Hex Press Exercise Guide

Table Of Content

The dumbbell hex press is an often overlooked, but effective exercise for strengthening and developing the chest muscles, particularly the inner chest area. In comparison to the dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press exercises, the hex press specifically targets the inner chest area.

The hex press works the pectoralis major – like any chest press, while also recruiting the triceps, anterior deltoids, and lateral deltoids to build strength, muscle mass, and better muscle definition and separation. With proper instruction on how to correctly execute the hex press, individuals can develop a bigger and more solid chest while reducing their risk of injury.

What Is A Hex Press?

The dumbbell hex press is an exercise variation of the popular bench press that requires more strain and tension on the chest area, making it a great way to increase muscle growth and strength in the pectoral area – your pectoral muscle fibers.

The hex press exercise is also known as Squeeze Press, Coffin Press, Crush Press, or Close Grip Press.

Ideally, it is performed with two hexagonal shaped dumbbells remaining in contact, hence its name; hex press. To do the exercise, start by grabbing both dumbbells with a neutral grip and lie down on the bench.

Then, place the weights in contact with each other on your chest before lifting them horizontally to your shoulders. Afterward, press the dumbbells back to your chest and repeat until a set is completed.

Hex Press Muscles Worked

The Hex Press is a great exercise to target the chest muscles. Primarily focusing on the pectoralis major. Secondarily, this exercise also works the anterior and lateral deltoids, as well as the triceps.

By performing this exercise regularly, one can strengthen these muscle groups significantly.

Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis major muscle is a large, fan-shaped muscle located in the chest and it plays an important role when performing the hex press. This exercise requires both dumbbells to remain in contact with each other throughout the entire movement – this is achieved through adduction and rotation of the arm forward by the pectoralis major.

This muscle allows for and maintains contact between the weights by adducting the arms as it is lifted and lowered during this exercise.

Anterior Deltoid And Lateral Deltoid

The deltoid muscle is one of the most important muscles in the body when it comes to arm movements, consisting of three distinct parts: anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, and posterior deltoid.

The primary action of the deltoid muscle is to abduct and lift the arm front, side, and backward. This muscle is responsible for lifting the arms forward from the body during the hex press exercise, aiding in shoulder movement and strength.

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii is a powerful muscle located at the back of the arm that serves the essential function of elbow extension. It is composed of three heads: the long head, medial head, and lateral head.

During exercises such as hex presses, this muscle contracts concentrically to lift the weight off the chest, and eccentrically to bring it back down in a controlled manner. It plays an important role in helping to maintain proper form and prevent injury. Proper activation of this muscle can also be beneficial for strengthening the arms.

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Benefits Of The Hex Press

The hex press is an exercise that can provide numerous benefits when it comes to chest training. Not only does it provide variation to one’s routine, but it also helps target the inner chest muscles and bring about muscular and neuromuscular adaptation.

Through completing this exercise regularly, individuals can expect to see improved muscle definition and separation between the left and right pectoral muscles, as well as increased overall muscle mass.

All in all, it is an exercise that should not be ignored if one wants to reach their envisioned fitness goals.

Develops The Inner Chest

The hex press is an invaluable addition to any strength training program for those who are looking to develop the inner chest muscles. This movement specifically isolates the inner chest muscles, allowing for greater muscle definition and separation that can be difficult to achieve with traditional exercises.

Improves Triceps Tension

The Hex Press is an effective exercise for increasing muscle tension in the triceps and chest muscles. This exercise is especially beneficial for those looking to build strength in their arms without overworking the shoulders, as it helps to relieve tension from the anterior deltoids. During this exercise, the arms are fully extended while lifting and lowering weights, which forces the triceps and pecs to receive extra pressure. This increased tension in these muscles leads to greater muscle tearing and ultimately, more muscle growth.

Improvement On Contraction

The hex press is an effective exercise for toning and building the chest muscles. It works by providing more pressure to the inner chest area than other exercises, like regular chest presses. To maximize the benefits of this exercise, it’s important to keep the weights together throughout the entire move. This requires the pectoral muscles to remain actively engaged and create greater tension, resulting in enhanced muscle growth and strength.

