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Dumbbell Flys Video Guide

Average: 3.7 (73 votes)
3.7 5 73

Exercise Profile

  • Shoulders
  • Strength
  • Dumbbell
  • Isolation
  • Push
  • Beginner

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Chest Exercises Diagram

Exercise Instructions

  1. Grasp a set of dumbbells and sit on the end of a flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your thighs.
  2. Lay back on the bench and extend your arms out, holding the dumbbells above your body with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). The dumbbells should not be touching. Keep your feet planted on the floor for balance. Bend your arms slightly. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells out to your sides in a semi-circle. Rotate at the shoulders only, keep your arms slightly bent.
  4. Once the dumbbells get about level with your chest, squeeze the chest muscles and raise the dumbbells back up using the same path of motion (semi circle) as you did on the way down.
  5. Without letting the dumbbells touch, slowly lower them again. 
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

​Dumbbell Fly Tips:

  1. This exercise should be done slowly, focusing on the stretch and contraction of the pectoral muscles.
  2. Don't pause or let the dumbbells touch at the top of the exercise.
  3. Use a full range of motion by lowering the dumbbells as far as comfortably possible.
  4. Always use a wide semi circle motion when doing this exercise, and don't allow the dumbbells to come too close to the body. 
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Comments (19)

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Bill
Posted Sun, 03/11/2012 - 16:29

I find that i work my shoulders more than my chest on this exercise. Can anyone tell me why?

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Reed
Posted Fri, 03/23/2012 - 10:49

you may be holding the weight too close to your head. while laying on your back, bring the weight closer down to your feet, so the the weights are above the lower part of your chest, and on the decent, try to keep them in that general vicinity. you'll recruit more shoulder muscle fibers the closer the weight come to your head

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Joe
Posted Sat, 03/16/2013 - 07:20

You are feeling it more in your shoulders because 1. when you have the dumbbells together over you you cannot reach a peak contraction because of the position of your arms perpendicular to the ground thus a lot of the stress is transferred to your elbow joint, AND for peak contraction you need to cross your hands over and past each other over your chest. Drop the dumbbells and start using cable flyes so you can get that peak contraction. (which have the same resistance at the top as they do at the bottom, which dumbbells don't) 2. you stretch your hands too far out from your body during the lower, stretched position, which transfers more of the stress onto your anterior delts. Instead keep the bend in your elbow so that your forearms are always perpendicular to the ground. This allows a full stretch upon your pecs with the maximum stress. AND the 3rd and most important tip: ALWAYS maintain the correct form of keeping your shoulder blades back while performing chest flyes for maximum pec stimulation. Pretend you are trying to squeeze a tennis ball between your shoulder blades.

Additional tip #1. Instead of keeping your feet on the floor bring them up and place them on the bench as if you were going to do sit-ups on the floor position. This little technique (emphasized by the great Vince Gironda) helps place/keep the stress on the pecs.

Additional tip #2: Stop squeezing your hands so hard around the handles. Sounds strange, but try to keep your hands as loose as possible while still maintaining a safe & secure grip. It's the same as with using straps with dumbbell rows. Less stress upon the hands (straps aiding grip) = more muscle activation in the target muscle. Instead of having your thumbs touch your fingers when you wrap your hands around the handles, keep a small amount of space between them for better pec stimulation.

P. S. You're welcome ;-P

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Chris Lund
Posted Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:40

It sounds like you are using to much weight. That will cause you to put more emphasis on your shoulders than than your pecs. Try using less weight and see if it helps.

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Scott
Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 18:25

I agree with Chris, it sounds like too much weight. I've found that I can use heavier dumbbells, but after a few reps it puts strain on my shoulders so I have a tendency to bring my arms in closer to my body at the bottom of the motion. This reduces effectiveness as a chest exercise and can be corrected by using a lower weight with a slower controlled motion and more reps.

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Ozy
Posted Tue, 07/03/2012 - 23:40

I`d recommend you to keep your shoulders back and down, basically. If you do flys on a bench, you need a spotter and need to make 100% sure that you don’t let your elbows drop lower than your shoulders as this would hyperextend your shoulder and put it at risk of injury. Like all exercises, the key is to do this exercise very slowly and with strict form – no cheating. Keep your arms straight but not locked, if you have to bend your elbows then use a lighter weight. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground, this puts your lower back in a safe position. When lifting, flex your abs for additional lower back support. Form is everything, try for 2s up and 2s down. It is best to do dumbbell fly laying on the floor to safely limit your range of motion.

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Naman Mehra
Posted Thu, 09/13/2012 - 16:45

What's the main difference b/w Dumbbell Press and Dumbell Fly.

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clark dominic
Posted Thu, 06/20/2013 - 02:29

BIG

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jack
Posted Fri, 12/28/2012 - 04:00

im looking to do this at home but i dont have a bench, what can i use as a substitute?

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Zincheomosh
Posted Tue, 01/15/2013 - 05:47

The best thing u can do it take the best guidance and do it properly,putting too much weight on any exercise won't help to build any muscle,begin with the low weight and get the maximum result,and its better to do the original exercise without cheating yourself rather than alternatives.

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William
Posted Fri, 03/01/2013 - 11:52

I currently bench 65kg for 8 reps. What would be a suitable weight for each dumbell?

Cheers!

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Samy
Posted Fri, 08/23/2013 - 10:12

Will doing the similar chest exercise on a machine (don't remember what it's name is) serve the same purpose and give the same results, or does this exercise give better/worse/different results?

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scott cole
Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 08:37

if this is consitered a isolation movment the why are shoulders a secondary muscle mentioned.that makes no sence

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Dean
Posted Thu, 10/31/2013 - 22:34

If you dont have a bench, are they as effective sitting on a chair?

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Black
Posted Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:06

Shoulders take over once you have extended pass the stretching of your pectoral muscles. Once you feel that good stretch in your chest do not extend any further and while coming back up squeeze your chest until your arms are parallel above your head. Make sure you are using a weight that you can manage and over time gradually increase your weight. I suggest using lighter weight until you get the technique down.

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adnan
Posted Sun, 02/02/2014 - 11:02

can we use butterfly exercise in place of dumbbell fly ?

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SELV!
Posted Thu, 02/06/2014 - 21:17

Hi!! heres my question.. Im vegetarienne.. I eat very good but just eat certain fish.. I work out alot .. Tread mill, eliptical, also do a regulier program on my bow flex .. sometime do yoga... im very active.. and my day job is very physique also!!! My question here is .. what kind of proteine powder should I take and when during the day and how many times a day....ect.. im doing everything im supose to do but dont stay tone like I wish I would .. theres alot of effort here .. but the resulte are not what I expect. Can anyone help me out .. on this one. I realy wont to stay tone at all time. I realy think the problem is not enaught protein. Thanks

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Amy
Posted Wed, 02/12/2014 - 11:56

should women do all these types of chest exercises?

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MG
Posted Tue, 05/13/2014 - 00:52

What do you do if you don't want to use bench ? is it possible on floor ??

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