My local gym has dumbbells up to 30 kgs. I can bench several multiples of that. How to do progressive flys and DB presses with this limitation?

(There is a pec fly machine, but it tops out at 80 kgs)

(I tried making my own DBs with short bars and collars, but the weights slide off)

  • You are doing flys with 30 kgs? Not sure if that is healthy.
    – mitro
    Jan 3, 2016 at 10:09
  • I'm a pretty big guy. 30s are puny. ;)
    – Drakes
    Jan 3, 2016 at 10:27
  • Buy them some dumbbells. Join a different gym. Bring your own collars (I've done that at some ill-equipped gyms). Hang weights on their flye machine (I've done that too, but stopped after I broke one). Jan 3, 2016 at 23:26
  • Does your gym have barbells? If so why not just bench press and overhead press one of those?
    – Nathan
    Jan 4, 2016 at 0:58
  • @DaveNewton I came from Gold's before. Job/city transfer. That's why I use over 30. This gym just has Matrix machines; can't hang additional weights.
    – Drakes
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:46

5 Answers 5


You can use resistence bands or substitute with weighted dips while keeping the elbows 'out' - not close to the body.

Also consider to use a small belt or rope with what you can hang more weight to the dumbell you are currently using.

Weighted wide push-ups or weighted trx flys or furniture glider push ups simulate the same movement.


Depends what your goals are, possibly you don't need to even do flies or db press. Normal barbell bench and dips could do the trick.

  • Continued hypertrophy :)
    – Drakes
    Jan 4, 2016 at 5:42
  • Then maybe weighted dips and regular bench would be better. For continued hypertrophy your body needs to continuously be overloaded in weight so gradual increase in exercise weight is what you need. You are maxed out with the DBs and your body is getting used to that weight no matter how many sets or pyramids you do.
    – PmanAce
    Jan 4, 2016 at 14:25

I will recommend doing pyramid training with the weights i.e. Do 8-10 reps of flys with 30 kgs ( or whatever you are comfortable with). After that with no rest pick 20 kgs dumbbell and try doing 8-10 reps, then move to 15 kgs and so forth till you get to 1 kgs dumbbell and you can't do any further.

If this is too easy drop off weights by 2 kgs every set and focus on form and perform each rep slowly with full control and balance. Not only you will feel the real burn in your muscles but you will quickly build strength and definition.

  • Thanks. I'm doing drop sets now. I've been doing that for months. Pausing. Holding. Doing that too, so I agree with you about the burn. Slow negatives as well. But I can bench 130 kgs so any more of this strategy will work on endurance over hypertrophy I'm afraid.
    – Drakes
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:56

Weigths in my gym only went up to 40kg, most guys who could do more than that would put 4, 6, 8 or 10kg dumbells on top of the 40kg ones. You could also try out other exercises. A similar exercise to chest press is Barbell Benchpress, it also won't limit you in the range of weigth.

Keep up the good work!

  • 1
    How do they put the 10s on top of the 40s? Do they just hold the two bars together, or use sports tape or something?
    – Drakes
    Jan 4, 2016 at 16:06
  • The dumbell handlebars would be crossed. My gym has round dumbells and they would fit very nicely that way. They always used a spotter to put the dumbells on though, so you won't be able to use this method on your own.
    – Marekkk
    Jan 4, 2016 at 16:18

I solved this by asking a partner (or just a random person) to press down on the dumbbells during the lifting or the negative phase. This burns so good, plus I made new gym friends.

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