Try the Incline Dumbbell Fly for
Tighter Chest Muscles

Traditional chest exercises like the bench press are performed using a flat weight bench with the main focus being the middle of the chest. 

By changing the angle of the bench for the incline dumbbell fly, you will increase the work load on the smaller and harder to reach upper chest muscles. This will help you add strength and noticeable definition to the top of your chest. 

Incline Dumbbell Fly

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by sitting upright on the incline bench with the dumbbells resting on your thighs and the incline of the bench set at a 30-45 degree angle. Push the weights up to your shoulders as you are leaning back on the bench and position them to the sides of your chest.

  • With your elbows out at your sides, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing forward and the dumbbells are at shoulder width and chest level. This will be your starting point.

  • Press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling until your arms are almost fully extended and the dumbbells are close to touching each other at the top. Bring the weights back down to your starting position and actually lightly touch your pectoral chest muscles with them so that you complete a full range of motion with every rep.

incline dumbbell fly routine


  • When performing the incline dumbbell fly and other chest exercises it is best to start with fairly light weights and increase them as you get stronger. You also don't want to lock your elbows when you're arms are fully extended. This will protect your elbow joint.

  • Keep the dumbbells close together at the top of each rep. If you have them too far apart at the top you could bring them down out at your sides which could strain your chest muscles.
  • To truly work the pectoral muscles, when you bring the dumbbells back down to your starting position it should be slower than the speed you used to raise them. Make sure to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Dumbbell Chest Press

When the bench is set at an angle for the incline dumbbell fly, you activate your shoulders more. The standard dumbbell chest press as seen below targets the lower chest muscles more. 

Exercise Instructions:

  • Lie on your back on a workout bench holding the dumbbells at your sides at chest level with your palms facing in and your elbows tucked in. This will be your starting point.

  • Press the dumbbells straight up toward the ceiling until your arms are almost fully extended. Make sure that the dumbbells almost touch each other at the top.

  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to your starting position and continue your reps.

dumbbell chest press position #2
dumbbell chest press position #2Kim Demonstrating the Dumbbell Chest Press

Incline Dumbbell Fly and Chest Press Benefits

  • Muscle Balance - By using dumbbells, each arm or leg has to work on its own. When you work with a barbell, the stronger arm or leg can compensate for the weaker one by taking more of the workload which creates a muscle imbalance that affect things like your balance, flexibility, and stability. Dumbbells are much better improving muscle balance.

  • Range of Motion - Not to keep picking on the barbells, the incline dumbbell press will allow your muscles work in a wider range and is not as restrictive and channeled as the barbell exercises with their limited range.

  • Shoulder Strength - The angle of the incline bench will let you work more of your shoulder muscles as well as your chest. This will create extra strength in your upper body that will help you with other strength training exercises, and reduce your chance of injury.

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