Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Dumbbell Chest Flys

This week’s workout is Dumbbell Chest Flys. This popular isolation exercise strengthens your chest, arm, shoulder, and back muscle groups. This exercise requires the use of weights to be held in each hand. The model in this article is using dumbbells, but any heavy household object like a heavy book can substitute. This exercise can be done in a number of variations—on a flat surface or bench, on an incline bench, or even on a stability ball, which can help engage your core and balancing muscles. The important thing to remember while doing this exercise is form, and once you feel comfortable with your form, you can begin adding more weight.

Here’s how to do them:

  • Begin lying flat on your back, holding weights in each hand, away from your chest, palms facing towards each other—this will be your starting position.
  • Next, with a slight bend in your elbow to prevent stress on your biceps, slowly lower your arms out at both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch in your chest. Breathe in as you perform this motion.


  • Then, keeping the slight bend in your elbow, breathe out as you bring both weights back to the center of your chest. Hold this position for one to two seconds.
  • Congratulations, you just completed one Dumbbell Chest Fly! Continue steps 2 and 3 in a slow and controlled repetition.
  • Try doing 2-3 sets of about 10-12 Dumbbell Chest Flys. As you begin to build muscle in your chest and shoulders over time, try adding more weight.


  • To ensure correct posture and form, keep your eyes looking forward as you do your repetitions to prevent placing unnecessary strain on your neck.
  • Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms should remain stationary; the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
  • If you feel an abnormal amount of pressure in your shoulders, stop this exercise immediately and consult your doctor.

We hope you’ll try Dumbbell Chest Flys over the weekend and then build them into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week.

Want more fitness ideas? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.