Chest Flys – Useless Exercise Or Mass Builder?

Chest flys are one of most frequently done exercise in the world. On Monday which is known as the International Chest Training Day people use the chest fly to show their love to the pec god – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, usually some of the best things you can do represent the exact opposite of what the masses are doing. This makes us question the validity of chest flys – if it’s so good, why are so many people doing it. {I know, I know – the irony.}



Chest flys are part of the mainstream bodybuilding tradition since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time when the whole ‘I Want Big Pecs!’ movement was born. Since then people have been doing incredible amounts of chest flys. If every chest flys was half a penny given to the homeless people, there would be no homeless people.

On paper chest flys are supposed to isolate the chest and make it work directly without being limited by other muscles such as the triceps or the front deltoids. That’s why chest flys are usually done as a finisher or pre-exhausting exercise. Of course, the usual set of chest flys is followed by intense chesticles flexing in front of the mirrors in the gym.

The King Of Pecs doing chest flies

The King Of Pecs doing chest flies


Everybody has a plan until they tear a tendon. Tendon injuries are some of the worst and need forever to heal due to the poor blood supply of the connective tissues. At the same time tendons also recover very slowly from training sessions. All of this is great news for the orthopedists, or at least for those who want to have patients, but it’s very bad news for chest fly lovers because the stress on the pec tendons is insane when doing this sexy exercise. One of the best ways to pop your pec open and see it roll towards your sternum is to do heavy chest flys to failure. That’s how large the stretch of the tendon is.


Scooby Werkstatt a.k.a. the guy with the biggest pecs on YouTube is known for his affection to chest flys. He has enormous pecs and many videos dedicated to this particular movement. Cool, or is it?

We can’t deny that the man has some inflated pecs, but that doesn’t mean he got them by doing solely chest flys. He is also performing a lot of other exercises and has a highly questionable natural status – the older he gets, the bigger he becomes. Weird, isn’t it?


Define useless? If it’s for muscle growth chest flys are a truly useless exercise. They don’t allow you to use a lot of weight while placing tons of stress on the chest tendons and the rotator cuff. That’s why the exercise is only useful, if your shoulders can take it and you use the pink dumbbells. In other words – it truly sucks, in our view. You can do it as a light warm-up movement in order to prepare the area but in the long term the true chest power and growth will come from push-ups, dips and the of course the bench press. The variations of those exercises will forever remain the best chest builders while chest flys are more of sterile movement meant to pump your pecs before posing or going to the club.

One comment

  1. Paul

    When I was 16 I steped in a bodybuilding gym for the first time. The trainer at that time saw me doing chest flys and hurry to help believing I’m close to injuries. He was surprise of the loads for my age. Similar to adults with 1-2 years of training. He told me that I have very good shoulder joint and he was true. Since then the chest flys are one of my best exercises for pecs. So, for me chest flys are very good. And I know many other guys good at it. Of course, not the majority of people that train but around 10-20 %.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *