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Chest Workout - Dumbbell Fly

Ask the Expert – Andre Noel Potvin

The Dumbbell fly is one of the basic exercises that everyone should know how to do with precision. It works primarily the pectoralis major and anterior deltoid. When starting as a beginner ensure you begin by laying supine (face up) on the floor not on a bench. Most personal training clients (new to exercise) have no reference point as to where they are in time and space. When the person wants to do the exercise on their own, the floor will give them a reference point thus decreasing the risk of injury.

Dumbbell Fly – Beginner Modification

How to …

1.) Lay face up on the floor with your knees bent and lower back in contact with the floor.

2.) Grip the dumbbells (roll back with them tight against your chest) . Punch the hands up so that the palms are facing each other , the wrists are straight and the elbows are slightly bent.

3.) Keeping the elbows bent slowly start to lower the arms towards the floor for a full 2 count. Inhale as your arms are descending.

4.) When your elbows touch the ground the back of the hands should still be about 8 inches off the ground. The humerus should be parallel to the ground. Pause for 1-2 seconds in this position.

5.) Begin to exhale as you raise the dumbbells back to the starting position for a full 2 second count. Again ensure the elbows stay slightly bent and the wrists are straight. Stop when the dumbbells are about 8 inches apart (this will keep the chest muscles engaged).

6.) Begin the repetition again with the same directions as above. Beginners should start with 5 – 8 reps then wait and see the next day how much muscle soreness they experience. You should always be able to move around through daily movement the day after a workout.(2-3 on a scale of 10 for soreness)

Watch the video as Andre explain the appropriate range of motion. He talks about preventing injury by keeping the elbow from dropping below the shoulder.

Dumbbell Fly – Intermediate Modification 

How to ..

1.) Set the bench up so that it is at a 30 – 45% angle. Lay face up on the bench with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and lower back in contact with the bench.

2.) Grip the dumbbells (roll back with them tight against your chest) . Punch the hands up so that the palms are facing each other , the wrists are straight and the elbows are slightly bent.

3.) Keeping the elbows bent slowly start to lower the arms towards the floor for a full 2 count. Inhale as your arms are descending.

4.) Stop when your humerus is parallel to the ground. In this position your shoulder should be in line with your elbow. Pause for 1-2 seconds in this position.

5.) Inhale deeply and start to bring the arms back up for a full 2 count. Again ensure the elbows stay bent and the wrists are straight.

6.) Stop when the arms have gone up 4 -6 inches. You do not want to take your arms all the way up to the starting position as we do not want to give the muscle a chance to rest. In accordance to the time under tension rule, the longer the muscle stays under tension, the great the gains.

7.) Begin the repetition again with the same directions as above. Your repetitions and sets would depend on where you are in your periodization cycle. Discuss time under tension with your trainer before attempting to over load the joint with a weight that may not work for this style of training.

8.) Soreness with this training at a more advanced level will be more than the beginner level however you should still be able to perform daily movement. (3-5 on a scale of 10 for soreness)

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Hiring a certified Personal Trainer through Infofit is one of the best investments you can make with regard to your overall health and fitness.

André Noël Potvin, MSc, CES, CSCS, TFL, a Clinical Exercise Specialist and President of Infofit, North America’s Premier School for Fitness Professionals.

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