Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly: How To Do, Muscle Worked & Form

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.

In this beginner guide, we will explore the following:

What is Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

The Incline dumbbell chest fly is a strength training exercise in which the hand and arm move through an arc while the elbow is kept at a constant angle.

The Incline DB chest fly, a bodybuilding favourite, is an isolation exercise and is usually performed after big compound lifts, like the bench and incline press.

It is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after many pressing exercises.

There are different ways to do an incline dumbbell fly extension to build a bigger and stronger chest.

  • Dumbbell One Arm Incline Fly
  • Incline DB Twist fly
  • Dumbbell Incline Chest fly On Stability Ball
Know Your Calorie Requirement To Build Muscle Mass

Incline Dumbbell Fly Muscles Worked

The incline dumbbell flys primarily muscle worked the upper chest.

The incline DB fly has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, during Incline Db fly, include your

Incline Dumbbell Fly Muscles Worked

How To Do Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

The incline dumbbell chest fly is a variation of the dumbbell fly. This is an isolated strength exercise that targets the upper chest muscle.

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.

Proper Form & Technique For Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly

To maximize the effectiveness of the incline dumbbell fly and minimize the risk of injury, it’s crucial to maintain proper form and technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform the exercise correctly.

1. Setup

Set the bench at about 30-45 degrees inclined, don’t go beyond that, as the stress shifts more to the shoulders.

2. Start Light

If you are a beginner, start with a light set of weights and gradually increase the amount of weight each week as you build strength.

Pick a weight that you can control, that’s not too light or too heavy — find what’s right for you.

3. Controlled Descent

Maintain control, with a 4-second descent, slight pause and contract with a reverse motion, hold and repeat.

Keep control of the movement and focus on working your chest muscles. Avoid any swinging or jerking motions.

4. Stretch and Squeeze

At the bottom of the movement, pause for a moment and feel the stretch in your chest muscles. When you are lifting the dumbbells back to the initial position, squeeze your chest muscles.

Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.

5. Maintain Proper Alignment

Keep your shoulders back and down, chest lifted, and core engaged. Avoid arching your back or shrugging your shoulders.

Maintain proper alignment ensures that the tension is on your chest muscles and not on other muscles or joints.

Maintain tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessively arch.

6. Keep Elbow Slight Bent

Make sure you keep your elbows bent. You should never fully straighten your arms, or lock them out, as this forces the weight you’re lifting onto the elbows and shoulder joints, which increases your chance of injury.

7. Progressive Overload

It is recommended to incorporate progressive overload into your training regimen by gradually increasing the weight, repetitions, or sets. This gradual progression helps prevent plateaus and stimulates muscle growth.

8. Rest and Recovery

Allow your muscles adequate time to recover between workouts. Aim for at least 48 hours of rest before targeting your chest muscles again.

Sets And Reps For Incline Dumbbell Fly

Here are some general guidelines for the Incline dumbbell fly exercise, including sets, reps, and frequency, in order to enhance muscle mass.

Beginner2-38-121-2 times per week
Intermediate3-48-122-3 times per week
Advanced4-58-152-3 times per week

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective.

Benefits of Dumbbell Incline Fly

There are numerous advantages to incorporating incline dumbbell fly into your chest workout regimen.

1. Increases chest muscle size and strength

A study published in the journal JSCR found that incline dumbbell flyes were effective in increasing chest muscle size and strength.

2. Improves upper body posture

The incline dumbbell fly can help to improve upper body posture by strengthening the muscles in the chest and shoulders. When these muscles are strong, they help to pull the shoulders back and down, which helps to improve posture.

3. Reduces the Stress on Joint

The chest fly changes the angle of the movement enough to limit the potential stress on the joints.

Furthermore, it helps to reduce the risk of shoulder injuries by strengthening the muscles in the rotator cuff. When these muscles are strong, they can help keep the shoulder joint safe.

4. Chest Opener

The chest fly can help open up your chest muscles. Chest openers may help reduce upper back pain, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness in the upper body.

5. Improves Range of Motion Of shoulders

The incline dumbbell fly can help to improve range of motion. When chest and shoulder muscles are stretched, they help to increase the range of motion in the shoulders

Incline DB chest flys are a great alternative, for people who experience discomfort in their joints during the bench press.

Best Incline Dumbbell Fly Variations

The incline dumbbell fly can be done in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to performing incline dumbbell flies, you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier.

  • One way to counter this problem is to adjust the incline of the bench so that it is completely flat.
  • Another is to use a lighter weight.

If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the chest, then try

  • Dumbbell One Arm Incline fly,
  • Incline DB twist fly
  • Dumbbell Incline chest fly on a stability ball.

You can make it more difficult by increasing the bench inclination and using heavier weight. But focus on form while doing the same.

1. Dumbbell One Arm Incline Fly

The Incline dumbbell one arm chest fly is a unilateral variation of the incline DB fly. This variation can help to improve muscle balance and isolation, as well as target the upper chest muscles more effectively.

There are a lot of good reasons to do incline fly with one arm.

  • Balance strength between left and right sides for an even chest.
  • Enhance core stability, like a bonus workout for our tummy muscles.
  • Greater hand movement helps to stretch and grow chest muscles.
  • Improve mind-muscle connection for better exercise results.
Dumbbell Incline One Arm Fly

How To Do Dumbbell One Arm Incline Fly

  1. Lie on an incline bench (30-45 degree inclined).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.
  3. Raise one arm up to the ceiling, keeping your elbow slightly bent.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell down to the side of your chest, keep your elbow in line with your shoulder.
  5. Pause, then slowly raise the dumbbell back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  7. Then repeat on the other side.

