We know that both Bench Press and Dumbbell Fly work the chest muscles, but is one exercise better than the other?
Lets first take a look at each exercise and then we can compare them head to head.
Dumbbell fly’s are an Upper body exercise that can build strength, size and flexibility. They are often over looked for the more popular bench press exercise.
What Muscles Do Dumbbell Fly’s Work?
Dumbbell Fly’s work the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor (The Main Chest Muscles). There are some secondary muscles used while performing chest fly’s too, these muscles are the Anterior Deltoid (Front Shoulder) and the Triceps Brachii
How To Perform Dumbbell Fly’s
- Lay flat on a bench with the dumbbells in your hands. Ensure that your neck is in a neutral position with your back. Your back should be flat against the bench and your feet should be planted into the floor. This will help prevent injury and assist in maximizing your push exercise.
- Raise the dumbbells up over the chest with your arms extended to the ceiling with a soft bend in the elbows and with your palms facing each other. This is your starting and finishing position.
- Keeping a soft elbow slowly lower your arms out to your sides into a wide arch until your feel your chest stretch, then forcefully push the dumbbells back to the starting position. Be sure to keep your arms stationary throughout the whole move, the movement comes from the shoulder not the elbows. Inhale on your downwards motion (Eccentric phase) and exhale on your upwards motion (Concentric phase) squeezing your chest as you raise the dumbbells.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Bench Presses are an upper body exercise that build strength and muscle mass.
What Muscles Do Bench Presses Work?
Bench Presses primarily work the Pectorais Muscles (Chest) but also work many secondary muscles too like the Anterior Deltoids (Front Shoulders) and the Triceps Brachii.
How To Perform A Bench Press
To perform a Bench Press, you will need a bench and a barbell or a bar rack.
- Lay flat on a bench with your neck neutral to your back. Your back should be flat to the bench and your feet planted into the floor. This positioning will prevent injury and maximize the weight that you will be able to push.
- The barbell should be positioned over your chest area.
- Grip the barbell tightly in a neutral grip with your hands just wider then shoulder width apart making sure that your writs stay straight throughout the whole move. This is your starting and finishing position.
- If using a bar rack un-rack the barbell. Slowly lower the barbell over the chest, inhaling in this Eccentric downwards movement. Bend your elbows in a 45-degree angle to utilize the chest muscle and to prevent pressure and injury from your shoulders. Bring the barbell down just before it touches the chest. In this movement be sure to retract your shoulder blades.
- Exhale in this concentric upwards phase as you forcefully drive and push the barbell back to the starting position. As you push flatten your back into the bench and drive through your feet to maximize your push.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Is One Chest Exercise Better Then The Other?
Both the Dumbbell Chest Fly’s and Bench press are beneficial for working the Pectoralis Muscle and the secondary muscles too, although they both serve a different purpose.
The bench press is used to lift heavier weights therefore, can be used to build strength and muscle mass.
The dumbbell chest fly should not be performed with heavy weights, lighter weights should be used. The benefit is to stretch the chest to expand the width size of the chest cavity.
In conclusion, depending on your specific fitness goals, Chest fly’s and bench presses should be performed in conjunction with each other to assist you in reaching your goals of developing a stronger, leaner or bigger flexible chest while developing your secondary muscles too.
Hi I’m James and I’m a self confessed fitness fanatic. When I’m not personal training I enjoy multi discipline endurance events, mma and hitting the gym. I also love to write about my passion and I’m a firm believer in healthy body healthy mind.