Stop Doing Chest Flys - I'm Begging You!!

  • Published: 13 February 2019
  • There are 6 reasons why you should never do a dumbbell chest fly ever again, and I’m going to show them all to you in this video. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to leave you hanging but rather I’m going to show you a chest fly exercise alternative that you can do at home or at the gym that will give you better chest results without the risk of shoulder injury that comes with the traditional form of this chest exercise.

    To start, you want to look at the position of the shoulder and the risk to the joint when performing the dumbbell chest fly unsupported on a bench. With your arms held out to the sides, there is no protection against hyperextension of the shoulder with fatigue. Should you fail with the exercise, even if using lighter weights, you have nothing built in to the movement that will protect the anterior capsule of your shoulders.

    If you compare this to the floor fly variation where you have the floor to prevent this unwanted joint stress or even the standing variation shown at the end of this video, you will quickly see why this is something you simply don’t need to introduce to the movement since it isn’t going to get you a bigger chest by doing it.

    Next, I mention the fact that you can do a standing version of horizontal adduction of the arm. When possible, you should always try and choose exercise variations that allow you to train on your feet rather than lay on a bench. When you want to train like an athlete, training with ground based movements is going to be more beneficial since it incorporates more muscles, the core gets fired up more significantly and it translates better to function.

    Back on the bench however, in addition to the vulnerability of the shoulder in the unsupported position you also quickly realize that to accommodate the weakness in this position you need to lighten the weights significantly. This provides less of a mechanical overload to the muscle you are trying to work here (the pecs) which would make this an inferior choice when trying to grow muscle. In fact, you could only use enough weight that could be safely handled in the bottom position even though the chest reaches its point of most contraction at the top of the movement and is stronger there.

    In the standing crossover fly however you have the least amount of tension on the pecs when they are at their weakest and the most amount of tension on them when they are at their strongest. The position of peak contraction coincides with the most amount of tension being placed on the pec muscles. The cable can easily be substituted for a resistance band as well if you prefer to train in the home rather than a gym.

    Next, the stretch that people argue they feel more intensely with a dumbbell chest fly is not really something that exists. What you are feeling is not a stretch in the pecs but rather a more intense stretch in the coracobrachialis muscle. Both the pec major and coracobrachialis attach to the humerus but the latter attaches further down the arm. Only it is influenced by the dropping of the arm a bit more on the fly (albeit a little bit) while the pec major stays relatively unchanged in length. This is because of the more proximal attachment having less travel as the distal humerus drops.

    You should get the same amount of stretch on the pecs in the bottom portion of the bench press as you would in the bottom portion of the fly. What you are feeling however is a more intense stretch in the cartilage of the rib cage if you properly arch your chest as you perform the exercise.

    For all of these reasons, you can see that the dumbbell chest fly is not a superior option when training your chest. The cable standing version of this allows you to match the weight better to your strength curve and provide more of an overload while eliminating almost all of the risk to the shoulder that is common of the dumbbell variation plus it gets you on your feet, in a more athletic training position.

    If you are looking for a complete training program that chooses the exercises that we train with based on science rather than what we are told to do by gym bros, be sure to head to the link below and get the ATHLEAN-X Training Program. Train like an athlete and see the difference it makes in your training within even the first couple of weeks.

    For more videos on how to build a bigger chest and the best exercises other than chest flys to include in your chest workouts, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 4 935

    ATHLEAN-X™   10 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached!

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • Xavier Matera
      Xavier Matera  2 days back

      Would you be interested in adding Brazilian Portuguese subtitles to your videos?

    • Adam Bassal
      Adam Bassal  3 months back

      Mr Athlean-x can you talk about which specific exercise would be beneficial to boxers who basically do a similar motion to chest flys when throwing hooks? My left shoulder area hurts when i do the alternative as well with the cable fly. I exercise my exterior motion rotator cuffs all the time to counter it but i am really stuck now. My left shoulder hurts just enough for me not to want to throw left hooks. Thanks on behalf of all of the boxers/fighters

    • Freddie O'Hara
      Freddie O'Hara  7 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ The chest muscle fibers are in the direction in which you do the chest fly exercise so it makes perfect sense why do you beg to stop doing them?!?

  • LeBaron_AW
    LeBaron_AW  2 days back

    What if you only have dumbbells to work with?

    • JacobDawson
      JacobDawson  3 days back

      Try stop me

      • Vladimir
        Vladimir  3 days back

        May shoulder pain eent away as soon as i switched doing fly on the floor

        • Night Creeper
          Night Creeper  4 days back

          This dude has no pecs though so maybe he should give chest flys a try

          • Destroyer Agar
            Destroyer Agar  6 days back

            I just noticed that I pulled one of my left chest tendons. I was either doing flyes or standing cable flyes. Any help? How can I heal it?

