Exercise is an awesome thing to do; that much we know. It's great for doing a huge range of awesome things to your body, and that's all great. The issue, however, is that there are some exercises out there that may not always be so beneficial. Pitfalls and boobytraps lie in waiting. One of the easiest examples of these exercises that you can get wrong is dumbbell flyes.

There are a lot of riskier exercises out there than flyes, don't get us wrong. Exercises can affect all areas of the body and are often subject to opinion (as well as technique). Some exercises, however, such as upright rows or dumbbell flyes, are medically confirmable to be the causes of the more serious issues, if not carried out correctly.

The causes

Technique

These injuries are usually the result of lowering your arms too far. This results in your elbows being lower than your shoulders. That's most commonly causing the lead up to tearing your muscle and ligaments in your shoulders.

It can really cause serious and painful, long-lasting damage. On top of that, even if it isn't permanent, you can cause yourself a lot of pain in other shoulder exercises too. Keep those elbows at shoulder level.

 

person performing a dumbbell fly in the gym

Speed

Performing this exercise without the proper care or patience is also a big factor in what is causing a lot of injuries due to the improper form again, despite in some cases having the appropriate knowledge prior to performing.

The problem with dumbbell flyes is that it's just too easy to go too fast. That doesn't only lead to injuries, but it actually makes the exercise less effective. Your contractions are weaker as well as shorter, and you end up building momentum. The combination takes away a lot of the weight and the stabilising muscles and results in your injury.

This increase in your speed causes a lot of back injuries too. If your back is raised due to a high weight or improper form, you're just waiting for it to happen. It's advised you keep your core tight during the exercise to prevent this, but your form is essential regardless.

Man doing dumbbell flyes

Weight

Another problem that comes with dumbbell flyes is how much weight you try and lift. since it's a hugely chest based exercise, it's easy to try and lift more weight than you can manage. Your chest is strong after all, right? Too much is weight is never a good thing though, and it's one of the biggest players here.

The lack of anything preventing your arms going behind your shoulders means that with excessive weight, it's difficult to actually know where to stop the movement so that the weight doesn’t push your arms too low.

This creates massive stress on the shoulders, and more precisely, the rotator cuff which is the main result of the negligence of this exercise. In even more negligent cases, some people are led to believe that this overstretching of the arms is more useful for the exercise and the contraction involved, but it's actually hugely damaging.

 

The conclusion

 

Ultimately, the dumbbell flye exercise is very useful and when performed correctly, can give you awesome results. If you're dead set on trying it, one idea to bear in mind is to perform the exercise on the floor rather than on a bench where this happens.

This prevents this damage from being caused as well as giving the potential for far heavier weights to be used. That allows the muscles to really be overloaded and give the best growth from the workout. (provided the energy intake is also right, but that’s a different story).

Do it correctly, slowly, and carefully, or don't do it at all.

 

 

Exercise.co.uk dumbbells

 


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.