The incline hex press is one of those exercises people tend to forget when curating a chest workout routine.
Most people go for other alternatives like the flat bench chest press, but this gem right here deserves more recognition than it gets.
There are many reasons why you should consider giving the incline hex press a go, but how about we start with how to do it first?
Required equipment: Workout bench, two dumbbells
How to do it:
- Set the bench to an incline so that you target the upper chest muscles more.
- Press your back firmly onto the bench.
- Grab two dumbbells, one in each hand and press them together. (Hexagonal-shaped dumbbells are better since they are easier to press together.)
- Use a neutral grip to grasp them.
- As you press the dumbbells, your arms should be fully extended.
- Slowly and with control, lower the weights as you keep them pressed together until they reach your chest.
- Then, press them back upwards. That’s a complete rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE INCLINE HEX PRESS WORK?
While the traditional bench press targets the whole of your chest, the incline hex press specifically targets the pectorals (pecs) in your upper chest.
This is because it makes you apply an inward force using your arms to keep the dumbbells pressed together.
Your pectoralis major benefits most from the inclined position in which you work your muscles during this exercise.
It also works the anterior deltoids on your shoulders and the triceps brachii on your arms.
INCLINE HEX PRESS BENEFITS
PREVENTS SHOULDER PAIN
Most lifters, especially those who use the traditional bench press for chest training, suffer from shoulder pain which is caused by external rotation of the shoulders.
The incline hex press works by forcing your shoulders, scapular and humeral stabilizers to rotate internally, which in turn makes the head of the humerus translate posteriorly and train your muscles effectively without hurting your shoulders.
MORE CHEST ACTIVATION
This movement puts more pressure on your chest than the traditional bench press. This means it demands more tension and pushing power from the muscle fibers of your chest muscles.
Ultimately, this leads to greater muscle hypertrophy and increased overall muscle strength.
EASY TO DO
The incline hex press is a simple exercise that shouldn’t take you long to master.
You may need to master a few alien elements like the isometric control of the dumbbells but that’s just about it.
Everything else will not be hard to master.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE INCLINE HEX PRESS
INCLINE TATE PRESS
This advanced press variation is a great substitute as it targets your chest and triceps, which the incline hex press also targets.
How to do it:
- Lay on an incline bench, holding two dumbbells at full extension with an overhand grip. Make sure your palms are facing your feet.
- Plant your feet on the ground and tighten your core, and then slowly draw the dumbbells towards your chest, allowing both elbows to bend. Keep your arm as still as possible.
- When the top part of the dumbbells touch your chest, pause for a few seconds.
- Reverse the motion until you get back to full extension. That’s a complete rep.
Note that you should maintain slow and controlled motions during both the eccentric and concentric phases of this movement.
The incline tate press pairs well with the hex press in a superset as they work the same muscles and require the same equipment.
DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS
For this exercise, you can use a bench or lie on the floor.
Your shoulders and chest are the main movers in this exercise, but it also engages your back, biceps and triceps.
If you want to properly target your upper chest, you should do this exercise on an incline.
How to do it:
- Set your bench to an incline and lie on it, holding two dumbbells in each hand with an overhand grip.
- Extend your arms outward fully, with your knuckles facing upward and your palms facing your feet.
- Engage your lats, tighten your core and lower the dumbbells slowly to your chest. Your elbows should be tucked during this motion.
- Pause for a few seconds when you get to chest level, squeeze your muscles and press the dumbbells up to full extension for a complete rep.
Don’t bump the dumbbells together when you get to the top of the movement; this takes some of the tension from your target muscles, making the movement less effective.
INCLINE HEX PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID
USING TOO MUCH WEIGHT
You might be tempted to use heavier weights than you should in this exercise but you should always remember than this will recruit other muscle groups, hence shifting the focus elsewhere.
NOT JOINING THE DUMBBELLS TOGETHER
At all points while performing this exercise, you should keep the dumbbells pressed together. This will focus all the tension into using your chest muscles to press the weights.
The joining lanes of the dumbbells should be on the same vertical line with the center line of your chest to give your muscles more definition.
NOT BREATHING ENOUGH
Whenever you are doing any intense exercise, there’s always the temptation to hold your breath. This is a huge yet common mistake.
Your muscles need as much oxygen as you can take in, so make sure you keep breathing in and out to achieve maximum activation.
FAILING TO WARM UP
With the incline hex press, just like any other press, you need to warm up your muscles sufficiently so that you activate them enough to make sure they are fully engaged as you exercise.
Most people prefer to work the chest using the traditional press but what they don’t know is that it may fail to work some parts of the chest, such as the upper pectorals, properly.
The incline hex press not only works your upper pecs but also protects your shoulder joints by making your shoulders rotate internally rather than exteriorly like most other presses.
Why don’t you go ahead and add it to your routine today to enjoy these wonderful benefits!