The bench press progressed into the most iconic training of all time, shifting the bodybuilding world for good when the “Russian Lion” carried out a file-environment 362 lb flooring press in 1899.
It’s the basis for any Monday chest day. It is the only stat that matters when you are chatting in the electricity rack line. And, if you can bench double your body weight, you have arrived at “elite” standing.
But dabbling in non-barbell upper body routines, in particular a significantly reduced-pounds one particular like the basic fly, ignites a battle you by no means want to wage: moi vs. mass.
Introducing … the resistance band upper body fly, a Monday night plateau-buster (and pec sculptor).
What Is the Resistance Band Upper body Fly?
The resistance band upper body fly is what they call a “chest opener” workout, isolating the pectoralis main muscle (the huge fanned upper body muscle) as a one-joint movement.
It’s thought of an adduction exercising due to the fact it delivers the shoulder joint closer towards the body’s midline (feel insertuction — it’s inserting to the larger sized mass).
Oh, and it is pretty much purely aesthetic!
By minimizing the tricep activation (as found in the resistance band chest press) and honing in on the pecs’ sternal head (that attaches to the central bony sternum), the RBCF can:
- Add a a lot more chiseled definition among the pecs
- Maximize hypertrophy and muscle thickness (primarily as a finisher exercising)
- Create some triceps and biceps mass together the way
Unlike the bench push, the fly takes on a lot more of an arc pattern and demands comparatively stiff elbows, producing a much better stretch in the pecs and delts.
But toughness-smart, the RBCF is nowhere in close proximity to the chest press’s caliber. That’s thanks to many factors like practically reducing the supporting triceps out of the equation and more muscle mass anxiety.
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RBCF: What Muscle tissues Does It Do the job?
The resistance band upper body fly and upper body push both of those deal with the exact issue (setting up upper physique muscle groups and strengthening weakness), but science proves that every physical exercise targets the muscle tissues with unique intensities.
A study performed in 2020 analyzed muscle activation in both of those the barbell bench push and the dumbbell fly — which muscle tissue do they goal, and how do they differ?
Considering the fact that these are almost on-par with the RB variations, here’s where you will truly feel the burn off or stretch when cranking out resistance band upper body flyes (vs . how it compares to the press):
- Biceps (76% additional)
- Anterior deltoids (25% significantly less)
- Pectoralis key (16% a lot less)
- Triceps (75% considerably less)
Added investigate in comparison them, too (a sizzling debate in the bodybuilding group). The result: flyes are far better left as auxiliary lifts to sculpt lagging pecs with a tiny additional TLC.
In other terms, drain the tank on upper body working day with a handful of sets of RBCFs.
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RBCF Added benefits
The RBCF might not direct your “exercises to try” listing proper now. But if the health club crowd isn’t allowing up, you are trapped at property, or you are desperate for pec mass, here’s why it’s value a next thought:
Defying the Resistance Band Stigma
Think about a common resistance band workout, and you likely image unfit property dwellers or true working day-a single noobs.
They could not search as rough as benching 200 lbs or grabbing 20 lb dumbbells (for flies), but RBs are rarely unique.
Good day, Advantage
Immediately after dumping $2,000 (the national normal) into your residence gymnasium, it could consider a ten years to pay alone off — as compared to a health club membership — and steals an overall home from your home.
Resistance bands are the finest of the two worlds. RBCFs call for very little more than an elastic band and a doorway anchor (a <$20 investment), and they fit nicely in a drawstring bag after a workout ends.
For example, squats and deadlifts are considered 2 of the “big 3” exercises that most guys should do, but if you don’t have access to a complete barbell set, repping out banded versions of squats and deadlifts can be almost as effective.
Add Some Much-Needed Thickness
By forcing the triceps to take more of a backseat, flyes can isolate the pec muscles with a little more oomph.
In other words, you can cause more microtears in your chest, especially at the sternal head, to trigger more growth in stubborn pecs.
A Potential Posture-Straightener
Flyes, sometimes dubbed “scapular retraction” exercises, force your shoulder blades together.
