Home » Blog » How to Do the Dumbbell Flye for a Complete Chest

How to Do the Dumbbell Flye for a Complete Chest

The bench press is seen because the go-to chest train by many lifters seeking to construct a well-rounded set of pecs, however it has some limitations. Most importantly, it’s not truly a “chest” exercise. It’s a “chest, shoulders, and triceps” train as a result of it’s a compound (multi-joint) motion and it lacks the power to successfully goal a single muscle.

That is the place isolation (single-joint) workouts can shine. The dumbbell flye is likely one of the best workouts to essentially zero in on the chest. It emphasizes improvement of your pecs whereas creating much less general demand and decrease basic fatigue in different muscle tissue. Right here’s why you must add this bodybuilding staple to your chest workout.

Tips on how to Do the Dumbbell Flye

The dumbbell flye’s vary of movement strikes the weights additional away out of your physique’s midline, which permits gravity to ship an excellent higher problem to the muscle within the eccentric (reducing) portion of the carry.

Step 1 — Set Up On the Bench

Credit score: lunamarina / Shutterstock

Lie on a flat bench whereas bringing a pair of dumbbells to your chest with bent arms, tucking your elbows to your sides. Maintain your ft flat on the ground, set barely wider than your hips. Press the weights above your chest together with your palms dealing with one another. Maintain your head involved with the bench.

Barely bend your arms. Retract your shoulder blades by pinching them collectively and keep this place all through every rep.

Type Tip: Earlier than starting every rep, take one or two seconds to “reset” within the prime place and be sure that your physique is correctly in place.

Step 2 — Decrease the Weights right into a Stretch

Man on bench in gym lowering dumbbells
Credit score: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

As a result of it is a flye, not a press, hold your elbows at a constant angle all through the motion. Slowly decrease the dumbbells out to the facet till your arms are parallel with the ground and your palms are dealing with up.

Your elbows ought to find yourself consistent with your shoulders. Pause briefly within the backside place to considerably stretch your pecs.

Type Tip: The underside place of the flye is the place most accidents happen as a result of your joints are naturally most weak as a result of poor leverage. You will need to stay secure by driving your ft into the bottom to extend your stability. Managing your respiration may also assist. Maintain your breath as you decrease the burden, breathe out as you convey the burden again up, and inhale earlier than reducing the burden once more.

Step 3 — Elevate the Weights to Full Contraction

Man in gym on flat bench lifting dumbbells
Credit score: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Along with your abs and higher again muscle tissue engaged and your decrease physique driving into the bottom, take into consideration pulling your elbows and higher arms throughout your chest.

Make sure you hold your arms at a constant angle. In the event that they’re bending and straightening excessively, you’re utilizing your triceps, not your chest, to maneuver the burden.

Type Tip: As you come to the highest, think about that you’re giving somebody a bear hug. This movement will assist to maintain your arms and shoulders in place and it helps to completely shorten the pecs as you attain the highest place.

Dumbbell Flye Errors to Keep away from

The dumbbell flye takes some focus to yield most advantages. This additionally means it’s extremely essential to nail the technical element in an effort to reduce the danger of accidents occurring.

Lifting With Your Arms

One of the crucial frequent errors is popping the dumbbell flye into the dumbbell bench press. Whereas the press may be an efficient train by itself, it recruits extra muscle tissue on the expense of chest emphasis.

Man outdoors on flat bench lifting dumbbells
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Bending your arms will scale back general rigidity on the chest muscle, stopping the flye from stimulating most muscle progress.

Keep away from It: Preserve a barely bent arm all through your entire train. Within the backside place, your fingers needs to be prolonged away out of your shoulders, not close to your shoulder in a urgent place.

Lack of Stability

Some lifters will go away their legs utterly relaxed, pointed on their toes, or raised utterly within the air. This de-stabilizes your physique and makes you much less efficient at performing this train as a result of a scarcity of stability from the bottom up.

Woman in gym performing dumbbell flye
Credit score: BLACKDAY / Shutterstock

When your physique is unstable, your muscle tissue can not produce enough drive or keep muscular rigidity. This creates a poor stimulus for progress.

