Half dumbbell bench press and half isometric dumbbell flye, the hex press is a singular 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 identify for this distinctive chest train 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 positive aspects? Discover all the pieces that you must know beneath.
Hex Press Video Information
See the hex press in motion, demonstrated by creator Dr. Merrick Lincoln. Be aware the important thing methods, then try the Step-by-Step breakdown with extra type ideas.
It could 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 if you happen to run into bother through the train. Any train involving weights passing over the physique requires a spotter. (1) A spotter is very 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
Carry your chest towards the ceiling by arching your again and pulling your shoulder blades collectively. Keep this place all through the train. With a impartial grip (palms dealing with one another), convey the dumbbells collectively simply above your sternum and squeeze them collectively exhausting.
Type Tip: For those who’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 — Keep Strain, 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 stress as you attain the highest, locked out, place.
Type Tip: Preserve stress. Along with the profound contraction you’ll really feel in your chest, you must really feel stress in your higher again and lats, which hold your shoulder blades pulled collectively (retracted) and hold 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 part. Give attention to conserving the dumbbells firmly squeezed collectively all through the reducing part, which can really feel barely unnatural at first, for the reason that reducing part 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 stress in your higher again and eliminates the necessity to reset your arch earlier than the subsequent repletion.
Dodge these widespread errors for cleaner approach and more practical hex presses.
Shedding The “Squeeze” Between Dumbbells
The stress 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 that may not in any other case be as lively.
On the backside place of the train, the lifter’s elbows are bent, and shoulder inside 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 more durable to maintain the squeeze on the prime and backside of the motion, agency stress between the dumbbells should be maintained all through.
Dropping Your Chest, Releasing Your Shoulder Blades, or Flaring Your Elbows
Lack of stress 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.
For those who 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, hold this stress and end.
Non-Perpendicular Strain Between Dumbbells
When squeezing the dumbbells collectively, it’s important to take care of opposing forces from the left and proper arm which are horizontally aligned and almost equal in magnitude. In any other case, dumbbells could slip or roll aside, resulting in lack of stress, missed reps, or worse.
Get the texture of making the squeeze utilizing gentle dumbbells throughout your “work up” units and deal with sustaining even, regular stress all through the exercise.
When first performing the hex press, begin with comparatively gentle dumbbells to hone approach. When you’re comfy with the train, a “working weight” 20 to 30% decrease than what you’d sometimes use for a conventional dumbbell bench press will probably be applicable. From there, lifters have a number of nice choices for progressing the hex press.
Squeeze More durable
The only technique to progress the hex press is to use extra inward stress to the dumbbells. Rising the “squeeze” makes the train harder and boosts the coaching stimulus skilled by the chest and shoulder muscle tissue.
Squeezing more durable through the hex press could make nearly any weight more difficult, 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 subsequent pair of dumbbells on the rack will drop you again towards the underside of your goal repetition vary.
Enhance Repetition Quantity
As you get stronger with the hex press, take into account performing extra repetitions per set. For instance, if you happen to 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 gentle to average weights and minimal shoulder extension. Altogether, the hex press could present new chest progress and a extra shoulder-friendly urgent expertise.
Strong Chest Coaching
Carried out correctly, the hex press permits maximal or near-maximal chest contraction all through each repetition — a feat not doable throughout conventional presses. Right here’s why:
Conventional workouts are restricted by the quantity of resistance our muscle tissue can overcome through the sticking level, or probably the most difficult portion of the motion. For presses, the sticking level happens towards the start of the upward motion part. (2) In the course of the the rest of the motion, your muscle tissue will not be maximally challenged. In the course of the hex press, you possibly can guarantee your muscle tissue are adequately stimulated by squeezing the weights collectively as exhausting as you want.
Not feeling adequately challenged? Merely squeeze the dumbbells collectively more durable to demand extra pressure from the chest. Furthermore, squeezing as you press nearly ensures thorough engagement of pectoralis main — Learn extra within the “Muscle mass 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 growth. A number of technical parts are widespread throughout all bench-supported horizontal urgent workouts, together with the necessity for shoulder blade retraction and co-contraction of muscle tissue 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.
Fortuitously, the hex press might help lifters to construct power, approach, and a mind-muscle connection that may reinforce correct efficiency of different horizontal presses. In the course of 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 larger positive aspects. (3)
Squeezing the dumbbells collectively additionally encourages larger involvement of your rhomboids and center trapezius, as they need to counteract forces from pectoralis main, subscapularis, serratus anterior, and different muscle tissue on the entrance of the torso. Rhomboids and center traps are the muscle tissue primarily answerable for sustaining retraction of the shoulder blades. Elevated demand through the hex press could encourage lifters to create a tighter setup for bench-supported horizontal urgent.
People with sure shoulder issues, similar to shoulder instability, could 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 could have a particular kind of instability referred to as anterior instability. (4)(6) This downside is widespread 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’t 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 purposeful 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 medication supplier — and the hex press may be price discussing, as it could current a possibility to coach round or prepare via sure shoulder points with the suitable steering.
As a neutral-grip urgent motion, the hex press trains the muscle tissue that flex your shoulders and lengthen your elbows. Squeezing the dumbbells collectively additionally trains the muscle tissue of shoulder horizontal adduction (i.e. these skilled throughout a chest flye) and the muscle tissue of shoulder inside rotation. Listed below are the most important gamers.
