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Machine Fly or Dumbell Fly?

I enjoy doing machine flies since I am positive on my form since it is a machine. But I know machine substitutions for something you can do with free weights is not always better for strength. Is there a major difference between the machine fly and dumbell fly in progression?

Personally I like machine flyes way better.

The peak contraction is at the top of the movement rather than the bottom, if you see what I mean. Much more shoulder friendly and just feels better in general, I think.

The whole idea that machines are always inferior to free weights is actually quite myopic.


Yep second vote for machine fly If I had to choose to only do 1. But do you really have to choose?

Any reason you can’t work both into your routine, super setting the 2 movements is great or just alternating between the 2 each session. Then the flip side is completely dropping the db fly if you are not getting much out of it, plenty of other ways to build the chest to worry too much about not doing a specific exercise.

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I vote for cable fly.

I don’t agree that machine flys lock me into a correct range of motion and I hate how the resistance curve fucks with db flys. When I was stronger, I’d have voted for ring flys.

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OP do you think a fly is a strength movement?


I hate machine flys; being relatively tall with long limbs most machines don’t fit me well and the movement feels weird. That being said I don’t prefer dumbbell flys either as I don’t get the contraction I want at the top and they feel hard on my shoulders; I will do them if I can’t do the following. I prefer cable flys; I get a better top end contraction, can adjust the height of the pulleys and thus the relative angle of resistance and I’m not locked into a specific plane of motion.

Cables or pec dec 100%.

Whatever one lets you have the best mind-muscle connection. That is, if you train for bodybuilding.

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I like dumbbell fly better and I am a huge advocate for machines. The path is more natural and not fixed. The pec deck machine in particular has a weird setting I always have to hold the thing above the grip to get the best mind muscle connection. I also feel a greater stretch at the bottom with dumbbell fly.

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No, I would progress these in the same way.

I’ll go against the grain and say they both are virtually worthless.

Also I’m not going to argue with people on this subject so if you disagree just know I’m going to ignore it an all linked studies using electrodes hooked up to nipples to measure stuff. God I hate dieting. I need a snickers.

I missed the word progression here. I would absolutely not look to progress on either, this isn’t a movement I’m doing for strength. I would increase the weight if I no longer felt the desired affect. Which would be rarely.

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I like flyes with cables done on a bench. You don’t use handles. Just grab the cables with a pronated grip, lie on the bench and do a fly until your arms are crossed. Very strong peak contraction. To feel it even more, you can slightly rotate your arms internally as your hands travel past each other.

I recently saw a video on Paul Carter’s insragram while he was doing these (although I swear I came up with this by myself, I didn’t realize it was actually a thing), and he advises to position yourself on an incline bench so your back isn’t resting on it, to get more freedom in your scapulae. Haven’t tried that yet.

As a beginner dont need flyes at all in first place, so just do whatever

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I do neither. I always felt DB’s in my biceps. Never found a good way to feel them in my chest. CT wrote a really good article about what to do when certain movements were being felt in the “wrong” places but I’ve never been able to find it again…anyone know what I’m talking about?

But if you have a somewhat average build/limb length you can probably get a better contraction with machines. Tall people may disagree because they don’t fit the machine as well.

And finally, if you’re not interested in bodybuilding, I’d stick with pushups, dips, and bench variations so you might as well be building some strength as well.