Keep away from It: Your legs permit you to create a base of help for extra total-body stability throughout every rep. Which means it is possible for you to to create extra rigidity on the goal muscle and use barely extra weight. Keep flat-footed and drive your ft into the bottom throughout the rep.

Lifting Too Quick or Too Heavy

This error is extra typically related to individuals new to coaching and haven’t but mastered flye method or those that rush by reps and use careless method.

Man in gym performing dumbbell exercise on bench
Credit score: Slatan / Shutterstock

Common poor type, excessively quick reps, or heavy weights can all result in a big quantity of pressure on the shoulder and elbow joints. This could additionally happen when the arms are locked straight throughout the train.

Keep away from it: Conserving your elbows softly bent from begin to end. If the burden is just too heavy, your arms will instinctively bend an excessive amount of to shift the burden. Taking a short pause within the prime place can decelerate your reps and guarantee your type stays on level.

Advantages of the Dumbbell Flye

The dumbbell flye is exclusive as a result of it permits you to problem the pecs considerably by the eccentric portion of every rep, making the muscle contract tougher in a stretched place.

Man in gym stretching chest with dumbbells
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

The dumbbell flye places the chest underneath a big stretch, adopted by an intense contraction. That’s a successful mixture for muscle progress.

Difficult The Lengthened Vary

The dumbbell flye triggers muscular progress by emphasizing rigidity on the pecs within the stretched place. Taking two to a few seconds to decrease the burden will problem the muscle within the lengthened vary, which can result in elevated muscle protein synthesis. (1)

That is in distinction to workouts that are more difficult within the contracted vary, equivalent to a pec-deck machine or cable crossover.

Muscle mass Labored by the Dumbbell Flye

As an isolation train, the dumbbell flye focuses most rigidity on only one muscle — the chest. A number of smaller muscle tissue are recruited as nicely, however not as a major mover.

Muscular man flexing chest and abs
Credit score: ALL greatest health is HERE / Shutterstock

Some lifters de-prioritize isolation workouts just like the dumbbell flye and overfocus on multi-joint actions. That strategy can create lagging muscle teams that are under-trained as a result of a number of physique elements are consistently working with out regard to balanced improvement.


The pectoralis main covers your entire chest. Its two heads, the sternal (mid-chest) and the clavicular (higher chest) are each recruited throughout the train. One of many capabilities of the pecs is to adduct the higher arm — bringing the higher arm towards the physique’s centerline — which is strictly the motion carried out throughout the flye.

Anterior Deltoids

The entrance muscle of the shoulder, the anterior delt, is the muscle that assists the pecs in performing the flye movement. If you happen to really feel your delts are being labored greater than your pecs, lower the burden and concentrate on feeling the chest muscle tissue contract and stretch, whereas your shoulder stabilizes the weights. Additionally concentrate on retaining your palms dealing with up. Don’t enable your fingers to rotate throughout the motion. 


Whereas your delts help your pecs, the biceps are additionally engaged and put underneath rigidity as a result of barely bent arm place. The biceps work to take care of elbow place and stabilize your decrease arm (and the dumbbell) throughout the motion.

The biceps are labored statically since you shouldn’t be curling the weight throughout a dumbbell flye.

Who Ought to Do the Dumbbell Flye

The dumbbell flye is a basic muscle-building train. Any lifter seeking to maximize their chest improvement needs to be implementing the motion into their programming. As a result of prolonged arm place and unfavorable leverages, the train isn’t well-suited to move heavy weights safely.

Physique Fans

One of these isolation train will help in growing muscle measurement and symmetry of the pecs. The dumbbell flye permits the pecs to work with minimal involvement of different muscle tissue, making it an efficient option to emphasize the chest.

Tips on how to Program the Dumbbell Flye

To prioritize muscle progress, the dumbbell flye needs to be programmed as a secondary train after your foremost chest urgent. It can be used as a finisher on the finish of the exercise to utterly fatigue the muscle fibers recruited throughout the session.

