What are dumbbell flys?

The dumbbell fly, also known as dumbbell chest fly or the DB fly, is a variation of the fly exercise that requires hand and arm movements while keeping the elbows in a stable position. 

Since in a dumbbell chest fly your arms are extended at their longest possible length, the amount of weight used in this exercise is less than other exercises for the same muscles. 

What muscles do dumbbell chest flys work?

The dumbbell chest fly works the following muscles:

  • Pectoral muscles
  • Scapular stabilisers
  • Anterior deltoid
  • Biceps
  • Trapezius (upper and lower)
  • Anterior shoulder muscles

The DB fly exercise is not just a great exercise for athletes and bodybuilders who want to enhance their endurance, strength, and power. This dumbbell workout can also be done by regular gym-goers who want to build their upper body strength.

How to do dumbbell flys step by step?

Being a weighted exercise, it is essential to know the correct technique of the dumbbell flys. 

The equipment needed for dumbbell flyes include:

  • Two dumbbells
  • Bench (optional)

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do dumbbell flys exercise with the perfect form.

Because of the bench shape, this is also known as the flat bench dumbbell fly.

  1. To start the flat dumbbell fly, lie flat on your back on the bench and place your feet firmly on the ground. 
  2. Keep your back and head straight and pressed into the bench.
  3. Get two dumbbells handed over and hold one in each hand.
  4. Slowly lift your arms above the head to extend them. Keep your elbows bent and let the palms face each other.
  5. Inhale deeply and lower the dumbbells slowly in an arched motion to bring them in line with the chest. 
  6. Remember not to drop your arms lower than your shoulders.
  7. Exhale deeply and take the dumbbells up in a similar arc movement.

Sets and reps: You can do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of the dumbbell flys. 

Which are some of the best dumbbell fly variations?

Here are some of the most effective and challenging dumbbell fly variations to try. These include both sitting and standing dumbbell fly variations.

1. Gym ball dumbbell flys:

As the name suggests, this exercise is done while positioning your back on a gym ball. This is a great exercise to work your chest as well as the core. Since your back is supported on an unstable surface, your body works harder in keeping itself stable and upright. 

2. Bent over dumbbell flys:

Also known as the bent over reverse dumbbell fly, this is an excellent shoulder dumbbell fly exercise that not just activates the back portion of your shoulders but also strengthens your upper back and chest

Step-by-Step guide to perform Bent over dumbbell flys

  • To start the bent over dumbbell fly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the weights at your sides.
  • Slowly push your hips back and hinge your torso to the front. Get your chest parallel to the floor.
  • The weights should be hanging down while you tighten your core, straighten the back, and bend the knees slightly. Your chin should be tucked in.
  • Raise both arms while keeping a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the weight back together to get into the starting position of the bent over reverse dumbbell fly. 

 In case you are suffering from pain or injury, you can avoid doing the standing version of the bent over reverse dumbbell fly. Instead, sit on a bench to do this exercise.

3. Incline dumbbell flys:

For your shoulders dumbbell fly on an incline bench works as a great exercise. This also works your biceps and chest muscles. For this flat bench dumbbell fly, you need to position your back on an incline bench, that’s lowered to 30-degrees.                                      

What are the benefits of dumbbell flys?

There are several great reasons why dumbbell flys are a great addition to your workout routine. Here are some of the benefits of this exercise:

  • One of the best benefits of dumbbell chest flys is that it works on your deltoids and in turn strengthen your shoulders. This helps in preventing pain and stiffness in the shoulder region and enhances your ability to lift better. 
  • This is a great exercise to open up and activate your chest muscles. This not just improves your upper body strength but also keeps your cardiovascular system healthy. 
  • One of the best compound exercises that stimulate multiple groups in your chest, back, arms, and core, it improves your overall strength and endurance.
  • One of the most important benefits of dumbbell chest flys is that it helps make your lower back stronger. It is especially important for people who need to sit for long periods and suffer from back pain and stiffness. 
  • There are several dumbbell fly variations that can be modified to match your age and fitness levels. Each variation such as dumbbell reverse fly and flat dumbbell fly has its benefits.
  • This is one of the best exercises for people who cannot lift heavyweights.
  • Since this exercise requires minimal setup of a pair of dumbbells and a bench, it can be easily done at home. 

How to do dumbbell flys safely to avoid injuries?

Here are some things that need to be kept in mind to do the dumbbell flys safely:

  • Whether you are doing the traditional form of this exercise or a variation such as a dumbbell reverse fly or the standing dumbbell fly, it is essential to know the correct posture and technique. This is important to prevent injuries.
  • Don’t lift too much weight at the outset. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weights.
  • Don’t overstretch your arms or chest. Doing this may increase your chance of injury.
  • If you have a history of injuries or pains, don’t do this exercise without consulting your doctor.  

Takeaway

Dumbbell flys is a classic exercise that not just strengthens your body but also gives you an aesthetic appearance. To gain the benefits of this exercise, it is important to keep yourself motivated and engaged by trying out its progressive variations. This exercise, like any other, works best when practised consistently. 

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Posted 
June 10, 2022
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