The dumbbell chest fly is a chest focused exercise which primarily targets the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles (the two sets of muscles on the front of your chest). There are several variations you can use including fixed machine and cables, but we are going to look more at the dumbbell chest fly.

Using dumbbells for this exercise will challenge your muscles stability more than the other variations as the machine is in a fixed position and only moves in one way, and the cables have some element of control from the resistance provided by the cables (although they do provide continuous resistance at the top of the movement that dumbbells do not). Dumbbells on the other hand can move around a lot more freely and so require your muscles to work harder to keep them stable throughout the whole movement.

How to:

  • Set a bench up either flat or incline depending on what you would like to focus on – having an incline on your bench will work your upper chest more.
  • Select your weights and lay back on the bench, with dumbbells above you and palms facing each other.
  • Soften your elbows and slowly lower the dumbbells out wide (think semi-circle shape) until you feel a stretch across your chest at the bottom.
  • Focus on contracting the muscles in your chest to squeeze and bring the dumbbells back together above you with palms still facing each other, keeping your elbows soft (but not bent) throughout the movement. Imagine bringing your little fingers together which will help you get the squeeze in your chest.
  • Repeat for desired reps.

Things to remember:

  • Elbows soft – not locked out or fully bend
  • Palms facing each other
  • Take the weights out as wide as you can at the bottom of the movement
  • Imaging your little fingers coming together on the upward phase
  • Mind to muscle connection – think about the muscles you are working!

Grab one of the team to check your technique on this exercise or to try some other variations!

Blog by Jo Davies – Personal Trainer (Jo Davies Fitness)