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You might have seen people doing decline dumbbell fly to train their lower chest. It is one of the popular exercises that many bodybuilders do. It is a great exercise to target the lower chest and get that sharp and defined-looking lower chest. But it is not one of the best exercisese when it comes to safety.

I have heard so many people complaining that I feel pain or discomfort in my shoulders whenever I do dumbbell flys. This is the major issue with flys. They are outstanding in training the chest at a fuller range of motion, but that range puts the shoulder in an unstable position where you can easily hurt your joints.

So what can you do instead of decline dumbbell fly? What are the other safer alternatives to decline dumbbell fly?

In this article, I will share some of the best alternatives to decline dumbbell fly that targets the same muscles and will also be much safer and better exercises. You can also go heavy on some of them without worrying about the shoulder.

But before looking at the alternatives, it is important to know some of the problems and limitations of decline dumbbell fly.

Problems with Decline Dumbbell Fly

1. Not Good For Your Shoulder Joint

Dumbbell flys when performed on a bench, put your shoulder in an unsafe position at the bottom. As there is less stability at the shoulder joint and there is nothing at the bottom to stop you from overstretching your muscles. So it is better to avoid them.

2. No Full Contraction of Chest

When you perform a dumbbell fly, you can only bring your arms to the midline of the chest at the top. You cannot pass that midline. This means that your chest muscles are not fully utilized in this exercise. Instead of dumbbell fly, if you do cable crossovers you can easily bring your arms across the midline and fully contract the pecs.

3. No Tension At The Top

Another problem is that at the top half of the movement, there is no tension on the chest. Your chest is having almost zero tension at the top. If you compare that with a cable crossover then there is a full tension on the chest at the top half of the movement.

4. Can’t Go Heavy

Dumbbell fly is already putting your shoulders in an unsafe position. Also, there is less leverage and stability at the bottom. Due to this, it is very dangerous to go heavy on this. You cannot overload with heavier weights in this exercise.

Due to these limitations, it is not one of the best exercises for your chest. As there are many other alternative options, it’s better to do those instead of a decline dumbbell fly. So let’s find out those effective alternatives!

Decline Dumbbell Fly Alternatives

1. Dips

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This is a great bodyweight strength exercise for your chest. Many people perform this exercise to build the size and thickness of their chest. Dips are a little harder than decline flys but it’s one of the powerful exercises to build the strength of your upper body.

You can skip decline flys if you are doing dips during your chest workout, as both are done to target the lower chest. Also, many people have a well developed lower chest, so you don’t have to train them too much.

Targeted Muscles- lower chest, triceps and abs

How to do

1. Place both hands on the bar while holding it tight and then lift your body balancing it in the air.

2. Now, start lowering your body by slightly keeping your elbows out and reaching the bottom position where your elbows are at a 90° angle.

3. From there, start pushing the body up by squeezing your chest muscles and extend your elbows at the top.

Recommended Reps- 8-10

If you are a beginner, then you can do some other alternative exercises for dips as there are many other options available to you.

If dips are challenging for you, then don’t worry. You can do many other alternatives to drops. You can check one of the blogs I have written specifically on the best options to dips. You can check that out by clicking here.

2. Incline Push-ups

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Incline push-up is a great bodyweight exercise that you can do instead of a decline dumbbell fly. It is a much safer and more effective way to strengthen the lower chest. You can do this even at home.

Muscles- lower chest, triceps and abs

How to do

1. Place your hands on the corner of the box or a bench. Move your legs back while extending your knees. Keep both feet together.

2. Adjust your body so your arms align with the lower chest. Look straight and retract your shoulders. This will be your starting position.

3. Start by moving your chest down while keeping your back straight. Keep your abs tight and elbows at a 45° angle.

4. Pause at the bottom position when your lower chest is almost touching the edge of the box.

5. Push your body up and return to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Ensure that you engage your core and keep your back straight throughout the movement. You should breathe in as you go down and breathe out on the way up. Also remember to keep your shoulders back and chest up as you perform the exercise.

3. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

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Another great multi-joint exercise for your chest. This will give you a thick and robust lower chest. Do this as an alternative to incline pushups. You can also do this with the barbell, which will be much easier thanZ the dumbbell press.

Targeted muscles– Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Grab two dumbbells and lay on a decline bench. Keep your feet under the pads of the bench for support. Use a spotter to help you lift the dumbbells safely.

