Flat Chest Fly Vs Incline Fly Vs Decline Fly: Which One Is Best

Are you looking to build a bigger, stronger chest? If so, chest flyes are a great exercise to add to your workout routine. But with so many different variations of chest flyes, which one is right for you?

In this blog post, we’ll compare flat chest flyes, incline chest flyes, and decline chest flyes to help you decide which one is the best fit for your goals.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the following:

  • What is Chest Fly
  • Benefits of each exercise
  • How to do them correctly
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • How to incorporate chest flyes into your workout routine
  • FAQs

Understand More About Chest Fly Exercises

Before we delve into the specifics of each chest fly variation, it’s essential to understand the mechanics behind these exercises. Chest fly exercises mainly target the chest muscles, which are responsible for movements such as pushing, hugging, and crossing our arms.

The chest fly exercise is considered one of the most effective chest exercises that enhance chest strength, size, and definition.

A chest fly exercise mimics the movement of a bird spreading its wings by moving the arms in an arc motion. This motion allows for a greater range of motion compared to traditional pressing exercises, such as bench press.

At the bottom of the movement, the chest muscles are stretched out fully, which leads to a bigger contraction and more muscle growth.

The chest fly exercises can be performed using dumbbells, cables, or machines.

  • Dumbbell Fly provide a greater range of motion and require more stabilization. They are an excellent choice for building functional strength.
  • Cables and machines chest fly provide constant tension throughout the exercise. They also allow for a more controlled and isolated contraction of the chest muscles.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the mechanics behind chest fly exercises, let’s explore the specific variations: the flat chest fly, incline fly, and decline fly.

Which One Is Best: Flat Chest Fly or Incline Fly or Decline Fly

So which type of chest fly is right for you? It depends on your goals and preferences. Each variation targets different areas of the chest and offers unique benefits.

Let’s look at the key aspects of each exercise to help you make an informed decision.

Flat Chest Fly

Incline Chest Fly

Decline Chest Fly

Flat Chest Fly Vs Incline Fly Vs Decline Fly

1. Flat Chest Fly

Flat Bench dumbbell chest flyes are an isolation exercise and are usually performed after compound exercises, such as the decline bench press and barbell press. The dumbbell fly is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after a lot of pressing exercises.

The dumbbell fly utilizes a chest fly movement pattern to isolate the muscles of the chest, helping the muscles to grow better and become stronger.

How To Do Flat Dumbbell Fly

It is a great exercise for targeting and strengthening your chest muscles. To ensure you perform it correctly and reap the maximum benefits, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Lie flat on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
  • Hold your arms straight up in front of you, keeping your elbows bent slightly.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells out to the sides in a wide arc.
  • Keep lowering the dumbbells until your arms are parallel to the ground or slightly below the ground, and you feel a stretch in your chest muscles.
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom of the movement, focusing on the contraction in your chest.
  • Use your chest muscles to lift the dumbbells back up to where you started.
  • Repeat For the desired number of reps.


  • Start with a light set of dumbbells.
  • Don’t let your elbows drop too far when you’re in the start position.
  • Avoid using momentum or swinging your arms when lifting the dumbbells.
  • Maintain control, with a 4-second descent, slight pause and contract with a reverse motion, hold and repeat.
  • Pick a weight that you can control, that’s not too light or too heavy — find what’s right for you.

2. Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly

If you want to build more thickness, muscle, and strength in your upper chest you need to add this incline dumbbell chest fly exercise to your chest workout.

Why are incline dumbbell flys so vital? They are the best exercise that can help to train the chest at various angles and strengthen the upper chest and shoulders.

Having a well-developed upper chest contributes to the fullness of the upper body and has functional benefits.

Incline chest fly can be done with dumbbells, cables, or machines. But Incline decline fly exercise is popular among weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts.

