverse pec deck.

This exercise will help you build strength in your rear delts and activate other muscle groups, including the lower traps. With this, you’ll be able to improve your posture and keep your shoulders healthy.

How to do it

  • Lie face down on a mat with your forehead resting on it.
  • Place your arms overhead in a “Y” position with your thumbs pointed up towards the ceiling.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together into scapular retraction as you keep your shoulders down to lift your arms off the floor.
  • Bring your arms back to the mat and repeat the movement ten times.
  • Place your arms out to the sides to form a “T” position. Keep your palms facing the mat.
  • Again, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you keep your shoulders away from your ears, relaxing your upper traps to raise your arms off the mat.
  • Bring your arms down and repeat the movement ten times.
  • While your palms are facing the mat, bend your elbows, pulling them into the sides of your body to create a “W”.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together so you can lift your hands and elbows off the mat without letting your shoulders roll forward.
  • Bring your arms back to the mat and repeat ten times.
  • Do as many sets as you prefer.

6. Side-Lying Reverse Fly

This unilateral isolation exercise will not only target your posterior deltoid but also engage smaller and often lagging muscle groups. To do side-lying reverse fly in proper posture, you need to keep your body still and your elbows slightly flexed or straight. Although you can do this exercise while lying on the floor, it’s best if you lie on a flat bench instead.

How to do it

  • Lie down on your right side with a dumbbell in front of you and your head supported by your right hand. 
  • Hold the dumbbell with your left hand using a neutral grip. Keep your elbows straight or flexed slightly.
  • While keeping your elbow fixed and your body still, breath out as you raise the dumbbell from the ground until it’s nearly vertical.
  • Hold for two seconds.
  • Breath in as you reverse the motion and lower the dumbbell back to the starting position but cease before the dumbbell touches the floor.
  • Repeat as many reps as you can and do the same for the other side. 

7. TRX Reverse Fly

The TRX reverse fly is a bodyweight exercise that targets your shoulders and upper back. It’s a great alternative that will strengthen your posterior delts, rhomboids, lower traps, and other muscles. Also, it can help you boost your push-to-pull ratio when doing an upper-body exercise.

How to do it

  • Adjust the straps so the handles are at an appropriate height.
  • Grab the handles with both hands by placing your palms facing each other. 
  • With your arms straight, lean back and adjust your position to change the difficulty level. Keep your body straight and your arms extended. This will be your start position.
  • Rotate your stretched arms outward. Then, bring your arms back in front of your body.
  • Repeat as many as you prefer. 

8. Seated Rear Lateral Raise

This great alternative to reverse pec dec can help you increase your strength and grow the size of your rear delts as well as other muscles in your upper and lower body. Doing seated rear lateral raises may improve your posture and help make movement easier.

How to do it

  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows when you perform the exercise. 
  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and bend your knees a bit.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to rest alongside your body.
  • Keep your spine neutral and your core tight as you hinge forward at your hips.
  • Move your torso so it’s nearly parallel to the floor.
  • Let your arms hang down below your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
  • Activate your shoulder blades as you lift the weights to your sides.
  • Stop as your elbows reach shoulder height. Make sure that your pinky is higher than your thumb.
  • Carefully lower the dumbbells back to the start position.
  • Repeat as many as you can.

9. Reverse Cable Fly

Another reverse pec deck alternative is the reverse cable fly. This workout will enable you to target your rear delts while maintaining constant tension throughout the full range of motion. Depending on the height, you can activate different muscles. Keep them mid-level for more scapular retraction.

How to do it

  • Clutch the left pulley with your right hand and grab the right pulley with your left hand. Cross it in front of you. 
  • Move your arms back and out, going to the side, keeping them straight as you perform the movement.
  • Slowly bring the handles back to the start position.
  • Repeat as many reps as needed.

10. Rear Delt Row

This is a great alternative if you’re doing the reverse pec deck to strengthen and build the size of your upper back. Also, it lets you lift heavier weights compared to performing the usual fly movement pattern. With this, you can load your rear delts more heavily and engage a larger musculature to help with the movement.

How to do it

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hinge at your hips with slightly bent knees to presume an inclined torso position.
  • Let your arms dangle in front of yourself and angle your hands so your thumbs face each other.
  • Begin the movement by pulling your shoulder blades together and propelling your arms back, so your elbows are even/slightly behind your body.
  • Your elbows should be at least 80 degrees away from your body.
  •  Pause at the top position of the row to activate your upper back muscles.
  • Carefully lower the weight down to the start position.
  • Repeat as many reps as preferred.


Having a reverse pec deck machine at your disposal can speed up growing your rear delts. However, if you don’t, you shouldn’t tell your personal trainer you’re quitting! The reverse pec deck alternatives listed above are excellent substitutes that will give you the same results as when using a machine. Our top two favorites are the bent-over rear delt fly and YTWs!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are various ways to perform a reverse pec deck without a machine. You can do the alternatives listed above, like the face pull (resistance band), YTWs (bodyweight), rear delt row (dumbbell). Check out above how to do each!

Pull-ups are generally good in building your chest, including the rear delts. However, if you need a more isolated workout, reverse pec decks are one of the best.

Similar Posts