How to use a Pec Deck – Benefits, Proper Form, and Tips

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
How to use a Pec Deck - Benefits, Proper Form, and Tips

Pec deck flyes, otherwise known as butterflies, are an excellent isolation exercise for the Pectoralis Major.

This exercise is safer than dumbbell flyes and less susceptible to cheating from the user. It is also possible to experience injury if proper precautionary steps are not taken.

Incorporating different machines and equipment into your routine helps achieve better results since each one produces a slightly different action.

The use of pec deck flyes can help target the pectoral muscles in isolation, thus providing an effective measure to strengthen these essential muscles.

How To Do A Pec Deck Fly Machine

Adjusting the seat height on a pec deck fly machine can be crucial for avoiding injuries.

The elbows should be slightly lower than the shoulder joints and in line with the chest; if the seat is too high or too low, these parameters cannot be met, increasing your risk of developing an injury.

When using this machine, adjust your seat until you reach the desired position; then ensure that your feet are securely placed on the footplates.

Taking the time to properly adjust this equipment will enable you to reap greater benefit from your workout while keeping yourself safe from harm.

Step to Step Guide How To Do A Pec Deck Fly Machine: 

Step 1: Start by sitting on the pec deck fly machine and ensuring that your feet are firmly planted on the footrests. Adjust the seat height if needed so that your arms are parallel with the floor when you reach out to grab the handles. 

Step 2: Place your forearms on the pads provided and grasp them firmly with both hands. Make sure your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle, as this is important for proper activation of the chest muscles and avoiding injury.

Step 3: Take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you press against the handles with equal force in a concentric motion, bringing your arms together until they almost touch in front of you, squeezing your chest muscles tight at peak contraction. 

Step 4: Hold this position for a two count before releasing to begin eccentric motion and returning back to starting position while inhaling deeply through your nose.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 until you have completed all desired reps in sets of 8-12 reps each with 60-90 seconds rest period between sets or as per instructions given by a fitness instructor or coach. 

Tip: As you progress through the routine, increase difficulty gradually by adding weight plates if available or increasing resistance via settings on the machine itself (if applicable). 

Benefits Of Using The Pec Deck

Pec deck machines are invaluable pieces of equipment for anyone looking to target the upper body and specifically their chest muscles.

Guided by their design, the machine focuses on stimulating the pecs with a considerable amount of attention also spent on other supporting muscles like the anterior deltoids.

For those seeking to increase their strength or size in this region of the body, therefore, there is no doubt that pec decks provide an effective way of doing so.

With all this in mind, it is clear to see why the pec deck has earned its position as one of the best exercises for helping bring about hypertrophy in your pectorals.

The pec deck is a great starting point for anyone just beginning strength training. It has a minimal learning curve and limited range of motion, which makes it harder to do wrong.

The simple design of the machine also helps reduce the risk of injuries that could occur due to incorrect form or posture while performing exercises.

Some of the pros associated with the pec deck include its suitability for beginners, its user-friendly design, and its ability to isolate particular muscle groups.

While there are some downsides such as the limited range of motion and having to perform sets on one side at a time, overall the pec deck is an excellent tool to add to any beginner’s strength training routine.

Common Pec Deck Mistakes

When using the pec deck, there are some common mistakes that beginners and some more advanced athletes make. These are some examples:

Holding Your breath

If you want to make a positive move without tension, forget about the deep breath and brace.

You must be relaxed and able to keep your breathing steady as you bring your hands together. To get the best results, you should breathe out slowly and then take another breath in again as you release them back to their initial position.

Doing this will help ensure that your move is successful and helps reduce the amount of stress on your body.

Using the legs

When it comes to the chest fly, it is important to ensure that you are only recruiting the muscles of your chest and not any other muscle groups.

While leg drive may be essential in bench pressing, this is an isolation movement and should be approached with that mindset accordingly.

If you find the weight too heavy to lift with your arms alone, try reducing the weight before relying on momentum from other parts of your body.

Doing so will help ensure you develop proper control over your muscles and also make sure that you are getting the most out of this exercise.

Exercises like these are specific for a reason and by ensuring that you properly isolate your chest, it can lead to outstanding results.

Arching the back

Proper form during weightlifting is essential for optimal results, and the back should always be kept in a flat position.

Trying to arch the back to compensate for a heavy weight could cause severe strain and is not recommended.

If someone finds themselves having difficulty keeping the back flat, this usually suggests that the weight used is too heavy and needs to be reduced.

Furthermore, using favourable body mechanics to complete lifts instead of using proper technique only puts your body at an increased risk of injury.

Pec deck alternatives

Muscles of the chest can be effectively targeted without a pec deck machine; exercises such as a chest fly, or press using cables or free weights instead can provide a great workout for these muscles.

These exercises can also be done at different angles to vary intensity and focus decline, flat, or incline positions are all viable options. 

Using a cable pulley machine.

The cable exercise, when done properly, is a great way to strengthen your chest, arms and shoulders.

To begin the exercise, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and that one end of the cable is firmly held in each hand.

Be sure to keep your arms extended with a slight bend in the elbows; then from there, slowly bring the arms towards the center of your chest before releasing them back to their starting position.

This repetitive motion should be carried out for however many reps are desired according to your fitness routine.

Using dumbbells

Utilizing dumbbells is a great way to build strength and muscle tone. When adding this exercise to your workout, it is important to start in the correct position.

Begin by securely holding a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Then lie down on a flat bench so that your head, shoulders, and back are resting on the surface.

Keep your feet flat on the ground with arms extended towards the ceiling, palms facing each other, and elbows slightly bent.

With controlled movements, slowly pull out and down until the dumbbells are parallel to the floor, and then raise back up to the beginning position and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.


The pec deck machine is an effective way to build chest muscles and can easily be adjusted according to a person’s level of fitness.

Focusing on this one type of exercise allows for strengthening the chest, shoulder, and core. If a pec deck is inaccessible, other machines work similarly, like free weights or a fly machine.

However, it is essential to ensure proper form while using these resistance machines; otherwise, there is a risk of straining the muscles.

Therefore, if utilizing the pec deck or any other associated exercise machines, it is important to remember posture and range of motion for optimal results with minimal risk.

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