2. Incline Dumbbell Twist fly

The Incline dumbbell twist fly helps you better isolate the muscles of the upper chest. The contraction induced by twisting the weight is significantly greater than that typically experienced from the conventional incline dumbbell fly.

 Additionally, it helps to improve the range of motion of the shoulders by stretching the muscles in the chest and shoulders.

Incline Dumbbell Twist Fly

How To Do Incline DB Twist fly

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand in each hand with a neutral grip and lie on an incline bench.
  2. Hold the weights above you at shoulder height.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells laterally while maintaining the angle at your elbow.
  4. Once the dumbbells reach chest level, reverse the movement by squeezing your pecs together.
  5. As the dumbbells are returning to the starting position, twist the handles so that the bottom of the dumbbells almost touch.
  6. Start the next repetition by untwisting the handles back to a neutral position, and continue until the set is completed.

3. Dumbbell Incline Chest fly On Stability Ball

This study found that when doing dumbbell flyes on unstable surfaces, the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and serratus anterior muscles worked more than when doing them on stable surfaces.

It also helps you to improve your core stability and balance by making you balance on the ball while you do the exercise.

Incline Dumbbell Chest fly On Stability Ball

How To Do Dumbbell Incline Chest fly On Stability Ball

  1. Start off by sitting on an exercise ball, gripping dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Slowly roll down on the exercise ball and make sure that your head and neck are on the ball with your feet planted on the floor ahead of you.
  3. Lift with the dumbbells and bring them straight up above your chest, squeezing throughout the entire motion.
  4. Hold on to this position for a few seconds, then return down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

How To Add Incline Dumbbell 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

Cable Rows48-10
Dumbbell Bench Press38-10
Seated Cable Rows312-15
Incline Dumbbell Fly310-12
Dumbbell Tricep Extension310-12

Alternate of Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

Before we deep dive into the best Incline dumbbell Chest Fly alternatives. We must remember, a good dumbbell Incline Chest Fly alternative will be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Activate the chest muscle groups, which are trained in the Incline dumbbell Chest Fly.
  • Isolate the muscle groups during execution.
  • Train the chest muscle through a longer range of motion

Incline Dumbbell Press Exercise

The Incline dumbbell press is the best alternative to the incline fly for building the middle and upper pectoral muscles.

Just like the Incline Bench Press, the Incline dumbbell press works mostly on the upper pecs, but dumbbells allow full range of motion, and therefore in some ways better than the bench press.

Incline Dumbbell Press

2. Incline Cable Chest Fly

Incline Cable Chest fly is one of the most suitable exercises for isolating the upper chest muscles.

Furthermore, performing this exercise with cables instead of dumbbells allows for constant tension, which helps build Upper Chest fibers. If a cable setup is available, you should try it as an alternative to incline dumbbell chest fly.

Incline Cable Fly

3. Standing Dumbbell Fly

The standing dumbbell fly is a variation of the traditional dumbbell chest fly exercise that targets the chest and shoulder muscles in a unique way.

Standing dumbbell chest fly is a good exercise to target your upper chest. With only a pair of dumbbells, you can make your chest area broader and more developed.

If you are searching for an alternative to incline dumbbell fly that you can easily do at home, then it is the best option for you.

Standing Upward Chest Fly


Are incline dumbell flys good?

Yes, incline dumbbell flyes are a good exercise to build a bigger chest. Incline dumbbell fly targets the upper chest muscles and helps to isolate them and work them through a full range of motion.

What muscles does incline dumbbell fly work?

The incline dumbbell fly primarily works the upper chest muscles (pectoralis major), as well as the front shoulders (anterior deltoids) and the triceps.

What is the best angle for incline dumbbell Flyes?

The best angle for incline dumbbell flyes is typically between 30-45 degrees. This angle allows you to effective target of the upper chest muscles and also helps to reduce stress on the shoulder joints. If you are new to incline dumbbell flyes, it is a good idea to start with a lower angle, such as 15 degrees.

Is the incline better than regular chest fly?

Both incline and regular chest fly exercises have their unique benefits, and the choice between them depends on your fitness goals and preferences.

Incline dumbbell flyes target the upper chest muscles, while regular dumbbell flyes target the entire chest. This means that incline dumbbell flyes are a good choice if you want to build the upper chest, while regular dumbbell flyes are a good choice if you want to build the entire chest.

Incline dumbbell flyes can also be helpful for people who are prone to shoulder injuries, as the incline position of the bench helps to reduce the stress on the shoulders. However, regular dumbbell flyes can also be done safely, as long as you use proper form.

What is a good weight for an incline chest fly

A good starting point is to use a weight that allows you to complete 8-12 repetitions with good form. If you can complete more than 12 reps, the weight is light. If you can’t do more than 6 repetitions, the weight is heavy.


The incline dumbbell fly is a great chest exercise which targets the pectoralis major and minor, which puts great emphasis on the upper chest.

It’s a popular variation of the chest fly and really stretches the chest muscles while allowing for a full range of motion through the movement.

Those looking for a little more challenge can also try out some new twists on the chest workout, like the one-arm incline fly or doing the exercise on a stability ball.

Thanks for reading.

Stay Fit, Live a Happy and Healthy Life


  • 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
  • Behm DG, Leonard, AM, Young WB, Bonsey, WAC, MacKinnon SN. Trunk muscle electromyographic activity with unstable and unilateral exercises. J Strength Cond. Res. 2005, 19, 193–201.

10 Best Upper Chest Exercises for Mass and Strength

Leave a Comment