2. Keep your hands straight up. The dumbbells should be in line with the lower chest and don’t overextend your lower back.

3. Now start moving the dumbbells down. Your elbow should be at about a 60° angle from the shoulder.

4. Pause at the bottom when your dumbbells are at the side of the lower chest. Don’t take it too down. Keep the dumbbells slightly above your chest.

5. Now push the weights and bring it back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Recommended Reps- 8-10

Have a spotter behind you for safety purposes, but don’t completely reply to the spotter. Always use support during the last 1 or two reps. Also remember to keep your shoulders back and chest up before moving the weights.

4. Sliding Pushup

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Another great alternative option for you. This is a bodyweight exercise you can do at home without any equipment. This also activates your core muscles to a great extent which makes them functional and athletic.

This exercise has a similar movement pattern compared to the decline dumbbell fly. Along with that, it also engages core muscles to a greater extent.

Targeted Muscles- lower chest, triceps and abs

How to do

1. Grab two pairs of hand pads or socks and place both hands on the floor.

2. Keep both hands close to each other and get yourself in a push-up position by keeping your legs and arms straight. The chest should be under the hand.

3. Start the exercise by pushing both hands to the sides for a slide while keeping your back straight.

4. Pause at the bottom when your chest is almost touching the floor and then slide back to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 8-12

Remember to breathe in on the way down and breathe out on the way up. Also, do this exercise slowly. If the exercise is difficult for you then do it with your knees down.

5. Cable Crossovers

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This will help you to give that proper shape to your lower chest. You can do this after heavy compound exercises and pressing movements. Here, you can bring your arms across the midline of the body, which is not possible with dumbbell flys. Also, you can stretch your chest to its maximum with constant tension.

Targeted Muscles – lower chest

How to do

1. Attach both pulleys on top of the cable tower. Hold the cables and stand in between the machine with one leg forward.

2. Roll your shoulders back and lift your chest. Don’t bend too much and maintain the upright position.

3. While maintaining this position, move your arms forward and take them across each other. Both hands should look like a cross. This will engage your chest more.

4. Return to the starting position slow and steadily and then repeat the movement.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

You should aim for more reps in these fly exercises as it is mainly done for shaping the muscle rather than using it to build strength. So aim for at least 12-15 reps on this exercise.

6. TRX Push-Ups

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This exercise is another great alternative you can use in place of decline dumbbell fly. This exercise also requires a lot of stability, which increases the core and torso activation. It’s also a great exercise for athletes.

Targeted muscles– pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Attach a TRX suspension at the top of the cable machine or anywhere in the top where you can fix it.

2. Grab each end of the bands and stand forward with your body leaning forward and keeping your arms straight forward.

3. Keep your hands slightly down the lower chest and slowly bring your body down. Keep your legs straight and maintain the balance.

4. Pause at the bottom when your wrist comes slightly above your lower chest. Slowly blush back to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

Your shoulders should be pinched back before performing the exercise. Always keep your chest forward and squeeze your lats as you go down.

There are so many exercises that you can do from TRX. You can read one of my blogs on the best TRX tricep exercises. You can check that out by clicking here.

7. Stability Ball Push-ups

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This is an advanced exercise for your chest. You will require great balance and stability while doing the exercise. If you are bored with decline dumbbell fly, then try this advanced version.

Targeted muscles– lower chest, triceps, and abs

How to do

1. Place your hands on a stability ball and slowly bring your feet back and keep it straight.. Hands should as further as the ball allows.

2. Your chest should be in line with your hands. It should not be away from the ball.

3. With your core and hips tight, start bringing your body down until your chest almost touches the ball.

4. Push back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Recommended Reps- 8-12

This exercise is an advanced exercise so beginners or intermediates should stick with the regular push-ups. Once you master the pushup, then slowly and gradually add this to your workout program.

Final Words

So these were some of the best alternatives to decline dumbbell fly. You can do any of these exercises to target the lower chest. They are much safer for the joints if done correctly. It is essential to have a professional who can help you throughout your training process and design a workout program according to your current fitness level. So having a professional coach or a personal trainer is essential if you want to avoid injury.

Make sure that you take enough rest in between each set as recommended. Also, don’t do too much exercise. You don’t need to do all of these seven exercises that I have discussed in a single workout. Instead, select the best ones for you according to your goals, preferences, and fitness level.

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