Chest, Exercise Guide

How to Do Standing Dumbbell Fly Properly

The standing dumbbell fly, also known as the dumbbell chest fly, is a chest workout that offers you an opportunity to really focus on your pecs.

This exercise mimics the chest fly motion to isolate and train the pecs and kickstart muscle growth. Standing dumbbell fly is often viewed as an excellent bodybuilding workout since it isolates the chest for aesthetic reasons.

Using a dumbbell lets you work through a wide motion range but remember to perform each rep in a slow and controlled motion to minimize the risk of injury.

Check on your ego and remember to load weight that you can work with comfortably.

Also known as: Dumbbell Chest Fly

Targeted Muscles: Chest

Required Equipment: Dumbbell

Exercise Type: Hypertrophy

Exercise Mechanics: Isolation

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Force Type: Push


How To Do Standing Dumbbell Fly

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Grab a pair of dumbbells using a neutral underhand grip.
  • Hold the dumbbells at arm’s length on your sides. Ensure your palms are facing you. This is your starting position.
  • Keep your upper body in a stationary position to avoid any swinging movement. Lift the dumbbells towards your sides and keep a moderate elbow arch. Tilt your hands forward a little bit.
  • Exhale as you lift the dumbbells as high as you can go, such that your arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Take a slight pause at the top of the rep, then lower the dumbbells slowly to resume your starting position as you inhale.
  • Repeat until you attain the recommended sets of reps.


  • Avoid squeezing the dumbbell handles too tight since this can recruit the biceps and forearms and significantly reduce the activation of pecs.
  • Do not touch or bang the weight at the top of the reps to maintain constant tension in the targeted muscles.
  • Maintain a slight elbow bend and avoid lowering the weight to uncomfortable positions that may pressure the shoulder joints.
  • If you feel any pain in your front delts, check on your form and ensure you contract your shoulder blades a little. Keep your shoulder blades packed.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor and concentrate on keeping your elbows arched and bracing your core.
  • Keep the tension in your abdominals and avoid arching your lower back excessively.


Standing dumbbell fly recruits:


The pectoralis major is a double fan-shaped muscle found in the front part of the rib cage. The pectoralis major is the prime mover in this workout. They aid arm withdrawal from the abducted posture towards your midline.


The anterior deltoid heads help the pectorals to draw your arms across your body, specifically at an elevated angle.


The biceps contract isometrically as you perform a standing dumbbell fly, to help stabilize the forearm and shoulder joints as you lower the dumbbells.



The standing dumbbell fly is a hypertrophy workout that strengthens many upper body muscles that will help you build power to perform other fitness drills.

The added strength in your core muscles cab aid your daily activities. This exercise can be used as a warm-up drill before performing other challenging workouts.


Muscle tightness can result in poor posture, limiting your range of motion and affecting your mobility.

In time, you may have difficulty lengthening your spine and even maintaining a straight posture.

Incorporate gentle stretch workouts to help your overall posture and keep your muscles supple for better mobility.


Whether you are participating in sports, a regular weightlifter, or simply executing normal day-to-day activities, posture is a key factor in preventing injury.

Tight joints and muscles are injury-prone, more susceptible and take much time to recover. Correct posture helps alleviate pressure and minimize injury risks, whether working out or simply performing normal tasks.



The incline dumbbell chest fly is a perfect alternative to the standing dumbbell fly since it trains the same muscle groups, isolates the pecs and strengthens them.


  • Use an inclined bench that is set at a 45-degree angle.
  • Set the rack pins to an appropriate height so you can unrack the bar while seated.
  • Retract your shoulder blades and puff your chest up.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor and brace them to create leg tension.
  • Grip the bar a little wider than the shoulder width.
  • Stretch your arms and unrack the bar. Maintain the position of your scapular.
  • Move the bar down towards your chest in a slow and controlled motion. Stack your wrists and forearms as you do this.
  • Pause when the bar touches your chest to avoid bouncing the weight off the chest.
  • Push the bar up gently in the direction of the rack and resume the starting position.
  • Repeat until you attain the desired sets of reps.


Standing dumbbell fly can have a serious impact if performed with an incorrect technique and may leave room for many mistakes, including:


Executing this workout in a rush leads to injury and reduces its effectiveness. Standing dumbbell fly may seem too easy-but resist the urge to perform in a rush.

When you make short and weak contractions, you generate momentum, which is an enemy of all lifting exercises.

Rushing the motion can increase the risk of sustaining back injuries as well. Be sure to brace your core as you work out and focus on executing the exercise properly. Remember, your form is key, regardless.


Lifting too much weight creates massive shoulder and core stress. Any weight that prevents you from extending your arms behind your shoulders is inappropriate.

Do not lift more weight than you comfortably can to avoid injury risks and improve the effectiveness of this drill.


Ultimately, the standing dumbbell fly has many benefits if performed correctly and can guarantee you the best results.

If you have considered adding it to your regular workout routine, check on your form since the technique is essential for this exercise.

Performing the standing dumbbell fly is an excellent way to target frequently overlooked muscles and improve your shoulder joint’s motion range.

Work your body to its full potential and improve it to your best level. It will thank you for it. The only bad workout is no workout at all.

Perform the exercise slowly and with a lot of care, or don’t do it at all.

Sweat up a storm!



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