Let’s take some time to go over the pec fly.  It is a good exercise stressing the chest, moving the shoulder joint through horizontal adduction.   This exercise can be performed a number of ways.  You can use the pec fly machine (which we have at Columbus), or you could use dumbbells while lying down on a bench.  Another variation is the dual pulley machine or cable pulley machine.  The purpose of this article is to the pros and cons of each variation.

The pec fly machine, like other exercise machines, forces you to actively engage the desired muscle.  It is a great way to make sure the pec is working on a full range of motion through horizontal adduction.  A common error is that people will place their hands on the handles, but keep the forearm and elbow off of the pad.  This will place too much stress on the wrist.  If you are on the machine, use the force of the pec through the arm for a more effective movement.

The dumbbell variation, shown here, is an improvement from the machine because there are more stability requirements.  This exercise is performed while lying down on a bench.  Keep your arms extended over your chest with a slight bend in the elbow.  As you bring your arms away from each other, the weight has increasing leverage.  This is both a good thing, in that you have to contract forcefully at the end of your range of motion, and a bad thing, for the weight places a lot of stress on the shoulder joint.  When done correctly, this lift will put you through a full range of motion with a proper amount of resistance.

The final variation we are going to discuss today is the dual-pulley pec fly.  This method of training requires more stability of not only the chest and the shoulders but also the trunk.  The cable fly allows you to adjust the tilt of your torso.  In an upright or slightly bent position, with a staggered stance, the cable fly will provide a great range of motion and a constant resistance.  If you stand up and hold the handles with an underhand grip, like this, the motion will not only activate the pec minor but also necessitate contraction from the anterior deltoid.

Take these tools and information regarding the pec fly to the gym.  Next time you want to work on this exercise, consider what is best for your routine.