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Butterflies Exercises For Chest Muscle




One very effective exercise for building pectoral muscle is butterflies on a butterfly machine. This kind of machine can be found in any gym or there are people who equip their home gym with such a device. You can see two types of such machines: one is called butterfly or also pec deck, and the second type is called pec deck fly. The exercises are called this way since the trajectory of performing exercise remember the fly of a butterfly.

The butterfly is an isolation exercise and sighting involves pectoral muscle, namely, the inner edge and the middle part of the pectoralis major muscle. Used for the development of breast muscle instead of its attachment to the sternum. Due to this, the athlete gets a spectacular furrow, separating the right and left pectoral muscle.

Must Read: Compound and Isolation Exercises

How to Do Butterflies?

How to do Butterflies?

Before performing butterflies you have to adjust the height of the bench, or the height of the handle, depending on the machine model. The right position is when your elbow and shoulder joints are on the same horizontal level, and the shoulders are parallel to the floor. The angle of the elbow should be at 90 degrees, forearms are vertical.

Further, forearms and elbows have to firmly stick to the special pillow. With your hands tightly grab the levers and fix them. Just sit down, back and neck firmly stick to the back of the machine. Put your feet as much as possible away from each other, but still keep them comfortable. Stick your feet firmly to the floor. This would be the starting position.

After this take a deep breath and push the levers together in front of yours. Exhale while doing this movement. Squeeze your chest muscle, and stay a few seconds in this position. There are many people who stay in this position for a few seconds since this is an isometric contraction and is great for muscle definition.

Further, slightly bring your hands to the initial position and take a deep breath. Repeat the movements following the same rules.

Advice on Doing Butterflies:

  • Perform all the movements slowly and with high concentration. No jerks. Otherwise, there are high risks to get injured;
  • Follow the rule of right breathing: exhale when you push the hands together to your chest, and inhale in the way back to the original position;
  • When bringing hands in the initial position do not push your shoulders too much back. If you do it, then your shoulder joints get an increased load. This can lead injury of shoulder joints;
  • Keep your chest muscle strengthening in the initial position. It is common among people who perform this kind of exercises to relax the chest muscle initially. This is a wrong approach, and make sure you do not repeat the same mistake;
  • During exercises keep your back straight right and  firmly pressed to the to the back of the bench;
  • Butterfly exercise should be included in chest workout, after performing basic exercises such as bench press, or dips. Butterflies are isolation exercises, that’s why it's better to be positioned after basic movements;
  • If for any reason you can not do butterflies (most common is the lack of butterfly machine), you can replace them with dumbbell flies.  They are isolation exercise too, that work pectoral muscles the same way butterflies do.

How Many Butterflies to Do For Great Results?

How many Butterflies to do for Great Results?

There are many answers to this question, based on each individual physical training. However, 3 sets of 8 reps are enough for an intense workout pectoral muscles. Begin with this number and slightly increase it if you find easy to do them.

The more experience you have on butterfly machine, the easier would be for you to perform a higher number of reps for each set. However, be patient and do not force your body. This will help you to stay free of any injury all the time while overtraining will be far from you too.

Read More: The Ultimate Chest Workout: Chest Exercises For Awesome Pecs

Butterflies Drawbacks:


There is one very important aspect related to the performance of the butterflies. You have to remember that any machine has one drawback: regardless of bodybuilder’ s size and body constitution, the machine runs on a strictly predetermined trajectory. And trajectory is not always the most optimal. Muscle mass and strength is greatly developed only by free weights.

Must Read: Free Weights vs. Machines: What’s the Difference?

Another detail you have to pay attention to is the maximum weight the machine operates with the simulator and space between adjacent weights. The maximum weight of the majority of the machine for bringing together the hands to the chest is not higher than 100 kg. Such a weight can be quite enough for a beginner or intermediate bodybuilders.  But advanced bodybuilders can find butterfly machine useless for them since the weight to work with is too low.

Bringing the hands together in the simulator is a great exercise for defining pectoral muscles. Many beginners like it namely for this reason. But you have to keep in mind that it works well as a secondary isolation exercises. And if there is nothing to define, then you should build muscle mass and then work on its definition. In other words go straight to the bench press, and after a while switch to butterflies.

Butterfly Versus Fly:

Butterfly Versus Fly

Do not confuse butterflies with flies, these are two separate group of exercises. The butterfly exercise can be done only on a butterfly machine. For this, you will need arm levers, and to keep your shoulder in a vertical position.  Contrary to this, during a fly, your arms are almost fully extended, parallel to the ground as you push the weight together.

Flies can be done using other types of devices such as cable machine, dumbbells or a resistance band. The butterfly is considered more effective since you push more weight than in case of the fly. This happens because the arm is bent, and allow you to work with greater weight. Fly is also target chest muscles.

Pay big attention to the right technique of execution since this will keep you away from any injury. Also, following the right way will provide with great results in terms of muscle definition. As you see, butterflies and flies both target muscle chest. However the most effective are butterflies since during them you work with greater weights.

Since butterflies are isolated exercises, they come after bench press or another basic exercise. It is great for getting your chest muscle defined, but it does not provide with muscle growth. That’s why you have to build chest muscle through bench press or work with free weights, and after a period of training switch to butterfly apparatus.

Read More: Get Rid of Stretch Marks During the Steroid Cycle or Post Steroid Cycle?

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