On Thursdays I work on my chest and triceps. This is probably my favourite workout day, except for the final component which is flat, incline and then decline flys.

My current Thursday looks like this:

3x8 Flat Bench dumbbell press.
3x8 Incline Bench dumbbell press.
3x8 Decline Bench dumbbell press.

3x10 Tricep pulldowns.
3x10 Skull crushers.
4x8 Close grip bench.

3x10 Flat Bench flys.
3x10 Incline Bench flys.
3x10 Decline Bench flys.

As you can see, there's a lot going on. And to top it off, I train with a friend which makes this workout my longest one averaging at just over 2 hours. Another thing is that flys just aren't that enjoyable compared to the rest of the workout.

Is it necessary to do this many variations of flys each chest day? I am seeing good shaping + size but I feel like that's coming naturally from press rather than all the flys I am doing. Would I see little to no difference if I rotated between flat, incline and decline flys each chest day and only did 1 perhaps?

  • How much weight are we talking in these exercises? Would it be accurate to say that your goal is size/aesthetics? Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 18:02
  • Rotate each month, not each chest day, and see what works best. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


Nobody is going to be able to answer that question but you. Let's assume your goal is maximal sarcoplasmic hypertrophy -- which means you want "bigger" muscles as fast as possible (not to be confused with more strength, since we can see our friend Clarence here squatting almost 600 lbs at 5'11" tall and only 190 lbs body weight is certainly not big: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV6sKV8nMq0).

Well, you'll need to take a scientific approach with your own training to see how your body reacts to the stimulus. The reason is that there are a lot of factors contributing to your growth (how adept your adrenals are at producing cortisol, how effective your body is at producing sarcoplasm and replenishing ATP, natural testosterone levels, mental resolve, etc). What works for somebody else may not work for you.

The best way to know whether or not your two hour push-movement workout is working the best it can be is to try to stabilize every variable you have control over (diet, rest, cardio, etc), then examine your results every few weeks. Guess and check.

  • Not necessarily a fan of the site, but this article describes the scientific approach a bit more in-detail. It also has a nifty flowchart at the end :D
    – user8119
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 9:27

No, it's not necessary to do any kind of flys at all. You can become enormously strong and sexy just by doing basic barbell compounds, as I've mentioned in another answer to one of your questions. 2hrs is a long workout, many experts suggest more than an hour of work sets is counterproductive. But I mostly read strength literature and you're doing a bodybuilding routine.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression the evidence suggests over an hour of work sets are counterproductive to mass gains, not strength gains. Hence the 6+ hours per day of training done by oly lifters.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 16:03
  • @Doc Maybe it's partly because oly lifters do a bunch of singles with huge rest in between them.
    – user4644
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 16:07
  • @Doc Training six hours per day is not even close to the same thing as doing a single workout session that spans six hours of work sets. Also, in general, what the best strength athletes in the world are doing at the peak of their conditioning is basically irrelevant to what novice and intermediate lifters do.
    – masonk
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 16:30
  • I tend to agree with Kate and masonk on the particulars here, but a reference would be useful for the ">1hr work sets is counterproductive" statement. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 18:01
  • Also, just from experience I would say Marty's program wouldn't be much longer than 1 hour in duration if done solo, and it is only because of the added time from having a partner that it is encroaching on the 2 hour mark.
    – Moses
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 21:46

This entirely depends on what is your goal? is it size? is it strength? How advanced you are?

You would be better off training muscle groups twice a week and split this volume into two, for best muscle growth you need about 40-90 repetitions per muscle per session x2 week. You are hitting double the amount in one session and then don't train those muscle for another 6 days. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24714538 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17326698 How about you have a heavier chest day and a lighter one in 2-3 days?

On top of that, at least for untrained subjects, there was no extra gains with adding isolation exercises after big compound movements http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23537028

Doing Incline, Decline, Flat is just a variation on the angle of your glenohumeral joint, etc. On the other hand, flyes done right can fully lengthen and shorten your chest muscles so metabolic stress and muscle damage can be achieved. Best way imho is to do a standing cable flyes with cables slightly lower than your shoulders. Biggest priority is to first do optimal work for muscle growth (2xweek, 40-90 reps, 65%+1RM), before adding so many variations.

Good Luck

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