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A strong chest enhances your physique, helps with daily activities and makes you more proficient in most sports. Dumbbell flyes are an important part of any workout designed to train the chest. Include them alongside other common chest exercises, such as presses and pushups, to obtain a balanced appearance and function.
A flat bench dumbbell fly works the fronts and tops of the shoulders as well as the large, fanlike pectoral muscle of your chest. These muscles allow you to move your arm across your chest, such as in a pressing or hugging motion. Dumbbell flyes also engage the rhomboids at the upper back and the biceps as stabilizing muscles. The move involves the rotator cuff and the back of the shoulders as well as the serratus anterior, a muscle along the ribs that helps keep your shoulders in proper alignment. Unlike most other chest exercises, the dumbbell fly does not use the triceps muscles, which are at the back of the upper arm.
You can also use dumbbell flyes to help you split up your training days. Leaving at least 48 hours between heavy strength-training sessions allows your muscles to repair, recover and grow. If you did a strong triceps workout on Monday but need to work the chest on Tuesday - you can target the chest with dumbbell fly variations while allowing your triceps the rest they need.
Functionality and Aesthetics
By developing the muscles of the chest and fronts of the shoulders, you improve your ability to do daily activities. The chest is involved in pushing movements - from mowing the lawn to rolling a baby carriage. Strengthening the chest also helps you excel at sports that involve throwing, shoulder movement and swinging, such as football, swimming and tennis. For bodybuilders, adding dumbbell flyes can help build greater definition in the chest area.
Traditional dumbbell flyes are performed on a flat bench and target the middle fibers of the pectoral muscles. For more emphasis of the upper fibers of the muscle and the fronts of your shoulders, perform the move on a bench set in an inclined position. You can also do dumbbell flyes while lying on a stability ball to make your abdominal muscles work harder.