Tip: The Dirty 30 Chest Flye

Build your pecs with this mechanical drop-set. Check it out.


I nicknamed these "dirty 30s" because it's more fun than saying lots of brutally painful time under tension. Here's how it looks:

  • 8-10 reps emphasizing your pecs in their stretched position
  • 8-10 reps emphasizing your pecs in their shortened position
  • 8-10 second isometric hold

How do you change the emphasis? By changing the angle. And yes, smart-ass, you could also call them 24's, but then it wouldn't sound as cool, would it?

Take a look:

1. Pick your cable flye variation.

These DO have to be cable flyes. Leverage factors play a big role here and dumbbells just don't cut it. The video shows a seated cable flye, but this would work standing, kneeling, or even single-armed.

2. Decide the height of the cables.

A low-to-high cable path will bias your upper pec fibers (clavicular portion). A more horizontal flye path will bias the middle (sternal portion). And a high-to-low path will target the lower (costal) fibers a little more.

3. Start with your bench a foot or two in front of the cables and do 8-10 reps.

You want to ideally be in a position where the line of the cable is angled about 90 degrees to your forearm in the widest part of the flye. The width of your cables and how far forward your bench is will influence this, but as a general rule start with your bench a foot or two out from the cable machine and see how it feels.

Remember, the widest part of your flye should still be within the active range of motion of your pecs. You should still feel muscular tension in your chest rather than anywhere else. Do 8-10 reps focusing on the stretch.

4. Move your bench closer to the cable machine and aim for another 8-10 reps.

You want to be in a position where the line of the cable is 90 degrees to your forearms in the middle of the flye. Your cables will influence this, but in general, the more level you are with them, or even back slightly behind them, the better.

Stepping back (if standing) or sliding your bench back will change the point of maximal load, adding more resistance in the squeeze portion of the exercise while unloading in the stretch portion. Try for another 8-10 reps and really emphasize pulling "bicep to boob" as you squeeze out every rep.

5. Finish with an iso hold for 8-10 seconds.

In the same position (emphasizing your pecs in their shortened position), hold your last rep and squeeze as hard as you can. Since you'll be stronger holding an isometric contraction, this will help finish off those last pec fibers and pump some extra blood into your muscles. Hold there and try to breathe it out for 8-10 seconds.

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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