Chair fly exercises involve opening and closing your hands at chest-height to work your upper body from a seated position. The movement resembles the flapping of a bird's wings, which is why they're called flyes. Sitting up straight you can do chair flyes for your chest muscles and bending forward in your chair you can perform reverse flyes for your shoulders. All you need is a chair or bench and a pair of free weights, like dumbbells or kettlebells, or a resistance band.
To do chest flyes, sit up straight in your chair. Your spine should be in complete alignment, with each vertebra stacked one on top of another. Grasp a weight in each hand and hold them directly in front of your chest so that your arms are perpendicular to the floor. Have your palms facing each other so that your elbows face directly behind you. Separate your hands, opening your chest until you feel a slight stretch and your arms are out to your sides. Bring your hands back together to complete one rep.
Reverse flyes work your shoulders, or your deltoid muscles. Sit in your chair and hold your dumbbells, but instead of sitting up straight, bend forward so that your stomach is on your thighs and your chest is almost touching your knees. Let your dumbbells hang at your sides below the chair. Then raise them directly out to your sides as high as you can, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower with control to complete one rep.
The great thing about chair fly exercises is that you can do them anywhere, which makes them easier to squeeze in to a busy schedule. You can even work your chest and deltoids at work by keeping a pair of dumbbells under your desk. Building your chest and deltoids improves your physique whether you're a man or a woman by giving you muscle definition. A strong chest gives you more "pushing" strength, and building your deltoids will give you "pulling" strength.
Instead of using free weights, you can also use a peck deck machine to do chest flyes. Machine weights also isolate the targeted muscles more effectively because you don't need to use other muscles to help hold and balance the weight. A portable and affordable option if you're traveling or working out at home is a resistance band, which you use just like free weights by holding an end in either hand.
Another way to do the same exercises is from a lying or standing position. Lying on a bench isolates the muscles better because some of the effort to hold and balance the weights is put on the bench you're lying on, so gravity takes some of the weight off your supporting muscles. Standing recruits more muscles for balancing the weights.
Ben Prien is a fitness writer, personal trainer and workout enthusiast. He's been writing fitness articles since 2012 and has worked at "Men’s Fitness" and "Muscle & Fitness" magazines. He specializes in sports conditioning, muscle training, weight loss and sports nutrition.