          • Daniel Burke
            Daniel Burke  7 days back

            Arnies shoulders are also fubar

            • paul knight
              paul knight  1 weeks back

              Theres a lot who train at home who dont have cables..also what weight dumbells are best and safest to use..5kg,10kg?

              • Timothy Endsley
                Timothy Endsley  1 weeks back

                Don’t be a pussy

                • Roman X
                  Roman X  2 weeks back

                  Thanks man your videos are great! I'm new to training and I've really learned a lot from you.

                  • Re nato
                    Re nato  2 weeks back

                    You are right, and also not.
                    The flyes, on the floor, does have a function/use , the stretch is actually it's strength . But adds danger as well. Double edged sword so to speak.
                    Keep the weight moderate at best.
                    And also, I know of guys tearing their pecs when benching. Hips replaced due to heavy squats and deadlifts.
                    Flyes should be done relative light I think.
                    Then they are fine.
                    If not being able mentally to stick to lighter/moderate weights. Don't do it at all.

                    • Andy Thousand
                      Andy Thousand  2 weeks back

                      Jeff, you definitely know your stuff.

                      • Aidan Judd
                        Aidan Judd  2 weeks back

                        Brilliant, thanks for the breakdown 🙌

                        • Trist
                          Trist  3 weeks back

                          I completely fucked my shoulder doing this shitty exercise yesterday.

                          • DJ Zeadro
                            DJ Zeadro  3 weeks back

                            When I do my overhead movements & try to use my front delt or Tricep I get a pop in my tricep by my bicep on the front side (im guessing coracobrachiallis)

                            • STEPHON WILLIAMS
                              STEPHON WILLIAMS  3 weeks back

                              Glad I found this video cause the flys were hurting my shoulders the other day.

                              • Adam Johar
                                Adam Johar  3 weeks back

                                Its up to you if you want to dumbbell fly or not...who's gonna care about you

                                • Mangosrllysuck
                                  Mangosrllysuck  3 weeks back

                                  Damn, can someone make a consolidated list of all the athlean x approved/non approved exercises?!

                                • Subhadeep- An Artist
                                  Subhadeep- An Artist  3 weeks back

                                  How to cure the injury ?

                                  • Sohail Khan
                                    Sohail Khan  3 weeks back

                                    I do both but with lightweight at the very end, it feels good

                                    • Bro Ly
                                      Bro Ly  3 weeks back

                                      4:34 thats something indian moms are good at

                                      • AkPlayz
                                        AkPlayz  2 days back

                                        Bro Ly omg yes

                                    • TORRIC MYLES
                                      TORRIC MYLES  3 weeks back

                                      Only difference is there resistance thru the whole motion most people do dB flys wrong anyway or don’t have the shoulder to do them

                                      • pramod tp
                                        pramod tp  3 weeks back

                                        Thats a gamechanger....👍

                                        • pantherowow77
                                          pantherowow77  4 weeks back

                                          Arnold Schwarzenegger has bigger pecs than this guy...

                                          • Hello There
                                            Hello There  3 weeks back

                                            And he's healthier than arnold

                                        • IRINE7
                                          IRINE7  4 weeks back

                                          To sum up, do we need a bench and a set of dumbell to train or resistance bands and a mattress are the only necessary equipment?

                                          • AbdelRahman K
                                            AbdelRahman K  1 months back

                                            It works with some people bro

                                            • Clan Symbiont
                                              Clan Symbiont  1 months back

                                              Double your workout time with negligible impact on your pecs. Pass.

                                              • Jahidur Rashid
                                                Jahidur Rashid  1 months back

                                                I literally agree 100% with this video because yesterday I have been having pains EXACTLY where jeff mentioned in the front of the shoulder and I did flys two days ago

                                                • Ricky Rodriguez
                                                  Ricky Rodriguez  1 months back

                                                  So what?

                                                  • Tomáš Sedlačík
                                                    Tomáš Sedlačík  1 months back

                                                    Perfect. Thanks.

                                                    • Nikola Tesla
                                                      Nikola Tesla  1 months back

                                                      But Arnold said...

                                                      • Jonathan Rhodes
                                                        Jonathan Rhodes  1 months back

                                                        Wow. I was at the gym today doing flies and decided to check technique and found this post. I stopped immediately and buried the Dumbell flies 😊

                                                        • Benedict Concepcion
                                                          Benedict Concepcion  1 months back

                                                          My left shoulder is in pain now because I did dumbbell flyss regularly, like 50 pounds each hand..

