Dumbbell Incline Flys (Complete How To Guide)


How To Do Dumbbell Incline Flys

Dumbbell Incline Flys are a great upper-body strength exercise to target the chest.

In this guide, I will be going over how to do Dumbbell Incline Flys, coaching points, common mistakes, and alternatives if you happen to need them.


How To Do Dumbbell Incline Flys


Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells
  • Adjustable Bench (Capable of changing angles)

Muscles Worked

  • Chest (Pectoralis Major)

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Determine the angle for your incline bench. Most programs would refer to a 45-degree angle as ideal for it provides the best chest and shoulder engagement.
  • Grab your dumbbells, sit on the edge of the bench, and sit the dumbbells on your thighs vertically.
  • Take a deep breath, lie flat on your back on the bench, and get your dumbbells in position ready to press.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and your butt on the bench.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together and keep the back of your head on the bench. You will slightly arch your back. Keep your core tight and keep the shoulder blades pulled back tight.
  • Press the dumbbells up.
  • Now, keep a slight bend in the elbow and lower the dumbbells down until they’re at shoulder height.
  • Finally, flex the chest and pull the dumbbells together, back to arm’s length over the chest.
  • When your set is done, do not freely drop the dumbbells without checking your surroundings. You could drop the dumbbell and it might hit a person nearby. Or your could drop your dumbbell and crush your fingers on a dumbbell that was left next to your bench.

Coaching Points

Remember as you move your bench up, the more you are engaging the shoulders and less chest. Be sure your angle matches the goals you’ve set for pressing.

Flys should not be done with heavy weights. Stay relatively light, keep the movement very controlled and focus on the stretch.

Remember to finish your sets with awareness so that you and your training partner/fellow gym members stay safe and injury-free. The best way to finish a set is to bring the dumbbells back to your thighs and stand up with them. Or have a lifting partner take them from you.

How Many Reps?

Dumbbell Incline Fly is a supplemental upper body exercise. Rep ranges are typically 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps each.


Dumbbell Incline Fly Alternatives


Don’t have dumbbells? Want to add some variety to your workout? Whatever the reason, if you need an alternative for Incline Flys, here are a few exercises you may be able to try out.

Want even more options? Here are 9 of my favorite Dumbbell Incline Fly alternatives.

Feet Elevated Push Ups

Feet Elevated Pushups

Place your feet up on a bench or a box and do Feet Elevated Push Ups. By elevating the feet, you’re simulating an incline on the bench to target the upper chest and shoulders.

Of course, if you don’t have a bench, old-school push-ups are also still a great alternative for any chest exercise.

Landmine Single Arm Press

Set up a landmine attachment (here is how to make your own with a tennis ball) and add weight to the open end of the barbell.

Standing in an athletic position, perform Single-Arm Landmine Presses with the bar. Can also be done kneeling to modify the press into more of a shoulder movement.

Med Ball Chest Pass

Stand in an athletic position with a lighter medicine ball (for most, 10-15 pounds will work well here). Extend the hips and aggressively chest pass the ball into the wall or to a partner. This should be fast and explosive.

Medicine Ball Chest Passes are also a great warm-up exercise for athletes getting ready for a bench day.


More Info and Links


Looking for some more great supplemental work for your bench day? Head over to our exercise library to find step-by-step exercises to help you reach your athletic potential.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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