Half dumbbell bench press and half isometric dumbbell flye, the hex press is a novel high-tension chest-builder. The hex press is carried out on a flat bench with the dumbbells squeezed collectively all through the urgent movement. This function explains why one alternate title for this distinctive chest exercise is the “squeeze press.”
This train additionally goes by “Champagne press,” however the hex press isn’t only for particular events. Like Champagne, the hex press compliments absolutely anything — it’s nice for lifters coaching for a stronger press, a extra muscular chest, or more healthy shoulders.
Able to pop the cork on new chest beneficial properties? Discover the whole lot you could know beneath.
Hex Press Video Information
See the hex press in motion, demonstrated by creator Dr. Merrick Lincoln. Word the important thing strategies, then take a look at the Step-by-Step breakdown with extra type suggestions.
It might appear like a close-grip dumbbell bench press however, whereas there are some similarities, there are essential variations that make the hex press stand out. Observe these steps for correct, environment friendly, and efficient approach.
Step 1 — Set Up 5 Factors of Contact
Just like the bench press, the hex press is carried out on a flat bench. Maintain a dumbbell in every hand, arrange with 5 factors of contact for stability — the again of your head on the bench, your shoulder blades on the bench, your buttock on the bench, your proper foot touching the ground, and your left foot touching the ground. (1)
Type Tip: Recruit a “spotter,” or particular person who can help you for those who run into hassle in the course of the train. Any train involving weights passing over the physique requires a spotter. (1) A spotter is particularly necessary when studying an unfamiliar train. The spotter stands behind the bench and, if help is important, they’ll help by greedy your wrists to information the dumbbells. (1)
Step 2 — Set Your Shoulders and Squeeze the Dumbbells Collectively
Elevate your chest towards the ceiling by arching your again and pulling your shoulder blades collectively. Preserve this place all through the train. With a impartial grip (palms going through one another), carry the dumbbells collectively simply above your sternum and squeeze them collectively arduous.
Type Tip: When you’re utilizing hexagonal-shaped dumbbells — the namesake gear for the hex press — guarantee flat surfaces of the dumbbells are aligned and squeezed collectively.
Step 3 — Preserve Stress, Press to Lockout
Provoke the press by flexing your shoulders and lengthening your elbows. Preserve the dumbbells squeezed collectively and elbows tucked all through the motion. Don’t lower inward strain as you attain the highest, locked out, place.
Type Tip: Preserve pressure. Along with the profound contraction you’ll really feel in your chest, you must really feel pressure in your higher again and lats, which preserve your shoulder blades pulled collectively (retracted) and preserve your elbows tucked towards your sides.
Step 4 — Decrease with out Separating
Decrease to the middle of your chest utilizing the identical arm path because the upward motion section. Deal with protecting the dumbbells firmly squeezed collectively all through the reducing section, which can really feel barely unnatural at first, because the reducing section of most workouts emphasizes a muscle stretch.
Type Tip: Take into consideration “rowing” or actively pulling the dumbbells again your chest. “Rowing” the weights again to the beginning place reinforces pressure in your higher again and eliminates the necessity to reset your arch earlier than the following repletion.
Dodge these frequent errors for cleaner approach and more practical hex presses.
Shedding The “Squeeze” Between Dumbbells
The strain exerted between the dumbbells is a part of the particular sauce that makes the hex press efficient — and further spicy. It promotes muscular engagement in components of the chest which may not in any other case be as energetic.
On the backside place of the train, the lifter’s elbows are bent, and shoulder inner rotation pressure is required to maintain the dumbbells collectively. Towards the highest place, arms are straighter, and shoulder horizontal adduction pressure is required to maintain the dumbbells collectively. Though it could get tougher to maintain the squeeze on the high and backside of the motion, agency strain between the dumbbells should be maintained all through.
