The best part of the Dumbbell Flye is the STRETCH….honestly, the only reason to the flye exercise is to get that big stretch at the bottom.
Because even though the flye is an isolation exercise, targeting that stretch position with resistance is actually CRITICAL for optimal muscle growth.
This version of the flye is done using a pair of barbell plates. You will need plates that have “handles” built into them for this work. It won’t be doable with normal plates that just have the raised rims…your hands just aren’t built to grip that surface in that position.
If you DO have plates like that, you’re in for a treat because using these plates for flyes will intensify the stretch on the pecs at the bottom AND allow you to maintain tension on the pecs at the top.
Start by getting a pair of plates into position on your thighs, holding them with an underhand/curl grip.
Now swing the plates around so they’re resting on your forearms, similar to a kettlebell “racking” position.
Lie back onto the bench, pressing the plates to the top position.
Now lower them slowly out wide to the sides.
As you’ll see in the picture, the majority of the plate is hanging down below the level of my hands. I find this distribution of weight puts a bit more stretch on the pecs at the bottom.
Then, as you come up, the plates rest on the forms, maintaining tension in the pecs as you come to the top due to the leverage of the weight on the forearms.
So not only do you get increased stretch at the bottom, you also get increased CONTRACTION at the top.
The only major downside of this exercise is the availability of equipment. You have to have plates with handles, first of all…and then you’re also limited by the actual WEIGHT of those plates (e.g. 10, 25, 35, 45). It’ll be what you’ve got to work with and that’s it.
That being said, if you DO have plates with handles like this, definitely give this exercise a try. It’s extremely effective for putting massive stretch on the pecs and challenging them in a way they’ve likely never been challenged before.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.