Flat Dumbbell Flies
The dumbbell fly is an excellent exercise for adding both size and strength to the chest.
Dumbbell flies, regardless of whether they’re being performed on a flat, incline or decline bench target the outer portion of the chest.
There’s a fine line between good form, poor form and a potential injury when it comes to performing dumbbell flies, as strict form is near impossible to maintain with heavy weight, often resulting in shoulder and rotator cuff related issues.
If you take one thing from this instructional article for dumbbell flies be it this:
Forget the weight, focus on your form, a nice slow tempo and hold that contraction at the top of bottom of each repetition momentarily – save the heavy lifting for your pressing movements.
Flat Dumbbell Flies Form:
Sit on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Rest the dumbbells on your thighs with your palms facing each other.
Using your thighs kick the dumbbells up one at a time.
Once the dumbbells have been loaded into place ensure your palms are facing towards each other.
Maintain a slight bend in your arms as you proceed to slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides, keep your arms as straight as possible without having them locked out.
Squeeze and contract your chest at the bottom of the repetition for 1 second.
Maintaining the same slight bend in your arms proceed to fly the dumbbells back up to the starting position. The best analogy I have heard (which helped me finally get the right form!) for dumbbell flies is to imagine you’re hugging a tree – practising this movement standing up without weights and familiarise yourself, then take it to the bench with your dumbbells.
Flat Dumbbell Flies Variations
Incline Dumbbell Flies
Utilizing the same form described above, the only difference here is you’ll be performing your dumbbell flies on an incline bench. Incline places more emphasis on the upper chest.
Decline Dumbbell Flies
Utilizing the same form described above, the only difference here is you’ll be performing your dumbbell flies on a decline bench. decline places more emphasis on the lower portion of the chest.
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Common Flat Dumbbell Flies Mistakes
Utilizing A Partial Range Of Motion
As you maintain a slight bend in your arms you must allow the dumbbells to pull your arms back until you feel the stretch in your chest.
Not Maintaining A Bend In Your Arms
With dead straight arms you’ll find that you’re not only failing to get the same stretch and contraction in the chest, but you’re also placing yourself at greater risk of elbow/shoulder injuries.
Failing To Contract The Chest On Each Repetition
At the top of the movement you must squeeze your chest muscles together in order to get a full contraction, if you’re merely going through the motions but not taking the time to squeeze on each repetition you’re going to fail to see the results you’re after.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Wide Grip Barbell Presses (Flat/Incline/Decline)
- Pec Dec
- Wide Grip Push-Ups
- Cable Crossovers