                                                          After, I watch this video..
                                                          I'm surely gonna bury this set of bench flyss, instead I'll do it on cable..

                                                          Thanks for the help bro!

                                                          • Strelok 762
                                                            Strelok 762  1 months back

                                                            Thank you Jeff. I was doing chest flys for months until I watched this video,I since purchased a set of bands that anchor to the door and I can already tell these are going to work much better for building chest muscle than the dumbell fly and it feels a lot better as well,with the fly I only felt it in my inner shoulders

                                                            • Nikhil Sherlekar
                                                              Nikhil Sherlekar  2 months back

                                                              I visit this channel for videos like this. I never personally felt comfortable with flys and thought it’s just me but thanks for clearing and the alternative.

                                                              • exquisite89
                                                                exquisite89  2 months back

                                                                Been doing these with that machine and now i know what there called lol

                                                                • #STP Brawl stars
                                                                  #STP Brawl stars  2 months back

                                                                  Me: Arbold told that he got his big chest due to ' flys'

                                                                  Jeff : dont do flys I am begging of u


                                                                • Gizmoriderful Ye
                                                                  Gizmoriderful Ye  2 months back

                                                                  So better alternative to home move is go to the gym and use that machine...

                                                                  • Kaloian Marinov
                                                                    Kaloian Marinov  2 months back

                                                                    I would like to watch Jeff telling Arnold that he is an idiot and shouldn't have done flys :D

                                                                    • pimpekfun
                                                                      pimpekfun  2 months back

                                                                      So what's better the floor-supported DB chest-fly or the cable exercise he demonstrated at the end?

                                                                      • Re nato
                                                                        Re nato  2 months back

                                                                        I would say dumbbell flyes on the floor. By far.
                                                                        That one arm cable flye is more a core-oblique exercise.
                                                                        That will be the weak point anyway. Like when doing heavy triceps pushdowns.
                                                                        Dumbbell flyes are done for a good reason.
                                                                        They work the chest a little different from bench press.
                                                                        The fact that it is harder at the lowest point is actually the strength of the flye exercise.
                                                                        Just don't use weights that you can hardly control.
                                                                        Many bodybuilders had their chest muscles only growing when incorporating flyes, and not even heavy.
                                                                        The bench press didn't do enough for chest growth. And they went heavy on that.

                                                                    • SeZo Black
                                                                      SeZo Black  2 months back

                                                                      Stop bodybuilding lol

                                                                      • Re nato
                                                                        Re nato  1 months back

                                                                        Any heavy exercise can bring joint damage to the body.
                                                                        Bench press, squats, deadlifts.
                                                                        If done in moderation they are all fine.
                                                                        Many bodybuilders have worn out joints.
                                                                        Replaced hips , worn out shoulders etc.
                                                                        Don't overdo it, is the key.

                                                                    • Jeremy Eubanks
                                                                      Jeremy Eubanks  2 months back

                                                                      Man you full of shit

                                                                      • You F'coffee
                                                                        You F'coffee  2 months back

                                                                        Does this also apply to bent over cable flys?

                                                                        • Rickster Music
                                                                          Rickster Music  2 months back

                                                                          Great tip, but out of respect for the guys walking around the floor in my gym I’ll have to it on the bench.

                                                                          • Griffin Jones
                                                                            Griffin Jones  2 months back

                                                                            I’ll trust Arnold because big fuck this guy and Arnold has the best chest in history

                                                                            • rep toob
                                                                              rep toob  2 months back

                                                                              Only thing I'm not in full agreement with is going passed "mid line". In order to do that you have to pivot or roll your shoulder forward. If you never had a shoulder issue you won't notice but once you have, you learn to keep your shoulders locked which limits that type of range in movement.

                                                                              • Tim Lofton
                                                                                Tim Lofton  1 months back

                                                                                Yeah, good point. Shoulder range-of-motion can be highly individual. Just like throwing a baseball overhand, different people have slightly different arm slots that works for them (see MLB pitchers). I think there can be benefit to going past midline, but each person would have to determine if that motion is detrimental to their shoulder health and whether or not their anatomy will allow the movement.

                                                                            • ᚾᛟᚱᛊᛖ ᛗᚨᚾ ᛝᛁᚲᛁᚾᚷ

                                                                              Arnold says it’s the best chest exercise because of stretch

                                                                              • Marshall Islands G
                                                                                Marshall Islands G  2 months back

                                                                                But how to do you progress in cable? You can't go beyond a certain weight. Your body can't stabilize.

                                                                                • Gravity Denier
                                                                                  Gravity Denier  2 months back

                                                                                  That's a great question I hadn't thought of that