How To Do The Dumbbell Butterfly Properly

One of the hacks that you can employ to get a bigger chest is the dumbbell butterfly better known as the dumbbell flyes.

The only reason why most people take forever to gain chest muscle is that they stick to one routine workout. Mostly it is the bench press.

The bench press is also very effective. However, if you do it alongside other exercises like dumbbell butterfly, your chest muscles will  comply. Here are the proper steps to follow in doing dumbbell butterfly.

  • Lie flat on a bench and have your feet planted on the floor.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells in a way that your palms face inwards.
  • With bent elbows and straight wrists, pull the dumbbells up over your chest.
  • Inhale as you return them back not to the floor, but at a height parallel to the bench. Try as much as possible to engage your chest muscles as you swing your arms up and down. That’s a rep. A rep should be done in a slow controlled motion for you to target the right muscles and also to avoid uncalled for injuries.


  • Dumbbell fly works the pectoralis muscles which constitutes a huge chunk of the chest muscles. Stronger pec muscles help in gaining the power to undertake multiple workouts.
  • When the pecs are well developed, you will have a well-defined chest and it will also give it a rounded tone.
  • Since this exercise requires a lot of stability and balance, it will help improve your general core stability and strength.
  • Dumbbell butterfly helps to improve shoulder strength because the shoulder is involved in pulling the weight up and down.



The motion involved in raising and lowering your arms as well as resisting the gravitational pull of the dumbbells will make your chest muscles grow. It will also give them the right shape.


When you lift your arms up and down, the only moving joint will be at the shoulders. This means that there are muscles in the shoulders including the deltoid muscles and the rotator cuffs which will help in supporting your arms.  So that you can control the motion of your arms and help in balancing them during the movement.


Although you should not focus on working your upper arms but they have to be called to action to give the arms a little support as you lower and lift the weight.

The biceps and triceps help to maintain the arm in steady position.


Your wrist flexors are the closest arm muscles to the weights if you’re using dumbbells. These muscles contract and keep the weight steady as you move your arms in the flying motion.


The abdominal muscles will be engaged to give support to the core when doing the dumbbell butterfly.

Your abs will keep you balanced on the bench so that you don’t trip over at the weight of the dumbbell.

However, if you want to work your abs better you may want to replace the bench with a stability ball when doing the dumbbell butterfly.

When you use the stability ball, have your upper back resting on the ball. Your lower back will be suspended but your feet is firmly planted on the ground.

Since your lower back has no support, your abs will be forced to give the much-needed support between your lower body. Your upper body to keep the back straight.



This is a variation whereby you use a bench that is reclinable.. You incline it to an angle of around 40 degrees.

This inclined angle will increase the stress that is exerted on your upper chest compared to when you do it on a flat bench.

Since your body will not be very stable in that inclined position, see that you only get enough support from your feet.  But not to the point of cheating.


The stability ball takes the game a notch higher because it is more unstable than the inclined bench. Thus, it forces you to engage muscles all around for you to be in the required position of doing the dumbbell butterfly.

Here you rest your upper back and your shoulders on the ball but the rest of your body is supported by your legs.

Apart from your chest muscles, the rest of your body muscles including your abs, your core, and your calves will be working hard to keep your body balanced. Therefore, they will be strengthened in the process.

This variation requires that you use a lighter weight than you are used to.



You should not straighten your arms while swinging the weight but rather keep them slightly bent.

This will make it easier for you to swing the weight. It will also prevent the likelihood of an injury at your elbow joint.

Another important reason why you should keep your elbows bent is that you will be using most of your chest muscles to pull the weight. As opposed to when you keep your hands straight, you will be getting much support from your shoulder muscles.


You must have seen those pro weight lifters making an arch at their back when pushing heavy weights on the bench press. Do not dare make that arch on your back when doing dumbbell butterfly.

If you make that arch here you may end up with an injury. Furthermore, it requires a stable disposition which is not the case with the dumbbell butterfly.


Be careful not to let your elbows drop too far in the start position. They should remain in line with your torso on the bench.

Overstretching during this part of the movement could injure your shoulders and reduces the amount of work the pec muscles do.


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