You’ll really feel the hex press most profoundly in pectoralis main, the most important, most superficial muscle tissue 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 through the urgent motion of the hex press. The clavicular head of pectoralis main is skilled throughout resisted shoulder flexion. (7) Shoulder horizontal adduction is skilled by squeezing the dumbbells collectively towards the highest of the hex press.
Each heads of the pectoralis main are skilled throughout shoulder horizontal adduction, together with a handful of various muscle tissue. (7)(8) Shoulder inside rotation is skilled when the dumbbells are squeezed collectively towards the underside of the hex press. Once more, each heads are skilled throughout inside rotation train, albeit the sternocostal head is probably going biased. (9)
The deltoid is the “cap” of muscle surrounding the entrance, again, and facet of your shoulder. It’s divided into three purposeful 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 through 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 growth.
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 an important triceps pump, attempt 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 muscle tissue on the entrance of your chest and shoulders, the motion additionally prompts necessary muscle tissue positioned deep behind the shoulders— the posterior rotator cuff. (10) The posterior rotator cuff serves a stabilizing perform through the press.
By actively squeezing the dumbbells collectively, significantly through 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 muscle tissue.
The hex press may be programmed in a wide range of methods on push day, throughout a particular chest exercise, 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 methods.
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 gentle 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 dimension, supplied units are carried out with excessive ranges of effort.
As a Light-weight Activation Train
Do you or somebody you recognize endure from the lack to really feel the chest working throughout presses? Don’t despair. The hex press may be the repair.
Merely carry out one to 3 gentle units of hex presses earlier than your major press of the day (i.e. earlier than the bench press, incline press, and many others.). Give attention to the “squeeze” through 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 could enhance energy output throughout a subsequent set of presses by way of a phenomenon referred to 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 Large Set
An enormous set is an intensification approach consisting of 4 or extra workouts in collection with out relaxation between. Like supersets, the workouts used large units can goal non-competing muscle teams or equivalent muscle tissue.
When all 4 workouts within the large set goal the identical muscle tissue, 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 — large units take much less time than supersets and conventional units.
The hex press requires easy gear, minimal setup, and compliments many various large set configurations. Right here’s a pattern large 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. Swap dumbbells if obligatory and instantly start the subsequent raise. Relaxation 60-90 seconds between large units.
Searching for different efficient and shoulder-friendly methods to coach the chest? Relying in your preferences and accessible gear, you may select one of many following variations:
Single-Arm Dumbbell Flooring Press
The dumbbell ground press is usually 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 might be stopped by the bottom. The shoulder extension vary of movement of the ground press is just 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 disadvantage of the dumbbell ground press, nevertheless, is that it’s normally restricted to gentle dumbbells resulting from tough setup. Performing the ground press one arm at a time (“unilaterally”) helps to reduce this downside.
Carry out the single-arm dumbbell ground press mendacity in your again, both together with your toes flat on the ground or your legs prolonged out in entrance of you. Start the press with a single dumbbell held along 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 could present larger positive aspects 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 identical 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 reveal the chest to coaching at lengthy muscle lengths (e.g. “beneath stretch”). Enter the flye press. The standard flye press entails urgent to lockout after which permitting the dumbbells to unfold aside in a “flye-like” movement through the downward motion part, thereby coaching pectoralis main at lengthy muscle lengths through the eccentric (reducing part).
For the hex press to flye press combo, get the advantages of the “squeeze” by performing the upward motion part like a hex press and reducing the weights like a flye. Remember to use lighter dumbbells than typical for this motion, because the eccentric flye is extraordinarily difficult.
Drugs Ball Push-up
Whereas this remaining variation isn’t a dumbbell press in any respect, push-up variations are criminally underrated. They are often carried out almost anyplace. Higher but, push-ups enhance power and muscle mass equally to the bench press. (17)
Performing push-ups together with your palms on both facet of a drugs ball requires isometric horizontal adduction of the shoulders just like the hex press, whereas coaching via the same urgent vary of movement. Strive the drugs ball squeeze push-up as a hex press various when dumbbells are scarce, while you need to change-up within the really feel of your chest coaching, or when conventional push-ups grow to be too straightforward.
In bodybuilding converse, the “internal chest” refers back to the fibers of pectoralis main that connect to the sternum. Particularly, these fascinated with constructing their internal chest are probably 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 immediately 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 job of conserving 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 through the conventional bench press. (19)
Though metallic or rubber hexagonal-shaped dumbbells are widespread, many gyms have spherical or “professional model” dumbbells. The hex press can be carried out with spherical dumbbells, as demonstrated within the video at the start of the article.
Nevertheless, it is tougher. Spherical dumbbells demand extra exact utility of inward stress to keep away from motion between the dumbbells.
That’s an choice. Each workouts prepare 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 through the hex press.
Machine pec flyes and cable crossovers will also be extra taxing on the shoulders, particularly amongst lifters with purposeful anterior instability from a earlier damage 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 purposeful anterior instability, could not tolerate loaded shoulder extension. Therefore, the hex press could also be an appropriate choice.
Diving deeper, purposeful 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 robust contraction of the subscapularis. This function may enhance tolerance to train or assist handle subscapularis insufficiency.
Typically, 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 medication practitioner if you happen to’re coping with a shoulder damage.
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 larger parts of your pecs, which can result in accelerated chest positive aspects. The hex press additionally reinforces necessary parts 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.
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