How To Do Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

incline dumbbell fly
  1. Set an incline bench at a 30-to 45-degree angle.
  2. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  4. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above
  5. Pause at the bottom of the movement.
  6. Then slowly bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position
  7. Repeat the desired number of reps.


  • Set the bench at about 30-45 degrees inclined, don’t go beyond that, as the stress shifts more to the shoulders.
  • Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.

3. Decline Dumbbell Fly

Do you want to take your chest workout to the next level? Look no further than the decline dumbbell fly. This exercise targets the lower chest muscles, and gives you a chiselled and defined look.

The lower chest is one of the harder areas to train because of the lack of variations available and the limited range of motion. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate these best dumbbell decline fly exercises into your chest workout routine.

It is performed on a decline bench, which is set at a downward slope of around 30 to 45 degrees.

It involves lying on a decline bench with your head lower than your feet and holding a dumbbell in each hand.

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Fly

  • Set a decline bench at a 15-30 degree angle.
  • Lie on the bench with your head at the lower end and your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back on a decline bench. Hook your feet into the footpad or roller.
  • Extend the dumbbells above your chest. Turn the palms to face each other and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells down in a wide arc until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for a second and then bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled.
  • Use a slight decline, such as 30 degrees. Extremes are never the best option.
  • Remember to keep your core engaged and your back pressed firmly into the bench.
  • Exhale as you lower the dumbbells, and inhale as you bring them back up.
  • Use different variations of the Decline dumbbell fly to add variety to your workout routine.

How To Add Chest Fly In Your Workout Routine

They can be incorporated into your workout routine in a variety of ways. Here are some options:

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do on 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. As part of a chest workout: Do them along with other chest exercises.
  3. As part of a full-body workout: Do them with other compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

1. Chest Focused Workout Routine

Push Ups48-10
Barbell Bench Press46-8
Decline Bench Press410-12
Incline Dumbbell Fly38-10

2. Upper Body Workout Routine

Dumbbell Row38-10
Dumbbell Bench Press38-10
Seated Cable Rows312-15
Cable Fly310-12
Dumbbell Tricep Extension310-12


Is incline chest harder than flat?

Yes, incline chest fly exercises are harder than flat chest fly exercises.

Which chest fly is best for the lower chest?

Decline chest fly is best for targeting the lower chest. This exercise is done on a decline bench, which puts the chest muscles at a greater angle of contraction. This makes it easier to isolate the lower chest muscles.

Are incline flys better than normal flys?

No, incline flys are not better than normal flys.
They are simply different exercises that target different parts of the chest.

Is decline fly harder than incline fly?

Yes, decline chest fly is typically harder than incline chest fly. This is because the decline bench puts more emphasis on the lower chest, which is a smaller and weaker muscle group than the upper chest. As a result, it takes more effort to lift the weight during a decline chest fly.


The flat chest fly, incline chest fly, and decline chest fly are three variations of chest fly exercises that target different areas of the chest, helping you achieve a well-rounded chest.

The flat chest fly targets the middle and lower portions of the chest, the incline chest fly targets the upper portion of the chest, and the decline chest fly targets the lower portion.

Including all three variations of fly in your workout routine will ensure that you’re hitting all the right spots on your chest.

Each chest fly exercise has its own advantages and can be done with dumbbells, cables, or machines.


  • Tom Erik Solstad, Vidar Andersen, Matthew Shaw, Erlend Mogstad Hoel, Andreas Vonheim and Atle Hole Saeterbakken: A Comparison of Muscle Activation between Barbell Bench Press and Dumbbell Flyes in Resistance-Trained Males.
  • Reiser FC, Lira JLO, Bonfim BMA, Santos Filho SJA, Durante BG, Cardoso JMD, Miotto H, Soares MAA, Bonuzzi GMG, Tavares LD. Electromyography of Dumbbell Fly Exercise Using Different Planes and Labile Surfaces. JEPonline 2017;20(6):31-40

Best Chest Exercises To Build Mass and Strength

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