Dropping Your Chest, Liberating Your Shoulder Blades, or Flaring Your Elbows
Lack of pressure within the again permits the chest to drop, shoulder blades to unfold, and higher arms to float away from the lifter’s sides. These three errors are inclined to happen collectively, they usually could make the hex press much less efficient.
When you really feel any of those faults, reset by arching your backbone, retracting your shoulder blades (and pinning them to the bench), and tucking your elbows towards your ribcage. Now, preserve this pressure and end.
Non-Perpendicular Stress Between Dumbbells
When squeezing the dumbbells collectively, it’s important to take care of opposing forces from the left and proper arm which can be horizontally aligned and practically equal in magnitude. In any other case, dumbbells might slip or roll aside, resulting in lack of pressure, missed reps, or worse.
Get the texture of making the squeeze utilizing mild dumbbells throughout your “work up” units and concentrate on sustaining even, regular strain all through the exercise.
When first performing the hex press, begin with comparatively mild dumbbells to hone approach. When you’re snug with the train, a “working weight” 20 to 30% decrease than what you’d usually use for a conventional dumbbell bench press will possible be applicable. From there, lifters have a number of nice choices for progressing the hex press.
The only solution to progress the hex press is to use extra inward strain to the dumbbells. Rising the “squeeze” makes the train harder and boosts the coaching stimulus skilled by the chest and shoulder muscular tissues.
Squeezing tougher in the course of the hex press could make nearly any weight tougher, however this development methodology isn’t more likely to stimulate triceps progress or carry over to heavy urgent as effectively as growing the load.
When you’re capable of hit or surpass your repetition goal on the ultimate working set, it could be time to make use of heavier dumbbells. Ideally, leaping as much as the following pair of dumbbells on the rack will drop you again towards the underside of your goal repetition vary.
Improve Repetition Quantity
As you get stronger with the hex press, take into account performing extra repetitions per set. For instance, for those who usually carry out eight to 12 repetitions, and also you’re constantly hitting 12 reps with extra left within the tank, change your goal to 12 to 16 repetition units. Shifting the repetition vary upward helps to make sure difficult units and ongoing muscle acquire.
The hex press biases your chest whereas requiring solely mild to reasonable weights and minimal shoulder extension. Altogether, the hex press might present new chest progress and a extra shoulder-friendly urgent expertise.
Strong Chest Coaching
Carried out correctly, the hex press allows maximal or near-maximal chest contraction all through each repetition — a feat not attainable throughout conventional presses. Right here’s why:
Conventional workouts are restricted by the quantity of resistance our muscular tissues can overcome in the course of the sticking level, or essentially the most difficult portion of the motion. For presses, the sticking level happens towards the start of the upward motion section. (2) Through the the rest of the motion, your muscular tissues will not be maximally challenged. Through the hex press, you may guarantee your muscular tissues are adequately stimulated by squeezing the weights collectively as arduous as you need.
Not feeling adequately challenged? Merely squeeze the dumbbells collectively tougher to demand extra pressure from the chest. Furthermore, squeezing as you press nearly ensures thorough engagement of pectoralis main — Learn extra within the “Muscle tissue Labored” part beneath.
Reinforces Thoughts-Muscle Connection and Urgent Approach
Horizontal urgent workouts, such because the bench press and dumbbell bench press, are a mainstay for power coaching and physique improvement. A number of technical components are frequent throughout all bench-supported horizontal urgent workouts, together with the necessity for shoulder blade retraction and co-contraction of muscular tissues across the shoulder joints. Additionally fascinating is the feeling of muscular effort from the chest. Lifters spend months, even years, honing their type to enhance effectivity and effectiveness.
Luckily, the hex press might help lifters to construct power, approach, and a mind-muscle connection that may reinforce correct efficiency of different horizontal presses. Through the hex press, squeezing the dumbbells collectively creates the sensation of peak pectoralis main contraction all through the urgent motion. This sensation of “flexing the pecs” might help to boost the mind-muscle connection, which can be conducive to better beneficial properties. (3)
Squeezing the dumbbells collectively additionally encourages better involvement of your rhomboids and center trapezius, as they have to counteract forces from pectoralis main, subscapularis, serratus anterior, and different muscular tissues on the entrance of the torso. Rhomboids and center traps are the muscular tissues primarily liable for sustaining retraction of the shoulder blades. Elevated demand in the course of the hex press might encourage lifters to create a tighter setup for bench-supported horizontal urgent.
People with sure shoulder issues, similar to shoulder instability, might not tolerate conventional urgent. (4)(5) People who current with apprehension and ache within the entrance of the shoulder when the arm is introduced out and prolonged behind the physique might have a particular sort of instability known as anterior instability. (4)(6) This drawback is frequent amongst lifters. One small research reported over two-thirds of leisure resistance trainees confirmed indicators and signs of anterior instability. (6)
In contrast to the fundamental dumbbell bench press or barbell bench press, the hex press limits shoulder extension on the backside of the motion. Your arms can not journey behind your physique, as a result of the dumbbells will not be allowed to clear the chest. This function could also be higher tolerated by lifters with practical anterior instability.
As a result of each model of shoulder ache is completely different, these struggling with shoulder points ought to search a professional sports activities drugs supplier — and the hex press is likely to be price discussing, as it could current a chance to coach round or practice via sure shoulder points with the suitable steering.
As a neutral-grip urgent motion, the hex press trains the muscular tissues that flex your shoulders and prolong your elbows. Squeezing the dumbbells collectively additionally trains the muscular tissues of shoulder horizontal adduction (i.e. these educated throughout a chest flye) and the muscular tissues of shoulder inner rotation. Listed here are the foremost gamers.
You’ll really feel the hex press most profoundly in pectoralis main, the most important, most superficial muscular tissues of your chest. The pectoralis main has two main components — the clavicular head, or higher chest, and the sternocostal head, which composes the center to decrease a part of the chest. Every half contributes to numerous shoulder actions and the hex press covers nearly all bases for coaching your pectoralis main.
Shoulder flexion is resisted in the course of the urgent motion of the hex press. The clavicular head of pectoralis main is educated throughout resisted shoulder flexion. (7) Shoulder horizontal adduction is educated by squeezing the dumbbells collectively towards the highest of the hex press.
Each heads of the pectoralis main are educated throughout shoulder horizontal adduction, together with a handful of various muscular tissues. (7)(8) Shoulder inner rotation is educated when the dumbbells are squeezed collectively towards the underside of the hex press. Once more, each heads are educated throughout inner rotation train, albeit the sternocostal head is probably going biased. (9)
The deltoid is the “cap” of muscle surrounding the entrance, again, and aspect of your shoulder. It’s divided into three practical components, every with completely different actions — anterior, center, and posterior. The anterior deltoid, or entrance delts, flex the shoulder and help with squeezing the dumbbells collectively in the course of the hex press. (7) Whereas typical urgent workouts hit this a part of the delt, the additional squeeze of the hex press makes this train more practical for anterior deltoid improvement.
The hex press trains your triceps brachii, the three-headed muscle on the bottom of your arms. Along with filling your sleeves, the triceps brachii helps enhance your bench press numbers by enhancing lockout power. For a fantastic triceps pump, strive three or 4 units of hex press with light-to-moderate weight dumbbells for high-repetition units with 60 seconds relaxation between every set.
Though conventional urgent largely trains muscular tissues on the entrance of your chest and shoulders, the motion additionally prompts necessary muscular tissues situated deep behind the shoulders— the posterior rotator cuff. (10) The posterior rotator cuff serves a stabilizing operate in the course of the press.
By actively squeezing the dumbbells collectively, significantly in the course of the backside half of the hex press, the deep muscle on the entrance of the shoulder, or anterior rotator cuff, is engaged. Therefore, the hex press seems to be uniquely suited to coach each the posterior and anterior rotator cuff muscular tissues.
