Strength training terms like “incline dumbbell fly” can make it sound like you’re in for a difficult workout. It’s usually not the case. These are not overly hard to perform. And, they have great benefits.
These dumbbell flyes are effective exercises for strengthening the upper chest and upper body. Let’s take a closer look at this exercise’s benefits and what to avoid.
What is the incline dumbbell fly?
There are various ways to perform the incline dumbbell fly. The traditional way is to pair dumbbells and a weight bench at roughly a 45-degree angle.
The incline dumbbell fly chest workout builds your chest muscles and overall strength. It also activates the secondary muscle group known as the shoulders and triceps.
What muscles do incline dumbbell flyes work?
The main focus of the dumbbell fly is the chest. But, it also targets a secondary set of muscles, like the shoulders, arms, and back. These muscles are used to stabilize the weight during the workout.
The primary and secondary muscles are not the only set of muscles that can be activated with the dumbbell flyes. There’s much more gain than pain.
Incline dumbbell flyes: variations
There are several fly variations. One of these variations is the cable chest fly. An isolation exercise for the chest and front deltoids.
Let’s take a look at some incline fly variations.
Cable chest fly
The cable chest fly is a workout that you can do sitting or standing. You use cables instead of dumbbells.
This exercise is a great way to challenge your pectoral muscles while putting less pressure on your joints.
Dumbbell chest fly
Flyes give the chest, shoulders, and triceps a good workout. They are unique in that they target your chest muscle group, by moving them toward your body centre. This movement is called abduction.
It’s similar to the incline fly but, you guessed it, isn’t performed at an incline. Dumbbell chest flyes have the additional benefit of working the three main areas of the triceps brachii throughout your arm’s range of motion.
Decline dumbbell chest fly
The decline dumbbell chest fly workout specifically targets the sternal and the middle part of your pecs. As compared to traditional flyes, that work the chest in general. The decline chest fly is performed at a decline instead of an incline.
Pec fly machine
A pec fly machine, or pec deck is designed to increase strength and the chest muscle mass. The American Council on Exercise believes it offers a great workout. So much so that they added it to their Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises list.
Bosu ball fly
The basu ball fly is a little more challenging. This exercise involves laying back on a Bosu ball while performing the fly.
It tests both your coordination and core strength. A great way to improve your balance and stability. But, be careful not to place stress on your neck.
Pay close attention to your joints when performing any variation of the dumbbell fly. Start light and increase progressively over time with either weight or reps. You choose which.
Are incline flyes better?
The question remains, why would the incline fly be more beneficial? It increases your upper body strength, which enhances your development and arm strength, and other muscle groups as mentioned before.
The workout benefits your posture too! The stretching of your upper chest can improve scapular contraction. This refers to any of the muscles that connect the ventral walls to the chest. As a result, this can lead to better pull ups and pull up alternatives too.
Upper body stability
Push-ups can be a daunting workout that feels like it can take forever to grasp. But, the incline dumbbell fly helps increase upper body stability, which has the indirect effect of making it easier to perform traditional, decline, and incline push-ups, and other chest exercises.
It especially helps people who sit at a desk for eight hours a day. We might think we are okay to handle what comes our way now, but we need to think of our physical health as an asset futuristically.
Your physical health benefits from weight training. The incline dumbbell workout strengthens muscles and improves:
- bone density
- metabolic function
- heart health
- weight loss
The incline dumbbell fly workout is beneficial for both women and men. For women, exercise, in general, can lead to less painful menstrual cycles. It can also help in chronic disease management, like back pain, obesity, and heart disease.
How do you perform incline flyes?
Let’s get into how to perform it. Here’s your step-by-step guide.
1) Pick up your dumbbells from the floor with an easy grip. Put the dumbbells in your hip crease and sit down on an incline bench.
2) As mentioned at the start, the incline bench needs to be at an angle of roughly 45 degrees.
3) Sit back on the bench, straddling it with your feet flat on the floor. Allow heavier weights to rest on your thighs, just above your knees. If you use lighter weights, center them on your chest.
4) Press the dumbbells to lockout at the top. Don’t forget to take deep breaths by inhaling and exhaling accordingly.
5) Slightly retract your shoulder blades, unlock your elbows, and lower the dumbbells laterally. Maintain your elbows’ positions while doing this.
6) When the dumbbells reach chest level, reverse the movement by squeezing your pecs together and bringing the dumbbells back to their starting position.
7) Don’t let the dumbbells touch.
8) You can then start the next repetition, and continue until your set is completed.
Incline dumbbell flye tips and tricks
Chest flyes require more mind/muscle activation. Be aware of the muscles you are activating, for example, it takes concentration to activate the pecs and contract them during the movement.
Make sure you bring the dumbbells lower, directly to each side of the body. You should always have control. Aim for a four-second descent, a little pause, contract, hold and repeat.
Maintain tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to arch excessively.
Avoid these common mistakes…
Don’t get distracted by conversation or other things during this exercise. Though the incline dumbbell feels like an easy workout, it requires concentration. You need to focus on the movement to engage the upper pectorals correctly.
The elbow technique is to keep them slightly bent and locked. Avoiding unnecessary stress on the shoulders.
Avoid using dumbbells that are above your lifting level. Overstretching the chest may cause injuries.
Start with manageable dumbbells. As you become more skilled at the movement, your muscle strength will increase. Then, you can start using heavier weights.
Final thoughts on the incline dumbbell fly
The incline dumbbell fly, and its cousin variations, are a great exercise to include in your workout regime.
With health benefits like more defined chest muscles, better posture, and improved power, this movement is a must for both beginners and advanced lifters.