Though not a guarantee, RBCFs can potentially straighten your posture by loosening those muscles and preventing slumped-forward shoulders.
Cut Training Injury Risks
Classic dumbbell flyes are hit-or-miss on the injury front for two reasons: they’re an isolation exercise, and forcing too heavy a weight can cause ligament tearing in the shoulder joints.
Since resistance bands start loose and offer more resistance through the rep, you can pause when something feels wrong or swap in a lighter band.
And, if the band does snap or detach from the door anchor, it won’t be toward your face. Statistically, most elastic band injuries involve the eye, though a welt on your back will still hurt.
The General Consensus
No, RBCFs don’t include typical resistance training equipment like dumbbells, machines, or barbells. And yes, you’re sidelining a few press sets to swap in single-joint flyes.
The details above prove that neither of those points really matters. Well, that’s as long as you’re using proper technique, still hitting your rep goals, and not slashing compound exercises entirely.
How to Do the Resistance Band Chest Fly
There are three resistance band fly variations, just like the classic chest fly takes on several forms (cable, dumbbell, machine). The choice comes down to available equipment and preference.
Standing (With a Door Anchor)
What You’ll Need: A handled resistance band & a door anchor
- Attach the center of your resistance band to the door anchor, which should already be wedged at about chest height.
- Get into your starting base position, with one leg in front of you and slightly bent (staggered) and a straight back.
- Grab the handles with both hands with your palms facing the space in front of you.
- Hold your arms nearly straight out to your sides (like a cross).
- Slowly bring your palms toward the front of your body until they meet in front of you (or even cross over slightly for more activation).
- Pause around the top, and then return to the starting position.
Tip: If you want to isolate one arm at a time, a single-arm chest fly is an option, too! Just latch both ends of the band to a single handle and stand with your side to the door instead.
Standing 2.0 (Without a Door Anchor)
What You’ll Need: A short looped (or handle-less) resistance band
- Wrap the hooped band around your back (just under your deltoids).
- Grasp either end in both hands with your palms facing inward.
- Build a sturdy base with a tight core, chest vertical, and feet firmly planted.
- Start with your arms extended back (with a slight bend to your elbows) in the classic iron cross position.
- Keeping your arms straight at about shoulder height, bring your palms inward until they meet or almost meet in front of you.
- Squeeze your chest muscles briefly before returning to the starting position.
Tip: Perform each step slowly so that the band doesn’t roll up your back as you return to the arms-back position.
What You’ll Need: A small hooped resistance band & a bench (optional for a better stretch)
- Wrap the hooped resistance band behind your back at around deltoid-height, grab either end with your hands, and lie back on the floor or bench.
- Extend your arms so that they’re almost straight (make a T with your body).
- Keeping your elbows slightly bent, slowly drive your palms toward one another so that they meet just above your chest
- Briefly pause at the top.
- Slowly return to the starting position while allowing your arms to drop slightly below bench level to get a bit more of a stretch.
Tip: To add a little extra artificial resistance to your lying chest fly, use a bench and wrap the center of the band beneath the bench’s support beams.
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Resistance Band Chest Fly Variations
If you’re on a resistance band kick and want to build a band-only chest routine, here are two RBCF variations worth trying: incline and decline.
How to Do the Incline Resistance Band Chest Fly
The incline version is a better match for adding mass to your upper pecs, which tend to be stubborn and develop a depressing flat look.
The difference in the set-up: When you’re setting up the door anchor, position it lower on the door (at about knee or calf-height).
While doing the IRBCF, bring the band ends together by keeping a steady up-and-in motion.
How to Do the Decline Resistance Band Chest Fly
The decline version is an excellent alternative for lagging lower pecs, chiseling the bottom curve to help a beefy chest stand out even more.
The difference in the set-up: When you’re wedging the band into that trusty door anchor, position it near the top of the door instead.
For the DRBCF, you’ll want to do the opposite of the incline variation cross the band in front of you with a down-and-in pattern.
Want more ways to build muscular pecs? Checkout this full list of chest exercises with resistance bands and start gaining upper body mass now!
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