The hex press might be programmed in a wide range of methods on push day, throughout a particular chest workout, or throughout a full physique exercise. Hex presses can construct muscle and power. As well as, they prime your chest and shoulders for heavy work and work properly for intensification strategies.
As a Low-to-Reasonable Weight, Excessive-Repetition Chest Builder
Whether or not coaching for constructing muscle (i.e. “hypertrophy”) or power, excessive effort units — these carried as much as or close to muscular failure — are efficient even comparatively with mild weight. (11)(12)(13)
Choose light-to-moderate weight dumbbells (e.g. 40 to 70% of what you’d use for the standard dumbbell bench press). Then, take every working set to inside two or three repetitions of failure. Two to 4 units of eight or extra repetitions will promote power and measurement, supplied units are carried out with excessive ranges of effort.
As a Light-weight Activation Train
Do you or somebody you realize undergo from the lack to really feel the chest working throughout presses? Don’t despair. The hex press is likely to be the repair.
Merely carry out one to a few mild units of hex presses earlier than your major press of the day (i.e. earlier than the bench press, incline press, and so on.). Deal with the “squeeze” in the course of the hex press. Then, like an overfilled shaker bottle, the mind-muscle connection to your pecs will spill over to your major urgent motion.
Maximally squeezing the dumbbells collectively throughout a set of hex urgent might improve energy output throughout a subsequent set of presses by way of a phenomenon known as post-activation potentiation. (14) This impact could also be particularly interesting for athletes and lifters coaching to be extra athletic.
As A part of a Big Set
An enormous set is an intensification approach consisting of 4 or extra workouts in sequence with out relaxation between. Like supersets, the workouts used big units can goal non-competing muscle teams or an identical muscular tissues.
When all 4 workouts within the big set goal the identical muscular tissues, they’ve been proven to supply comparable hypertrophy to supersets and conventional units that used 90 second relaxation intervals. (15) However right here’s the kicker — big units take much less time than supersets and conventional units.
The hex press requires easy gear, minimal setup, and compliments many various big set configurations. Right here’s a pattern big set:
- Dumbbell Bench Press — 3-4 x 12
- Dumbbell Pullover — 3-4 x 12
- Dumbbell Flye — 3-4 x 12
- Hex Press — 3-4 x 12
Take no relaxation between particular person workouts. Change dumbbells if needed and instantly start the following elevate. Relaxation 60-90 seconds between big units.
On the lookout for different efficient and shoulder-friendly methods to coach the chest? Relying in your preferences and out there gear, you may select one of many following variations:
Single-Arm Dumbbell Ground Press
The dumbbell flooring press generally is a nice train for studying and coaching horizontal urgent actions. In comparison with the fundamental dumbbell bench press, the ground press limits shoulder extension, because the higher arms shall be stopped by the bottom. The shoulder extension vary of movement of the ground press is much like the hex press, that means it’s more likely to decrease stress on the entrance of the shoulder, as mentioned within the Advantages part, above.
One main downside of the dumbbell flooring press, nevertheless, is that it’s often restricted to mild dumbbells as a consequence of troublesome setup. Performing the ground press one arm at a time (“unilaterally”) helps to attenuate this drawback.
Carry out the single-arm dumbbell flooring press mendacity in your again, both along with your toes flat on the ground or your legs prolonged out in entrance of you. Start the press with a single dumbbell held together with your chest and your higher arm resting on the ground. Preserve your shoulder blades pinned to the ground as you drive the dumbbell towards the ceiling and decrease with management.
Incline Hex Press
Restricted analysis suggests the incline bench press might present better beneficial properties in higher chest, or clavicular head pectoralis main, muscle thickness in comparison with the flat bench press. (8)(16)
Though we should be cautious extrapolating these findings to the hex press, lifters wishing to construct their higher chest may take into account the incline model of the train. The incline hex press is carried out similar to the hex press, besides an incline bench or adjustable bench set to roughly 45-degrees is used.
