Best Pec Deck
It’s not really a chest workout without some type of fly movement. Most upper body presses, whether traditional bench or even overhead, do work the chest muscles at some level. But just as the squat is a compound movement which works multiple muscles simultaneously, so is true with the presses. This means the triceps and shoulders actually wind up doing much of the actual lifting, and if done correctly, the upper back as well. The chest fly is to the pectoralis muscles what the leg extension is to the quadriceps – an isolation movement. Instead of working the pectoralis muscles’ depth, the fly is a stretching motion which pulls them away from the sternum and helps with the width. It’s also a great way to stretch and lengthen the associated muscles. Dumbbell variations involve a lifter lying back-down on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, lowering and raising the arms straight downward apart and upwards together. The downside to dumbbell movements is they’re notoriously uneven and control is tough. It’s also a struggle to get the dumbbells up into the fly position for the beginning and end, and if you’re not careful, injury can occur. Enter the peck deck, or chest fly machine. Designed to offer each arm independent movement, the machines prevent over-reach and eliminate the potential for injury and struggle at beginning and end.
Best Pec Deck
The good news about flyes is that as a single-joint, isolation movement, they can be downright therapeutic if done correctly. The stretching motion can serve as either a warm-up or cool-down depending upon which end of your workout its used. Conversely, as a single-joint, isolation movement, too heavy a weight can put undo stress on those hinges. As a rule, compound movements are where you want your heavy weights, and isolation movements are high-rep blood-pumpers. Consider Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success with super-sets, which is a technique where lifters pair up two opposing muscle movements, such as the chest press and chest fly. By combining these two motions, you get a deep-and-wide effect, hitting the muscle group from multiple points. The stretching motion of the single-joint fly complements the compound press.
Machines vs Dumbbells
There will always be debate between lifters about machines and free weights. The upside to the machines is clearly safety and space efficiency. Instead of piling up dumbbells around the garage, a pec deck takes up relatively little space. Meanwhile, the downside to using dumbbells on a chest fly is the possibility of over-stretching those shoulder joints when raising and lowering. It’s also difficult to keep the arms perfectly straight while bringing the hands up as you’re inclined to bend at the elbows. The pec deck meanwhile keeps the focus directly on the muscles in question and wastes less energy on the handling of the dumbbells.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50
A combination unit with chest fly/press, high-pulley for lats, and a four-roll leg developer, the ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 has a 112-pound weight stack with 280 pounds of resistance. Total user weight capacity is 300 pounds and the unit comes with a 90-day warranty. The machine’s dimensions are 48- x 18.9- x 16-inches wit h a total weight of 226 pounds. With a vinyl seat and pads, the weights are operated by a cable-pulley system for smooth action. The adjustable seat is designed to accommodate users of varying heights and sizes.
2. TDS Deluxe PEC Deck
With heavy-duty ball bearing pulleys and solid steel chromed guide rods, the TDS Deluxe Pec Deck offers a plate-loaded isolation movement focused solely on the chest. The 139-pound unit is 50 inches long by 55 inches wide and 66 inches high, with an adjustable seat to accommodate users of varying size. Arm handles rotate for easy movement, and weight plates are placed upon horns to the rear of the unit. Good news for users wanting to move the unit around as the machine lacks a weight-stack and is therefore much lighter.
3. Weider 2980 (214-pound) stack Home Gym
With six integrated workout stations, the Weider 2980 offers resistance up to 214 pounds by way of an 81-pound weight stack. Total weight capacity for users is 300 pounds on the unit which measures 65 inches long by 37 inches wide and 76 inches high. In addition to the chest fly, users can also utilize a chest press, high pulley, leg developer, preacher curl, and low pulley station. Assembly of the product is required.
4. Marcy MWM-988 Multifunction Steel Home Gym
A multi-exercise station with vertical butterfly movements, chest press, and leg movements. The Marcy MWM-988 unit is constructed from 14-gauge steel and vinyl coated for a weight stack of 150 pounds. The unit’s foot print is 68 inches long by 36 inches wide and 79 inches high with a total maximum user weight of 300 pounds. Built with 14-gauge steel, the unit is operated by way of double pulley stations for a smooth action. With an adjustable seat and features, the unit works with a wide range of body types. Assembly is required.
5. Body Solid Best Fitness BFFT10R
While most chest fly movements are performed lying down or sitting upright, the Body Solid Best Fitness BFFT10R allows for a standing motion. With adjustable pulleys which swivel 180 degrees, the 190-pound weight stack features two nylon cable handles. The 309-pound unit measures 55- x 61- x 84-inches and comes with a three-year frame warranty and one-year warranty on all parts. Also equipped with a chin-up station, the unit utilizes a V-shaped base for stability.