The bench press. Anyone who has even used weights once in their life has done this exercise. It is one of the most basic of movements but is still one of the best and an infinite number of repetitions has been done on it by all of us gym rats. But after hammering out sets on the flat, incline and decline bench, you’re still missing the cherry on top of the iron sundae.
And that’s where dumbbell flyes come in.
After blasting your pecs with the different variations of presses, getting a deep stretch with a flye movement is the perfect finisher and will really get the blood rushing into the muscles. The most common way to do them is on a flat bench, but you can improvise a little and use an incline or a decline bench, too.
No matter which you prefer, the execution is basically the same. So here are five tips to take with you to the gym on Monday…you know, the day that everyone does chest!
1. HUG A TREE
The most common mistake made by people doing flyes is to not use a wide enough arc with their arms. If you picture hugging a tree, you’ll have your arms at a good width to not only get a good stretch, but also to make sure that the biceps aren’t being engaged to take the stress off your pectoral muscles.
2. SHOULDERS ONLY
When done correctly, your shoulder joint should be the only one being used. Once you get that slight bend in your elbows to do the rep, do not move them any more throughout the length of the entire set.
3. FLAT FEET
Don’t be concerned with propping your feet up on the bench or crossing them up in the air; just leave them planted firmly flat on the floor. When you get too fancy – and unnecessarily so – with that, it will actually work against you and effect your balance.
4. DON’T TOUCH
At the top of every rep, try to keep the dumbbells from touching each other and do your best to hold them approximately one inch away from contact. That will keep the time under tension in the middle of your chest muscles
5. NO ARCHING
When you’re at the bottom of the rep, don’t arch your back at all and keep it flat on the bench. Arching it even slightly decreases the range of motion and lessens the tension on the chest.