This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
The classic dumbbell fly works your chest and your inner chest muscles in particular. It's an essential part of any chest-building regimen.
Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor and dumbbells held in each hand above you, with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing inward with a firm, yes relaxed grip. Hold the dumbbells approximately shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders retracted and your chest high. Engage your abdominals to prevent your back from arching (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position with the dumbbells held up, open your chest and, keeping your arms held in the same position with elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbbells down into a fly. Do not arch your back. Make sure to keep your chest flexed and engaged all the way to the bottom of the movement. Go deep but not too deep-do not allow the dumbbells to go below the level of your back or you'll risk shoulder injury (see Photo 2).
- When you have reached the bottom of the fly motion, reverse and bring the dumbbells back up together to the starting position. Make your chest do the pushing; don't let your shoulders kick in. Your chest should stay flexed and engaged all the way to the top of the movement. Remember not to bring the dumbbells in more than shoulder-width apart (see Photo 3).
- After your have completed your reps, bend your elbows, bring the dumbbells to your chest, and then sit up and simultaneously drive the dumbbells down towards the tops of your thighs in one motion. This will help prevent you from twisting your back unnaturally as you set down the dumbbells.