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  1. #1
    Banned IDrinkBloodLOL's Avatar
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    DB fly vs. bench press

    Following my most recent workout, I'm starting to believe that for building chest strength, the dumbbell fly is much better than the bench press.

    It kinda makes sense. The function of the pectoralis major is to "flex, adduct and rotate the arm medially." The bench press accomplishes this, but it also utilizes a tricep extension in the process.

    I propose that by taking the triceps out of the equation entirely and just doing a heavy dumbbell fly for your main chest workout, you can work the chest much harder. The triceps can be worked separately anyway if you're trying to be a bodybuilder, and are often worked in other pressing exercises by default.

    Yesterday I did 3 sets of 10 flat bench dumbbell fly, 50, 60 and 70 pounds respectively, and today my chest feels more sore than it did after years of heavy bench pressing and dipping and so forth. I can't even compare it really, the feeling is worlds apart. I can tell this will really blow up my chest.

    Everyone here wants big chesticles too, what are your thoughts on the issue? Assuming an otherwise well rounded program, is there any reason a person shouldn't use the dumbbell fly as the basis for their chest work rather than the bench press?
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  3. #3
    No Pain No Gain GymMeathead's Avatar
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    ^^^^I'm sure Arnold did his flys AFTER his presses.

    Do both, you can't compare the 2. You have to press too, you can't just leave it out. Most of your chest strength is from pressing, but flys are great to shape and really kill your chest at the end.
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  4. #4
    Registered User HvyWeightAddict's Avatar
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    My opinon to your question is No. You want to build mass to your chest you need the BB. When i do basic mass building for my chest, it's 100% BB movements, Finish your chest workout with your flys, i belive that is the best.
    Bench - 355lbs for 10 reps

    Front Squat - 315lbs for 8 reps

    Deadlift - 405lbs for 10 reps
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    Always focus on compound movements first before going into isolation movements.
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    Following my most recent workout, I'm starting to believe that for building chest strength, the dumbbell fly is much better than the bench press.

    It kinda makes sense. The function of the pectoralis major is to "flex, adduct and rotate the arm medially." The bench press accomplishes this, but it also utilizes a tricep extension in the process.

    I propose that by taking the triceps out of the equation entirely and just doing a heavy dumbbell fly for your main chest workout, you can work the chest much harder. The triceps can be worked separately anyway if you're trying to be a bodybuilder, and are often worked in other pressing exercises by default.

    Yesterday I did 3 sets of 10 flat bench dumbbell fly, 50, 60 and 70 pounds respectively, and today my chest feels more sore than it did after years of heavy bench pressing and dipping and so forth. I can't even compare it really, the feeling is worlds apart. I can tell this will really blow up my chest.

    Everyone here wants big chesticles too, what are your thoughts on the issue? Assuming an otherwise well rounded program, is there any reason a person shouldn't use the dumbbell fly as the basis for their chest work rather than the bench press?

    I know what you mean. The best chest workouts ive had were the ones where i did heavy flyes first, and bench press second or third. It allowed me to focuse on isolating the chest with the flyes while also pre-exhausting it for the presses to follow which made my chest fatigue before my tri's on the presses. Super sore the next day all the time.
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  7. #7
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    I always feel more burn when I do press then flys then pushups.
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    Flys can't really compare to press for building mass. Compounds are always better.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    The bench press accomplishes this, but it also utilizes a tricep extension in the process. I propose that by taking the triceps out of the equation entirely and just doing a heavy dumbbell fly for your main chest workout, you can work the chest much harder.
    Even with the closest grip bench press that recruits the triceps as much as possible, the chest will still be working, so I don't understand this objection to presses.

    The problem I see with flies: while you no longer have tension on the triceps, you do have tension on other areas which now have to stabilize the elbow joint. That means the elbow flexors with most variations, or if you're pointing the elbows down, the medial elbow ligaments will have to do it.

    Maybe it'd be ideal to do all 3 kinds to get as much volume for the chest without being limited by the 3 elbow factors? Same approach could be taken with back.

    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    The triceps can be worked separately anyway if you're trying to be a bodybuilder, and are often worked in other pressing exercises by default.
    What other pressing exercises, overhead press? Most pressing movements don't get anywhere near as heavy. I'm not against adding triceps isos because for many they seem to need more work (I always wish mine were bigger and would take over in presses) but out of the presses it's hard to think of any (cept maybe dips) which could be loaded heavy enough to make them grow.

    If people are overhead pressing heavy enough weights to make their triceps grow, they either have small triceps or really swole shoulders.


    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    ^^^^I'm sure Arnold did his flys AFTER his presses.
    Probably.
    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    Do both, you can't compare the 2.
    Doing both is ideal but please everyone kill the phrase 'you can't compare' because we can compare f'in everything.
    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    You have to press too, you can't just leave it out.
    Wrong, the chest can grow without pressing. Someone could leave out pressing movements and build a huge chest solely from flies. There's no reason to think this is impossible. It's probably just a lot harder because of missing out on all the advantages compound movements offer, especially for weak beginners.
    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    Most of your chest strength is from pressing, but flys are great to shape and really kill your chest at the end.
    Ugh, 'shape', really? Flying is chest strength too, just with lighter weights due to the longer lever. Both movements build strength and size.

    Originally Posted by HvyWeightAddict View Post
    My opinon to your question is No. You want to build mass to your chest you need the BB. When i do basic mass building for my chest, it's 100% BB movements, Finish your chest workout with your flys, i belive that is the best.
    It's the best way to train but you don't 'need' to train that way, you just 'should'. Someone with a triceps injury for example could avoid doing presses and train chest with flying movements.

    Originally Posted by Marcusgs View Post
    Flys can't really compare to press for building mass. Compounds are always better.
    "better" is a comparison, so you CAN 'really' compare them. It's just when the comparison is done, one ends up on top.

    BRB can't compare Anderson Silva to Chuck Liddell.

    I rage when I hear stuff like can't compare knee extension machine to squats. Yes, you can. 1 is an open-chain machine isolation movement that works the quads, 2 is a closed-chain compound movement that also works glutes/back/calves/etc, burns more calories, develops balance, etc. There: a comparison.
    Last edited by Tyciol; 02-18-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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  10. #10
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    Tyciol: your recent posting activity on this forum suggests that you just did a couple of 5 hour energies and chased it with Red Bull....

    you are on a caffeine high, and unfortunately, it is affecting your mind as well as your voluminous verbosity...
    Lift as MUCH as you can, for as MANY reps as you can,
    while in complete control of the exercise.
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  11. #11
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    Actually I slept in this Sat and only had 1 coffee instead of my normal 3 =/ What do you mean' as well as', isn't verbosity part of the mind? Feel free to elucidate on illogicalities.
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    Tyciol: your recent posting activity on this forum suggests that you just did a couple of 5 hour energies and chased it with Red Bull....

    you are on a caffeine high, and unfortunately, it is affecting your mind as well as your voluminous verbosity...
    ^^^^hahahaha I agree.

    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Doing both is ideal but please everyone kill the phrase 'you can't compare' because we can compare f'in everything.
    There are certain things you can't compare IMO. You can believe what you want.

    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Wrong, the chest can grow without pressing. Someone could leave out pressing movements and build a huge chest solely from flies. There's no reason to think this is impossible. It's probably just a lot harder because of missing out on all the advantages compound movements offer, especially for weak beginners
    I would like to see someone with a big chest that ONLY DOES flys. Pressing is the mass builder for chest.

    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Ugh, 'shape', really?
    Yes, 'shape', really.
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    Tyciol: your recent posting activity on this forum suggests that you just did a couple of 5 hour energies and chased it with Red Bull....

    you are on a caffeine high, and unfortunately, it is affecting your mind as well as your voluminous verbosity...
    this ^^
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    I would like to see someone with a big chest that ONLY DOES flys.
    I actually like the bench press, I originally intended for this thread to be more academic/analytical than camp vs. camp.

    Still, just for the sake of curiosity, I will take you up on that. I currently have no way to do a barbell bench press, as my equipment consists of an olympic barbell, a 70 pound kettlebell, a single adjustable dumbbell that takes olympic weights, and a bunch of paver stones stacked into a crude bench with a bath mat on top to make it comfortable to lay on.

    The only way I know of to develop my chest using weights with my setup is either to do one handed dumbbell bench presses or a one handed dumbbell fly. Due to the unusual nature of a one arm dumbbell bench press, I felt it in my triceps, then core, and finally chest, regardless of whether I did them with a tucked or flared elbow. Since they feel really awkward anyway I would be glad to ditch them for a one arm dumbbell fly for a while as an experiment.

    I'm not committed to one side or the other of this issue, but since it appears I've created a monster by starting this thread, I say we should find out by experimentation and I'll volunteer to be the guinea pig. If my chest suddenly starts looking insane, I slaughter pro-bench dogma and crucify its corpse for all to see. If I fail, the worst that could happen is that I could still have a mediocre chest.

    Let's give it a month or two and see. If anything crazy starts happening I'll post pictures.
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol
    Feel free to elucidate on illogicalities.
    more like redundancy....your name was showing on 12 consecutive threads, and everyone is like this one where you just blather on and on with psuedo-scientific balderdash of which one couldn't possible decipher whether it means something or not...

    no need to take this any further on here, as we are derailing his thread....
    Lift as MUCH as you can, for as MANY reps as you can,
    while in complete control of the exercise.
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    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    There are certain things you can't compare IMO. You can believe what you want.
    Wrong, everything in reality can be compared. The most different just have the least in common. Not a synonym for 'equate'.

    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    I would like to see someone with a big chest that ONLY DOES flys.
    You probably won't because most people also want big triceps, want to put up big numbers, and understand the superiority of training with compound movements.

    It's like the knee extension: you can get big quads just doing that if you work up to the insane whole-stack lifting that some of the pros do, but the biggest guys understand the benefits of compound leg movements and are more able to go all-out on them because our brain is more geared to generate power that way.

    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    Pressing is the mass builder for chest.
    The best but not the only.

    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    Yes, 'shape', really.
    Cool, please start a thread explaining how flies shape the chest and benches add mass.
    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    you just blather on and on with psuedo-scientific balderdash
    It's fine if you think this, please confront anything you label as pseudo-science on a case-by-case basis. What in this thread is not science? I want to be a scientist so peer review is important.
    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    one couldn't possible decipher whether it means something or not...
    I'm sure some people can.
    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    no need to take this any further on here, as we are derailing his thread....
    I agree, that's why I'd rather you only reply to whatever part of my post (related to this thread) you didn't like, as opposed to talking about ALL my posts. That can be done via PM.

    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    Still, just for the sake of curiosity, I will take you up on that. I currently have no way to do a barbell bench press, as my equipment consists of an olympic barbell, a 70 pound kettlebell, a single adjustable dumbbell that takes olympic weights, and a bunch of paver stones stacked into a crude bench with a bath mat on top to make it comfortable to lay on.

    The only way I know of to develop my chest using weights with my setup is either to do one handed dumbbell bench presses or a one handed dumbbell fly. Due to the unusual nature of a one arm dumbbell bench press, I felt it in my triceps, then core, and finally chest, regardless of whether I did them with a tucked or flared elbow. Since they feel really awkward anyway I would be glad to ditch them for a one arm dumbbell fly for a while as an experiment.

    I'm not committed to one side or the other of this issue, but since it appears I've created a monster by starting this thread, I say we should find out by experimentation and I'll volunteer to be the guinea pig. If my chest suddenly starts looking insane, I slaughter pro-bench dogma and crucify its corpse for all to see. If I fail, the worst that could happen is that I could still have a mediocre chest.

    Let's give it a month or two and see. If anything crazy starts happening I'll post pictures.
    That sounds pretty interesting. Maybe I should try that with my dumbbells.

    That said, if we fail to build swole chests, it wouldn't disprove the possibility of building a large chest with dumbbells, because I already think it's harder to do that due to the difficulty in microloading low-weight iso moves.
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    hijack alert^^^^
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    Tom has apparently missed how I concluded the post by replying to the OP.
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    not really,just read all the garbage before it.
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    Pressing, push ups and bar-dips are the mass builders. If you want to get big and bulky, you'll stick to doing BB and DB flat, incline and decline presses. If you're happy with the amount of muscle you've got, go for flyes. Flyes will rip, cut and define your pre-developed pectoral muscles.
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    bench press all the way because u can overload the muscle more than u can with flies
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    Originally Posted by tomsfish View Post
    not really,just read all the garbage before it.
    Why the hate? Tyciol is hilarious. I literally laugh every time I see him post. lol

    Also why are we comparing an isolation exercise to a compound exercise? Doesn't seem like a valid comparison.
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    Originally Posted by TheTraceur View Post
    If you want to get big and bulky, you'll stick to doing BB and DB flat, incline and decline presses. If you're happy with the amount of muscle you've got, go for flyes. Flyes will rip, cut and define your pre-developed pectoral muscles.
    You forgot 'tone'
    Originally Posted by UltimateAeroSSC View Post
    why are we comparing an isolation exercise to a compound exercise? Doesn't seem like a valid comparison.
    All comparisons are valid. Assuming the shoulders are in the same rotation and the upper arm is moving through the same path, the only difference should be the length of the lever. No idea what else would different except some paltry stuff like how much the biceps contribute to shoulder flexion.

    It's hard to compare anything without knowing what kind of benching's being talked about too. Is this powerlifter flexion-benching (elbows-in), elbows-out transverse-flexion benching, or ~45 halfway in between guy?
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    That sounds pretty interesting. Maybe I should try that with my dumbbells.

    That said, if we fail to build swole chests, it wouldn't disprove the possibility of building a large chest with dumbbells, because I already think it's harder to do that due to the difficulty in microloading low-weight iso moves.
    Tyciol's posts are not derailing or hijacking this thread. As the original poster, his part of this conversation is exactly on point with what I wanted to discuss here.

    I think it's a myth that you can only load up small weight on isolation moves. Like I said, I already do this move one handed with a 70 pound dumbbell for ten reps. I'm hoping to increase that figure quite a bit as I continue to rely on it for my chest development. I am of the impression that you can load isolations with as much weight as you please so long as you increase the weight gradually and allow yourself plenty of time for your body to adapt to the weight, so I intend to push this as far as I can.
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    You forgot 'tone'
    All comparisons are valid. Assuming the shoulders are in the same rotation and the upper arm is moving through the same path, the only difference should be the length of the lever. No idea what else would different except some paltry stuff like how much the biceps contribute to shoulder flexion.

    It's hard to compare anything without knowing what kind of benching's being talked about too. Is this powerlifter flexion-benching (elbows-in), elbows-out transverse-flexion benching, or ~45 halfway in between guy?
    Actually looking back I didn't realize he was talking strictly from a chest-building point of view so my bad. I was looking at it from overall strength/hypertrophy efficiency and not just the chest.

    Also: To those who cry about Tyciol, cry moar. Seriously, it's an online forum. Ignore or deal with it.
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  26. #26
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    I think it's a myth that you can only load up small weight on isolation moves.
    Best luck with your injury rehabilitation goals in 2012. I hope none of it requires surgery.
    So you're saying you *want* it? Or you *wish* for it?
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    Just for discussion's sake, I wonder if it might not be more useful for strength too in some applications. The reason I say that is because I have a hobby of lifting stones as a strength test. Part of the reason I thought of this topic is because the first time I tried to lift a pretty big stone (somewhere between 2-2.5' diameter, granite), my chest was sore for many days. The feeling was like I had to squeeze the stone with my chest as though I was doing the last part of a chest fly.

    Is it really true that benching is necessary for strength overall, or is benching just necessary for strength in the bench press?
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    Just for discussion's sake, I wonder if it might not be more useful for strength too in some applications. The reason I say that is because I have a hobby of lifting stones as a strength test. Part of the reason I thought of this topic is because the first time I tried to lift a pretty big stone (somewhere between 2-2.5' diameter, granite), my chest was sore for many days. The feeling was like I had to squeeze the stone with my chest as though I was doing the last part of a chest fly.

    Is it really true that benching is necessary for strength overall, or is benching just necessary for strength in the bench press?
    scooby agrees with you
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    Originally Posted by JourneymanDave View Post
    Best luck with your injury rehabilitation goals in 2012. I hope none of it requires surgery.
    I've been lifting a good few years. I figure if I was going to bust anything doing heavy isolations I'd probably have done it already.

    Edit: And scooby's chest is friggin' huge!
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    scooby is a beast
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