Hex Press to Flye Press Combo
A possible shortcoming of the hex press is the lack to show the chest to coaching at lengthy muscle lengths (e.g. “beneath stretch”). Enter the flye press. The normal flye press entails urgent to lockout after which permitting the dumbbells to unfold aside in a “flye-like” movement in the course of the downward motion section, thereby coaching pectoralis main at lengthy muscle lengths in the course of the eccentric (reducing section).
For the hex press to flye press combo, get the advantages of the “squeeze” by performing the upward motion section like a hex press and reducing the weights like a flye. Remember to use lighter dumbbells than ordinary for this motion, because the eccentric flye is extraordinarily difficult.
Medication Ball Push-up
Whereas this closing variation isn’t a dumbbell press in any respect, push-up variations are criminally underrated. They are often accomplished practically anyplace. Higher but, push-ups improve power and muscle mass equally to the bench press. (17)
Performing push-ups along with your palms on both aspect of a medication ball requires isometric horizontal adduction of the shoulders much like the hex press, whereas coaching via an identical urgent vary of movement. Strive the drugs ball squeeze push-up as a hex press various when dumbbells are scarce, once you wish to change-up within the really feel of your chest coaching, or when conventional push-ups grow to be too straightforward.
In bodybuilding communicate, the “inside chest” refers back to the fibers of pectoralis main that connect to the sternum. Particularly, these focused on constructing their inside chest are possible most involved with the proximal or most central parts of these fibers.
Anybody who performs the hex press correctly will inform you they really feel a robust contraction of this portion of the pectoralis main. Though no research have straight examined the hex press, not to mention measured its long-term results on chest muscle thickness, there’s a case to be made for its use as an inner-chest builder.
Slim-grip urgent tends to indicate decrease muscular exercise of the sternal a part of pectoralis main in comparison with conventional or wide-grip urgent. (18) Though the arm path of the hex press resembles a narrow-grip or close-grip press, hex urgent entails the extra process of protecting the dumbbells squeezed collectively.
Subsequently, it’s secure to imagine the “squeeze” enhances sternal pectoralis main contraction, a feat lifters could also be unable to perform in the course of the conventional bench press. (19)
Though metallic or rubber hexagonal-shaped dumbbells are frequent, many gyms have spherical or “professional type” dumbbells. The hex press can be carried out with spherical dumbbells, as demonstrated within the video at the start of the article.
Nonetheless, it is more difficult. Spherical dumbbells demand extra exact utility of inward strain to keep away from motion between the dumbbells.
That’s an choice. Each workouts practice pectoralis main, anterior deltoid, and firm. However pec flyes are a single-joint train and fail to hit the triceps brachii, which does obtain a coaching stimulus in the course of the hex press.
Machine pec flyes and cable crossovers may also be extra taxing on the shoulders, particularly amongst lifters with practical anterior instability from a earlier harm or cumulative trauma. This pathology is mentioned intimately within the Advantages part.
The radius of the dumbbells provides the impact of a board press, which limits urgent vary of movement. Particularly, shoulder extension is proscribed. People with sure shoulder accidents, similar to practical anterior instability, might not tolerate loaded shoulder extension. Therefore, the hex press could also be an appropriate choice.
Diving deeper, practical anterior instability is considered associated to decreased exercise of subscapularis — a muscle of the rotator cuff. (4) Squeezing the dumbbells collectively on the backside of the hex press elicits sturdy contraction of the subscapularis. This function may enhance tolerance to train or assist tackle subscapularis insufficiency.
Usually, hex urgent tends to be higher tolerated than pec flyes and conventional bench press variations by these with banged up shoulders. Once more, go see a professional sports activities drugs practitioner for those who’re coping with a shoulder harm.
