How to Do Dumbbell Chest Fly: Muscles Worked & Proper Form

Dumbbell Chest Fly exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Dumbbell Chest Flyes

Muscles worked in dumbbell chest flyes

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Do Dumbbell Chest Flyes

  1. Lie on a bench, and lift a pair of dumbbells up to the starting position.
  2. With almost completely straight arms, lower the dumbbells out to your sides.
  3. When you’ve lowered the dumbbells as deep as possible, reverse the motion and return the dumbbells to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.


The dumbbell chest fly is an isolation exercise for your chest muscles and front deltoids. Because the moment arm of the resistance is long when you are in the heaviest portion of the lift, it is easy to accidentally choose too heavy weights for this exercise, with sacrifices in technique as a consequence.

The resistance curve is quite uneven in chest flyes, as the working muscles are almost completely unloaded in the top position. An alternative execution of the exercise could be to avoid the top portion of the movement, and instead reverse the motion just before you reach it, to keep tension in the working muscles. An alternative exercise to avoid this issue would be cable chest flyes or machine chest flyes, where the resistance curve is more even.

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Text and graphics from the StrengthLog app.