The Hex Press: What is It and How To Do It

The Hex Press: What is It and How To Do It

At some point, every one of us will feel the need to switch up our workout routine. If you’re anything like me, I tend to get bored of the same workouts pretty quickly.

I actually change up my program every 1-2 months just to keep myself engaged.

This is especially true when it comes to my chest workouts. Do you feel the same way?

When it comes to chest exercises … we all know the typical bench press, dips, chest presses, and flys. Outside of that though, it can be hard to think of good exercises to switch things up.

That's why the hex press, also known as the dumbbell hex press, has become a staple for my chest days and push days. If you’re not sure what a hex press is, keep reading...

What is a Hex Press?

So, what exactly is a hex press? Well, it’s an upper-body pushing movement that is similar to a dumbbell chest press.

In a dumbbell hex press though, the dumbbells are held together throughout the entire movement. You’ll see what I mean by this in a second.

It’s a great exercise that you can do to improve strength, muscle growth, and even mobility.

Plus, with hex pressing comes a wide range of benefits. Let’s take a look at those benefits and dive into what a hex press looks like.

What Muscles Does the Hex Press Work?

I’m sure you may be wondering, “What muscles does a hex press work?” Quite a few! However, the main muscles at work are your pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoid, and triceps.

In simple terms, these are the muscles of your chest, your shoulders, and the back of your arms.

In fact, I like the hex press a lot because you get a lot more work in your triceps than you would with a traditional chest press. On top of that, it can also be a great alternative to most pressing exercises because it keeps your shoulders in a more neutral position.

So, if you’re somebody who avoids the bench press or chest press because of your shoulders … the hex press could definitely be worth a try.

How to Hex Press

As I mentioned earlier, the dumbbell hex press is very similar to a chest press. In a way, it’s a lot like a close-grip bench press too.

For the hex press, you don’t need a fancy hex bar or anything like that. All you need is a bench and a pair of dumbbells.

Start by sitting toward the edge of a flat bench with your feet planted flat on the floor. From here, grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand to rest on your knees as you prepare for the exercise.

Kick the dumbbells up with your knees and hold them at your chest as you slowly lower your upper body onto the bench. Forcibly press the dumbbells together at your chest and keep your elbows tucked close to your body.

Once you’re in this position, use your chest, triceps, and front deltoids to push the dumbbells above your chest. Fully extend your arms and keep the dumbbells pressed together the whole time.

When you’ve pressed the dumbbells out as far as you can, pause for a second before slowly bringing them back to your chest. This is one rep.

Make sure you keep your core tight and feet planted on the floor throughout this entire movement as well.

…and that’s how you do a hex press! But what are the specific advantages to the hex press?

Benefits of the Hex Press

The hex press can be a great exercise to add in for anybody who is looking to shape their chest and triceps or switch things up. Even though not everyone’s number one option on chest day, it still has a lot of benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits you can get from a hex press...

Hex Presses Can Alleviate Stress On The Shoulders

The neutral grip that is used for this movement allows a majority of the tension to be put into your muscles instead of your shoulder joint. The limited rotation of the dumbbell plays a role in this as well.

So, if you feel any shoulder discomfort when you bench press or chest press … the hex press could be a great alternative for you.

Hex Presses Give You Greater Tricep Activation

With more of the tension taken off your shoulders, more of the weight is distributed to your triceps. This is mainly due to the closer grip and your elbows being glued to either side of your body.

As you push the weight over your chest, your triceps are much more involved than they would be in a normal chest press. So, if you’re looking for bigger and stronger triceps … the hex press can help accomplish this.

Hex Presses Don’t Require Much Equipment

Another great thing about hex presses is that they require very minimal equipment. All you really need is a pair of dumbbells and a bench. Heck, even if you don’t have a bench, you can also do them on the floor as a slight variation.

This makes hex presses great no matter where you’re at.

Hex Press Variations

Incorporating variations into your workout routine is crucial for keeping things fresh and challenging. Here, we'll explore two variations of the hex press… the Incline Hex Press and the Cable Hex Press.

Incline Hex Press

For those aiming to target the upper chest, the Incline Hex Press is an excellent choice. Begin by adjusting an incline bench to a low angle, typically between 15 to 30 degrees.

Situate yourself on the bench with feet planted firmly on the floor. Grasp a pair of dumbbells at chest level, ensuring your palms face inward. Press the dumbbells together, maintaining a tight core and elbows close to your body.

Slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest, feeling the stretch in your upper chest. Then, press the dumbbells back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Focus on stability throughout the hex press movement by engaging your core muscles.

Cable Hex Press

Utilizing a cable station adds a new dimension to the hex press…

Set the cable pulleys to chest height and attach D-handles. Stand between the pulleys and grasp a handle in each hand with a neutral grip. Take a step forward, adopting a staggered stance for stability. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.

Engage your core and push the handles forward until your arms are fully extended. Pause briefly at the end of the movement, emphasizing the contraction in your chest muscles. Slowly reverse the motion, controlling the handles back to the starting position.

Incorporating these hex press variations into your chest routine adds diversity and challenges your muscles in unique ways. Remember to adjust the weight and repetitions according to your fitness level and objectives.

One Last Thing You Should Know About The Hex Press

The hex press is a movement unlike any other. It’s a great exercise to add to your chest day, push day, or any upper body day.

It can also be quite beneficial for adding muscle size and strength, as well as relieving some tension from your shoulders.

Just know that adding hex presses to your weightlifting regimen won’t be the game changer you’re looking for. In fact, no single exercise will be.

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The Hex Press: What is It and How To Do It