Construct a Magnum Chest with the Champagne Press
The hex press is carried out by aggressively squeezing dumbbells collectively all through a neutral-grip dumbbell bench press. The squeeze engages better parts of your pecs, which can result in accelerated chest beneficial properties. The hex press additionally reinforces necessary components of urgent approach, spares sore shoulders from loaded hyperextension, and creates co-contraction conducive to joint stability. Savor the squeeze and have a good time the hex press.
- Haff, G. G., & Triplett, N. T. (Eds.). (2015). Necessities of Energy Coaching and Conditioning 4th ed. Human Kinetics. Champagne, IL, USA. 351-408.
- Kompf, J., & Arandjelović, O. (2017). The sticking level within the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift: Similarities and variations, and their significance for analysis and apply. Sports activities Medication, 47, 631-640.
- Schoenfeld, B. J., et al. (2018). Differential results of attentional focus methods throughout long-term resistance coaching. European Journal of Sport Science, 18(5), 705-712.
- Moroder, P., et al. (2020). Traits of practical shoulder instability. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgical procedure, 29(1), 68-78.
- Kolber, M. J., et al. (2010). Shoulder accidents attributed to resistance coaching: a short overview. The Journal of Energy & Conditioning Analysis, 24(6), 1696-1704.
- Kolber, M. J., Corrao, M., & Hanney, W. J. (2013). Traits of anterior shoulder instability and hyperlaxity within the weight-training inhabitants. The Journal of Energy & Conditioning Analysis, 27(5), 1333-1339.
- Ackland, D. C., et al. (2008). Second arms of the muscular tissues crossing the anatomical shoulder. Journal of Anatomy, 213(4), 383-390.
- dos Santos Albarello, et al. (2022). Non-uniform excitation of pectoralis main induced by adjustments in bench press inclination results in uneven variations within the cross-sectional space measured by panoramic ultrasonography. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 67, 102722
- Ackland, D. C., & Pandy, M. G. (2011). Second arms of the shoulder muscular tissues throughout axial rotation. Journal of Orthopaedic Analysis, 29(5), 658-667.
- Wattanaprakornkul, D., et al. (2011). Course-specific recruitment of rotator cuff muscular tissues throughout bench press and row. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 21(6), 1041-1049.
- Schoenfeld, B., et al. (2021). Resistance coaching suggestions to maximise muscle hypertrophy in an athletic inhabitants: Place stand of the IUSCA. Worldwide Journal of Energy and Conditioning, 1(1), 1-30.
- Lasevicius, T., et al. (2018). Results of various intensities of resistance coaching with equated quantity load on muscle power and hypertrophy. European Journal of Sport Science, 18(6), 772-780
- Weakley, J., et al. (2023). Physiological Responses and Diversifications to Decrease Load Resistance Coaching: Implications for Well being and Efficiency. Sports activities Medication-Open, 9(1), 1-10.
- Esformes, J. I., et al. (2011). Impact of several types of conditioning contraction on higher physique postactivation potentiation. The Journal of Energy & Conditioning Analysis, 25(1), 143-148.
- Demirtaş, B., et al. (2022). The impact of three completely different units methodology utilized in resistance coaching on hypertrophy and maximal power adjustments. Bodily Schooling of College students, 26(6), 270-279.
- Chaves, S. F., et al. (2020). Results of horizontal and incline bench press on neuromuscular diversifications in untrained younger males. Worldwide Journal of Train Science, 13(6), 859.
- Kikuchi, N., & Nakazato, Okay. (2017). Low-load bench press and push-up induce comparable muscle hypertrophy and power acquire. Journal of Train Science & Health, 15(1), 37-42.
- López-Vivancos, A., et al. (2023). Electromyographic Exercise of the Pectoralis Main Muscle throughout Conventional Bench Press and Different Variants of Pectoral Workouts: A Systematic Evaluation and Meta-Evaluation. Utilized Sciences, 13(8), 5203.
- Paoli, A., et al. (2019). Thoughts-muscle connection: results of verbal directions on muscle exercise throughout bench press train. European Journal of Translational Myology, 29(2).
Featured Picture: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock