When it comes to building the chest muscles, it’s easy to think that the bench press is king. However, the biomechanics of the bench press make it a poor chest builder since the movement primarily overloads the triceps and anterior deltoid. Plus, there are many other flaws with a typical bench press that I discussed here.
So when the goal is to add muscle and strength to the chest muscles, one exercise I use is the rings fly. There are three benefits of the rings fly that a barbell bench press can’t match.
1. Freedom of scapular motion: any exercise that challenges the shoulder joint should allow the scapulae (shoulder blades) to move freely. Rings, of course, allow your scapulae to move like they should, unlike a bench press that locks your shoulder blades into place. This unrestricted movement pattern helps preserve shoulder health while staving off imbalances.
2. Simple progression: the rings fly is easy to modify, based on your strength level. You can place the rings higher from the floor (mid-thigh level) if you’re weaker, and lower the rings as your strength increases. When the rings are just a few inches off the ground, the rings fly will challenge the strongest guys you’ll find.
3. Abdominal Recruitment: the third benefit of the rings fly is that it requires a deep, intense contraction from your abdominals throughout the movement to stabilize your torso. The abdominal contraction is similar to what you feel during an ab wheel rollout.
Check out the video below with technique guidelines for the rings fly from my Rings and Power tour. Get your rings at Christian’s Fitness Factory.