Bench Exercises: Incline Dumbbell Fly

The incline bench dumbbell fly is an exercise that you can do on a simple exercise bench with free weights. Variations of this exercise are also available with seated cable machines and other more fixed weight structures. Using free weights requires a little more care and attention to proper form, but with the right precautions, this exercise can be great for your upper body development.

Performing an Incline Bench Dumbbell Fly

In order to do the incline bench dumbbell fly, you’ll need an exercise bench that is positioned at an incline. A general 45 degree bench is fine.

  • Start by sitting on the incline bench, holding the two dumbbells close together above your chest with your arms somewhat extended. You won’t be doing this exercise with your arms locked, but rather, comfortably extended outward.
  • Slowly bring your arms apart and to the sides, and you will feel the weight load of the dumbbells working against your arms, shoulders and chest.
  • Reverse the motion when you have extended your arms significantly. Experts recommend not going past a general 90 degree angle, in other words, if your arms are “bent back,” you may have gone too far. You can usually feel when you reach your weight load balance limit, the last point at which you can still confidently handle the weight.
  • Return to the original starting position.

Avoiding Injury with the Incline Bench Dumbbell Fly

One of the easiest ways to avoid injuries while doing the incline bench dumbbell fly is to select weights that you are comfortable with. Lots of beginners choose excessively heavy dumbbells, end up struggling with high weight loads, and get hurt. Start with some light dumbbells and add weight gradually.

In addition, proper form is important with free weight exercises. As mentioned, you want to avoid over-stretching your arms. If you feel a sudden pain in your arm muscles, you may be over-extended. It’s fine to work through muscle soreness, but the incline bench dumbbell fly is one of those exercises where you have to take caution to prevent over-stretched arm muscles.

Alternatives to the Incline Bench Dumbbell Fly

With cable seated incline bench dumbbell fly, there’s a bit more guidance for the actual fly motion, and you do this activity seated straight up. There’s also another new activity called the stability fly dumbbell fly: this exercise is the other extreme, where the user has to maintain balance on a tricky surface while dealing with the dumbbell fly. The stability ball fly version adds more challenges, and it might be a good option if you are already experienced in the other forms of this activity.

With the right precautions, the incline bench dumbbell fly can be a great way to tone up your pectoral muscles and develop upper body strength. Talk to your trainer or doctor about whether this free weight activity is an optimal addition to your regular fitness routine.


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