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How to do Machine Chest Fly, Variations and Proper Techniques

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Did you know that the chest muscles, scientifically known as the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, are among the largest muscle groups in the upper body? These muscular powerhouses take centre stage in a range of upper chest movements, including essential actions like pushing, pulling, and lifting – movements integral to the machine fly workout. 

This specific exercise precisely targets these chest muscles, offering a strategic approach to not only enhance strength but also amplify muscle size and elevate the overall aesthetic appeal of the upper torso. Prepare to delve into the realm of machine chest fly variations and proper techniques, charting a course towards achieving a sculpted and formidable chest.

Understanding the Machine Chest Fly Exercise

The Basics

The Machine Chest Fly, also known as the Pec Deck, stands as a fundamental component in any well-rounded chest workout routine. Its primary emphasis is on targeting and enhancing the pectoral muscles, fostering both chest definition and strength. In contrast to free weights, using the chest fly machine introduces a controlled range of motion, effectively minimising the risk of injuries while maximising muscle engagement.

This machine provides a stable and controlled movement environment, which not only reduces the likelihood of injury but also allows individuals to concentrate on maintaining proper form. By isolating the chest muscles, the exercise ensures that they bear the main workload, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those who appreciate the additional support and control afforded by a machine.

Proper Setup

  1. Adjust the Seat: Begin by setting the machine’s seat to align with your chest’s height. This ensures that the motion is both comfortable and effective.
  2. Select Appropriate Weight: Choose a weight that challenges your muscles without compromising your form. Gradually increase the resistance as your strength improves.

Proper Technique:

  • Make sure your body fits properly in the machine by modifying the grip and bench to your comfort.
  • Place your back against the seat and place your palms down on the handles.
  • With your feet flat on the floor, make a 90-degree angle with your arms by placing your elbow slightly below shoulder level.
  • Pull the handles together in front of you and exhale the breath.
  • Avoid locking your elbows, but maintain a small bend in your arms.
  • Focus on contracting your chest muscles throughout the activity.
  • At the peak, squeeze your chest muscles for a count of one to enhance the contraction.
  • Maintain control to prevent any jerky activity that could strain your muscles.
  • Inhale as you gradually open your biceps, returning to the starting position.
  • Ensure a slow and controlled descent, resisting the pull of the loads.

Variations to Spice Up Your Routine

Incline Machine Chest Fly

Incline Machine Chest Fly

The incline machine chest fly exercise is performed on an inclined bench using a machine. This workout primarily targets the pectoralis major (upper chest muscles) and the anterior deltoids (front shoulder muscles). By performing the chest fly on an incline, you can achieve a greater range of motion compared to flat bench chest training. The enhanced range of motion helps to effectively stretch and activate the pecs. Additionally, the incline position shifts the focus and stimulation to the upper chest muscles, helping to create a more balanced and well-developed chest appearance.

Reverse Grip Machine Chest Fly

Reverse Grip Machine Chest Fly

In the reverse grip machine fly, you employ a machine and perform the workout with a reverse (supinated) grip. This exertion primarily targets the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoids, with a greater emphasis on the inner and lower portions of the pectoral muscles. The reverse grip position allows for greater activation of the inner chest muscles, contributing to a well-rounded and defined chest appearance. Moreover, this training can potentially put less stress on the shoulder joints compared to other alternatives of the chest fly, making it suitable for individuals with shoulder issues or those looking to minimise shoulder strain.

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Single-Arm Machine Chest Fly

Single-Arm Machine Chest Fly

The single-arm machine fly workout is performed employing equipment with one arm at a time. This fitness activity isolates and targets each side of the chest individually, helping to address any muscular imbalances between the left and right sides of the chest. By concentrating on one biceps at a time, you can improve the mind-muscle connection, allowing for better concentration on the contraction and motion of the pectoral muscles. This can lead to more effective muscle recruitment and development. Additionally, performing this requires stability and balance to maintain proper form and control, engaging the core muscles and contributing to overall stability and balance during other physical activities.


How many sets of machine fly should I do?

The number of sets for machine fly exertion can vary depending on your fitness goals, training program, and individual preferences. As a general guideline, it is recommended to perform 3-4 sets of machine fly exertion. However, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust the volume and intensity based on your fitness level and recovery ability. If you’re a beginner, starting with 2-3 sets and gradually increasing the number of sets as you progress can be a good approach. Remember to focus on quality repetitions, maintaining proper form, and challenging yourself within your capabilities.

Do you push or pull the fly machine?

The machine fly is a pushing exercise. When executing the pec fly machine, you typically push the handles collectively in front of your chest. This movement engages the chest muscles as you bring your upper limb inward against resistance. By pushing the lever collectively, you activate the pectoralis major and minor muscles, along with the anterior deltoids. It’s important to maintain control throughout the training, refrain from any jerking or momentum, fully engage the target muscles and maximise the benefits of the training.

Is machine fly chest exercise good for beginners?

Yes, the machine fly chest can be a suitable option for beginners. It provides a guided and controlled movement pattern, which can help beginners learn proper form. However, it’s important for beginners to start with lighter loads and focus on mastering the flow before progressing to heavier loads. Building a foundation of strength and stability is crucial, so beginners should prioritise proper form, mind-muscle connection, and controlled repetitions. It is advisable to seek advice from a fitness expert or trainer for personalised guidance and tips and to guarantee the safe and effective execution of training.

What are the common mistakes of machine chest fly workouts?

Common flaws in machine chest fly workouts include applying excessive weight, flaring elbows, relying on momentum, neglecting mind-muscle connection, and overarching the back. Heavy loads can compromise form and increase injury risk, so choose a load that allows proper control. Avoid flaring arm crook to engage chest muscles effectively. Focus on controlled motion instead of swinging or applying momentum. Establish a strong mind-muscle connection to maximise results. Maintain proper posture, preventing excessive back arching, to prevent strain and ensure stability during the training.

Is a machine fly better than a dumbbell fly?

The choice between a machine fly and a dumbbell fly depends on personal preference and individual goals. The equipment applied for the chest fly provides a guided and controlled movement, making it adequate for beginners and those seeking stability during the exertion. It can offer a wider range of motion and help maintain proper form. On the other hand, the dumbbell fly requires more stabilisation and engages secondary muscles, promoting overall strength and stability. Dumbbells allow for a greater freedom of movement and versatility. 

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