Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly: Muscle Worked, Form & Alternate

To build more thickness, muscle, and strength in your upper pecs, you need to add this incline dumbbell chest fly exercise in your chest workout.

The Incline dumbbell fly exercises are the best upper chest exercise that can help to train the chest at various angles and strengthen the upper chest and shoulders.

Having a well-developed upper chest contributes to the fullness of the upper body and has functional benefits.

In this article, we will discuss the muscle worked during incline dumbbell fly exercises, how to do them, the best variations and alternates of Incline dumbbell chest fly exercises.

What is Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

The Incline dumbbell chest fly is a strength training exercise in which the hand and arm move through an arc while the elbow is kept at a constant angle.

The Incline DB chest fly, a bodybuilding favorite, is an isolation exercise and are usually performed after big compound lifts, like the bench and incline press.

It is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after many pressing exercises.

Benefits of Dumbbell Incline Fly

  • Incline Dumbbell Chest flys are a great alternative, for people who experience discomfort in their joints during the bench press.
  • The chest fly changes the angle of the movement enough to limit the potential stress on the joints.
  • The chest fly can help open up your chest muscles. Chest openers may help reduce upper back pain, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness in the upper body.
  • Having a stronger chest will not only enhance your physique, but will also help you out with daily activities and improve your sporting performance.
  • While the main focus of an incline DB fly is on your chest, it will also target muscles in your shoulders, back, and arms which are used to help stabilize the weight during the exercise.

Muscle Worked During Incline DB Fly

The incline dumbbell flys primarily muscle worked are upper pectoralis major muscles, In addition to its target the main pec muscle.

The incline DB fly has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, during Incline Db fly, include your

Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly Form

  • Start with a light set of weights if you’re a beginner, and slowly increase the amount of weight each week as you build strength.
  • Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.
  • Set the bench at about 30-45 degrees inclined, don’t go beyond that, as the stress shifts more to shoulders.
  • Make sure you keep your elbows bent. You should never fully straighten your arms, or lock them out, as this forces the weight you’re lifting onto the elbows and shoulder joints, which increases your chance of injury.
  • Maintain control, with a 4-second descent, slight pause and contract with a reverse motion, hold and repeat.
  • Pick a weight that you can control, that’s not too light or too heavy — find what’s right for you.
  • Maintain tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessively arch.

Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly Guide

The incline dumbbell chest fly is a variation of the dumbbell fly. This is an isolated strength exercise that targets the upper chest muscle.

However, do not only perform a basic flat bench fly because the incline bench position allows for the isolation of the harder-to-develop upper pectorals.

incline dumbbell fly
Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly

How To Do Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

  1. Set an incline bench at a 30-to 45-degree angle. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Then, slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.

Training Volume (Sets And Reps) For Incline DB Fly

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

  • 3-4 Sets
  • 8-12 Reps

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective.

Best Incline Dumbbell Fly Variations

The incline dumbbell fly can be done in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to performing incline dumbbell flies, you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier. One way to counter this problem is to adjust the incline of the bench so that it is completely flat. Another is to use a lighter weight.

If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the chest, then try Dumbbell One Arm Incline fly, Incline DB twist fly and Dumbbell Incline chest fly on stability ball. You can make it more difficult by increasing the bench inclination and using heavier weight. But focus on form while doing the same.

Dumbbell One Arm Incline Fly

The Incline dumbbell one arm chest fly is a unilateral variation of the incline DB fly. This exercise is best used on upper hypertrophy days and chest workouts in more traditional bodybuilding splits.

Dumbbell Incline One Arm Fly
Incline Dumbbell One Arm Fly

How To Do Dumbbell One Arm Incline Fly

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lie on an incline bench (30-45 degree inclined).
  2. Extend the dumbbell above your chest, keep your elbow slightly bent, lower the weight down until it is about chest level and hold.
  3. Bring your arm back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your upper pec muscles to draw them back together.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Incline DB Twist fly

The Incline dumbbell twist fly is a slight variation of the incline DB fly.

This helps you better isolate the muscles of the upper chest, and the contraction produced by twisting the weight is greater than one typically experiences from the traditional incline dumbbell fly.

Incline Dumbbell Twist Fly
Incline Dumbbell Twist Fly

How To Do Incline DB Twist fly

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand in each hand with a neutral grip and lie on an incline bench.
  2. Hold the weights above you at shoulder height. Slightly retract your shoulder blades, unlock your elbows, and slowly lower the dumbbells laterally while maintaining the angle at your elbow.
  3. Once the dumbbells reach chest level, reverse the movement by squeezing your pecs together. As the dumbbells are returning to the starting position, twist the handles so that the bottom of the dumbbells almost touch.
  4. Without allowing the dumbbells to touch, start the next repetition by untwisting the handles back to a neutral position, and continue until the set is completed.

Dumbbell Incline Chest fly On Stability Ball

An incline Dumbbell Chest Fly can be performed by lying on the stability ball with cable handles in your both hand.

Incline Dumbbell Chest fly On Stability Ball

How To Do Dumbbell Incline Chest fly On Stability Ball

  1. Start off by sitting on an exercise ball, gripping dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Slowly roll down on the exercise ball, making sure that your head and neck are on the ball with your feet planted on the floor ahead of you.
  3. Lift with the dumbbell and bring them straight up above your chest, squeezing throughout the entire motion.
  4. Hold on to this position for a few seconds, then returning down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Alternate of Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

Before we deep dive into the best Incline dumbbell Chest Fly alternatives. We must remember, a good dumbbell Incline Chest Fly alternative will be able to satisfy the following criteria:

1. Activate the chest muscle groups, which are trained in the Incline dumbbell Chest Fly.

2. Isolate the muscle groups during execution

3. Train the chest muscle through a longer range of motion

Incline Dumbbell Press Exercise

Incline Dumbbell Press Exercise is best alternate of incline dumbbell press to develop the middle and the upper pectoral muscles.

Just like the Incline Bench Press, the Incline Dumbbell press works mostly on the upper pecs, but dumbbells allow full range of motion, and therefore in some ways better than the bench press.

Incline Dumbbell Press

How To Do

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lie on an incline bench (30-45 degree inclined).
  2. Clean the dumbbells and lift them straight overhead. Feel a good chest squeeze at the top.
  3. Lower the dumbbells and feel a good chest muscle stretch at the bottom.
  4. Repeat the desired no. of Reps and sets.

Incline Cable Chest Fly

Incline Cable Chest fly is one of the most suitable exercises for isolating the upper chest muscles.

Furthermore, performing this exercise with cables instead of dumbbells allows for constant tension, which helps build Upper Chest fibers. If cable setup is available, you should try it as an alternative to incline dumbbell chest fly.

Incline Cable Fly
Incline Cable Chest Fly

How To Do

  1. Set an incline bench at a 30-to 45-degree angle. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and hold the cable directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above.
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.

Standing Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly

Standing Incline dumbbell chest fly is a good exercise to target your upper chest. With only a pair of dumbbells, you can make your chest area broader and more developed. If you are searching for an alternative to incline dumbbell flies that you can easily do at home, then it is the best option for you.

Standing Upward Chest Fly

How To Do

  1. In a standing position, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing upward. 
  2. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and your arms down straight in front of your center.
  3. Extend your arms up and out to the sides, keeping your elbows straight and your arms at chest level.
  4. Bring them back to the center to finish a single rep. 


The incline dumbbell fly is a great chest exercise which targets the pectoralis major and minor, which puts great emphasis on the upper chest. It’s a popular variation of the chest fly and really stretches the chest muscles while allowing for a full range of motion through the movement.

Thanks for reading.

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