By comparison, exercises like the bench press or flies use lighter weights, producing less tension and therefore muscle contraction. With the hex press, however, heavier weights can be used to produce greater strength gains that will help you lift even heavier weights when performing other chest exercises. This is an ideal way to add mass and definition to your chest muscles.

Improves Body Composition 

The hex press is an effective tool to help improve body composition and optimize your body. Body composition is the amount of fat, bone, and muscle mass that a person has in their body, and plays an important role in overall health.

When you increase your muscle mass, it leads to more calories being burned due to the thermogenic response, which helps to break down fat and increase lean muscle tissue. Doing the hex press can help you build more muscle, burn body fat, and increase your lean muscle mass for better overall body composition.

This will then enable you to reach your body optimization goals.

Reduced Risk Of Injury

The hex press is a great choice for those who are looking to reduce their risk of injury during weightlifting. This is because the hex press uses a neutral grip, which provides more ease and safety to lifters who may have difficulty with the mobility of their shoulders. This type of grip limits rotations of the shoulder joint, which can help avoid injuries.

Furthermore, tension and pressure are transferred away from the shoulders to other muscles such as the triceps, and chest muscles, offering further protection while lifting weights. All of these benefits make the hex press a great choice for those who are trying to reduce their risk of injury while weightlifting.

Promotes Better Breathing

The hex press is an exercise designed to focus on the pectoralis major muscles, which are attached to the ribs and play an accessory role in breathing. By working this muscle, the hex press can help promote better respiration by aiding in the movement of the ribs during inspiration and expiration.

How to Perform the Hex Press

The hex press is an excellent yet simple exercise to incorporate into any fitness routine. However, it may take a bit of practice to get used to the isometric control needed over the dumbbells as well as the slow, controlled tempo that should be kept throughout.

It is best to start with a sub-maximal weight – typically around 80% of what would normally be used. This allows you to get used to the necessary control and movements, while still providing great activation and reinforcement of the mind-muscle connection with your pectoral muscles.

Hex presses can also lead to looser elbows, shoulders, and triceps due to their range of movement, preparing you for heavier weights. Flexing at the top of each rep will help pump blood into the chest, warming up the muscles and helping your body adjust to the new demands.

To perform a dumbbell hex press:

  • Set up a bench to perform a hex press. Opt for a flat bench for full pectoral distribution or an incline if you want to target your upper chest with more intensity.
  • Grab two mid-weight dumbbells; hexagon shaped dumbbells are best as they fit together more seamlessly and comfortably. Place them on your knees, then bring them up into position above your chest while lying down.
  • Hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip (palms facing inward) and press them together to create an activated tension.
  • Press the weights up.
  • Lower the weights towards your chest under control, then press them back up to full extension.
  • Repeat for the desired rep range.

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Dumbbell Hex Press Variations

Here are two hex press variations to achieve good chest activation:

Incline Hex Press

The incline dumbbell hex press is a variation of the hex press that puts more emphasis on working the upper chest area. To execute this exercise, the bench must be inclined at an angle of 15 to 30 degrees, which is similar to a shoulder press. This movement is typically used to target the clavicular head of the pectoralis major muscle.

Smith Machine Hex Press

To perform the smith machine hex press use a V bar attachment as grips instead of the dumbbells.

Final Thoughts

The hex press is an effective, yet underutilized exercise for building and strengthening the inner chest muscles. Engaging in this movement helps to strengthen the connection between your mind and your chest muscles, which leads to increased pressing strength in the long run. It also provides an additional option to your chest workout, as it utilizes a neutral grip and inward arm force to set it apart from other chest exercises.

For best results, the hex press should be performed after other chest exercises – as this will allow you to maximize the amount of weight that can be utilized for those exercises. Even if you are sacrificing a bit of weight, be sure to maintain proper form and technique.

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