Average Weight, Average Repetition

Utilizing a normal bodybuilding strategy of three to 4 units within the six to 12 rep vary will help in driving up coaching quantity for the pecs, which performs a big function in constructing muscle. (2)

Low Weight, Excessive Repetition

Utilizing a lighter weight for two to a few units within the 13 to twenty rep vary is a good way to observe dumbbell flye method, particularly if you first incorporate it into your routine. This strategy will nonetheless enable an general improve in coaching quantity, encouraging muscle progress.

Dumbbell Flye Variations

Under are two variations you could swap into your exercises when you’ve mastered commonplace dumbbell flyes. Whereas the workouts are nonetheless very related in nature, the refined variations in physique positioning, vary of movement, and muscle recruitment can proceed to enhance pec improvement.

Dumbbell Foam Curler Flye 

Mendacity on a foam curler as a substitute of a flat bench can enhance your capability to retract your shoulder blades into the froth curler itself, as a result of the curler is extra slim than the bench, which allows the shoulder blades to maneuver extra freely.

As a result of the froth curler is spherical and should wish to transfer beneath your physique, it forces you to make use of extra management throughout the train, which can assist to maintain your shoulders wholesome and secure.

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Utilizing a bench set at an inclined angle will shift the main focus of the stretch to the clavicular (higher pec) head of the chest.

Though the vary of movement on the shoulder joint will probably be barely lower than the flat bench as a result of the arms transfer at a special angle, it’s nonetheless essential to work by the lively vary of movement in which you’ll be able to keep rigidity on the pecs. Decrease the burden so far as attainable with out aggressively stretching the chest and shoulders, and carry to a full contraction.

Dumbbell Flye Options

Some lifters could also be unable to carry out dumbbell flyes, both as a result of mobility points, joint ache, or different individualized elements. There are a number of alternate options that may equally strengthen and construct your chest.

Cable Crossovers

The cable crossover, or standing cable flye, is similar single-joint motion sample because the dumbbell flye with two main variations. First, the cable pulley system may be adjusted to various heights and a wide range of arm positions can be utilized. These slight variations enable “customization” of the motion to accommodate shoulder mobility points.

Secondly, the cable machine doesn’t depend on gravity or leverage like a dumbbell flye, so it applies fixed rigidity to the chest all through each a part of the rep. This rigidity additionally permits you to improve the vary of movement by crossing your fingers over one another within the contracted place, which can assist you to really feel the muscle working extra, and perceive the right way to absolutely interact your pecs on any train.


The “infamous” pec-deck machine is a staple in any business fitness center, however frequent misuse has constructed its unfair fame as a shoulder-killer. This dumbbell flye various reduces the necessity for total-body stability as a result of seated and supported place.

Nonetheless, this added help doesn’t imply you’ll be able to overload the motion with heavy weights. The pec-deck is greatest used to complete off the chest muscle tissue after you’ve got already accomplished your major lifts.


What ought to I do if my shoulder hurts after I carry out this train?

Cease performing the train instantly. If you happen to really feel ache or discomfort throughout a motion, don’t “soldier on” and push by ache to complete your set.

Ache might not essentially imply you’ve got an harm, however it might be a warning signal and may truly spotlight some areas of weak spot which may flip into greater points if left unaddressed. Consulting with a medical skilled is a good suggestion.

Can I exploit dumbbell flyes in each chest exercise?

You can, as a result of it’s an efficient and direct chest-training train. Nonetheless, to stimulate general pec improvement and keep away from stagnation, it may be simpler to rotate variations of the flye usually. Change the motion each eight to 12 weeks or everytime you really feel you can not proceed safely progressing in weight.

Flyes for Measurement

The bench press is likely to be the meat and potatoes of many chest exercises, however dumbbell flyes are an important isolation train if you’re after a extra muscular chest. The usually-overlooked isolation train makes it simpler to crank up the pec-training quantity with centered precision.


  1. Schoenfeld, Brad MSc, CSCS The Use of Specialised Coaching Strategies to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy, Energy and Conditioning Journal: August 2011 – Quantity 33 – Problem 4 – p 60-65 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3182221ec2 
  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, Ok., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Coaching Quantity Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy however Not Energy in Educated Males. Drugs and science in sports activities and train, 51(1), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764

Featured Picture: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *