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Butterfly chest exercise: Benefits and how to do it!

If you want to tone your chest muscles, try this effective exercise called butterfly chest exercise. Here’s how to do this exercise properly.

When you workout, you focus on toning your back, core, and legs, but people tend to often overlook chest exercises. You should work on your pectorals, both front and back. Everyone should work their chest muscles. Chest workouts are beneficial for a variety of reasons, including improving posture, performing daily tasks, and breathing more freely. If you have been neglecting those muscles, it is time to incorporate some chest exercises into your program. Here’s everything you need to know about the butterfly chest exercise and how to do it.

What is the butterfly chest exercise?

The butterfly chest exercise is also known as the chest fly or pec deck. It is a popular gym workout that targets your chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis. Butterfly workouts primarily focus on exercises that control the upper, middle, lower, and inner chest areas. Not only that, but the exercise works your biceps, triceps, and deltoids, resulting in a toned and stronger upper body. It is done using a machine called a butterfly machine or pec deck but it can also be performed using dumbbells, or cables.

Moreover, training your chest muscles may help to reduce injury risks by improving stability in the shoulder joints and the interconnected upper limbs, as found in a 2022 study published in the Sports MDPI Journal. This workout is done seated on a weighted machine and targets the triceps and biceps. Chest fly exercises may appear a little challenging at first, but to gain strength and endurance, you must be patient and persistent!

Also Read: 5 best chest exercises for beginners to strengthen and tone your muscles

Chest exercises
Chest exercises can help you tone your upper body. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of butterfly chest exercise?

Here are some of the notable benefits of butterfly chest exercises, as explained by fitness expert Yash Agarwal.

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1. Tones pectoralis muscles

The butterfly chest workout strengthens the chest muscles by exerting a pushing force. The pectoral muscles, which are the targeted muscles, are a group of skeletal muscles that connect the upper extremities to the anterior and lateral thoracic walls, according to a 2023 study published in the StatsPearl Journal. For ladies, this exercise may help elevate the chest. However, more research is needed to determine whether butterfly chest exercises help to tone pectoralis muscles.

2. Tones synergistic muscles

The butterfly chest exercise tones the synergist muscles (synergist muscle is a helper muscle that works alongside the main muscle (agonist) to produce a specific movement) and also improves chest stability. This, in turn, helps to prevent shoulder injuries by strengthening your muscles to support the shoulder joint. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.

3. Improves posture

“When your chest muscles are weak, it can lead to a hunched back. Strengthening your chest with the butterfly exercise can help pull your shoulders back and improve your posture. So, if you are looking for ways to improve your posture, incorporating butterfly chest exercises can be helpful,” says the expert.

4. Low-impact workout

The butterfly chest exercise offers a more controlled and stable movement than other chest exercises like push-ups or dips. This can be beneficial for people with joint issues or those who are new to the strength training program. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove this claim.

5. Improves muscle growth

“The butterfly exercise can be a valuable tool for building muscle mass in your chest, especially for beginners. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the weight to promote muscle growth,” explains the expert.

Keep in mind that butterfly chest exercise may induce stiffness in the chest the next day because large muscular groups, such as the pectoralis major, do not have the same endurance as smaller muscle groups. So, take your time with the exercise.

How to do butterfly chest exercises?

Here’s a complete guide on how to do butterfly chest exercises as explained by the expert.

1. Dumbbell butterfly chest exercise

  • Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
  • Extend your arms above your chest with a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Lower your arms out to the sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch in your chest.
  • Bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position, squeezing your chest.

2. Cable butterfly chest exercise

  • Stand between two cable pulleys, with handles set at chest height.
  • Hold a handle in each hand and step forward to create tension in the cables.
  • Bring your hands together in front of you, keeping a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
chest exercises
Cable butterfly exercise can help tone your chest. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Are there any side effects of butterfly chest exercises?

Here are some of the side effects of butterfly chest exercises, as explained by the expert.

  • Incorrect form can lead to shoulder injuries or strains.
  • Performing exercise too frequently without adequate rest can cause muscle strain.
  • Excessive weight or improper technique can put stress on shoulder and elbow joints.
  • Focusing too much on chest exercises without balancing with back workouts can lead to posture problems.

Before making any modifications to your exercise routine, be sure to take professional advice.

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