The flat hammer press is a compound upper body exercise that requires heavy support hence requires you to lie on a bench.
It is done on a bench simply as a coping mechanism to deal with excessive amounts of stress on the shoulders.
To do this exercise:
- Lay flat on a hammer strength bench.
- Grab hold of the dumbbells and grasp the handles with your hands spaced at around shoulder width
- Keeping your shoulders back and chest up, press the handles straight up driving through your chest and straightening your arms.
- Squeeze your chest at the top of each rep and avoid locking your elbows.
- Lower the handles slowly in a controlled fashion. That should complete a rep
WHAT MUSCLES DO THE FLAT HAMMER PRESS WORK?
Biceps are engaged when you straighten your arms in order to complete a rep.
The primary role of the biceps while doing the flat hammer press is to hold the weights and allow for strain.
The triceps are primarily engaged when lowering the weights and at the starting position of the exercise.
Triceps are therefore engaged when you need to thrust weights upward and in order to regulate momentum while lowering the weights.
The chest is mostly made up of the pectoralis muscle which facilitates the coordination of the arm and shoulder.
They are often engaged when lifting and holding the weights up during a rep.
Therefore when you do the flat hammer press and raise the weights, the shoulder and pectorals work together to hold and hoist the weight distributed to the chest
FLAT HAMMER PRESS BENEFITS
UNIFORMLY CONDITIONS YOUR BODY
As mentioned above, the flat hammer press engages a multitude of muscles at the same time.
Therefore, with every rep you uniformly work various parts of your upper body. In the long run this ensures that the engaged areas of your upper body have uniform levels of fitness
BUILDS UPPER BODY STRENGTH
The amount of work and strain that the engaged areas go through forces them to adapt.
Adaptation in this case comes in the form of broken down and rebuilt muscle tissues. This is primarily what happens when doing the flat hammer press.
Consequently, a strong upper body positively translates to day-to-day activities. This includes it being easier to push heavy loads, it also improves your athletic ability.
All forms of physical exercise do burn a certain level of calories within the body.
That said, excess fat is often deposited in various parts of the body with varying levels of difficulty when it comes to shedding.
One of the more difficult areas include the fat around your tricep region. However, the flat hammer press is effective in shedding calories within this specific region
ALTERNATIVES TO THE FLAT HAMMER PRESS
INCLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
The incline dumbbell bench press mostly works the triceps and shoulders. To do this exercise:
- Set your bench at a 30-degree incline
- Hold the dumbbells in each hand and rest them on your knees as you lean back
- Now, lift the dumbbells up to shoulder level with your elbows bent
- Start the movement by bracing your core and pressing the dumbbells upwards
- Keep your wrists stationary as you push the dumbbells over your chest
- The dumbbells should almost touch at the top of the movement
- Bring the dumbbells back down slowly to starting position
- As you lower the dumbbells, ensure your elbows do not flare out to the sides
PEC DECK MACHINE
As the name suggests, this is an exercise that targets the pectorals. In order to do the exercise:
- Sit down in the pec deck machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back against the padded rest.
- Place your hands on the handles and the posterior side of your arm on the pads or the “wings” of the machine.
- Your elbows should be at about a 90-degree angle.
- Engage your core and bring your arms together to the centre of your body.
- Slowly reverse the movement, allowing your arms to return to the start with control.
Hammer curls largely work the biceps and can therefore substitute the bicep work done by the flat hammer press
- Stand with your legs straight and knees aligned under the hips
- Your arms should be by your side with a dumbbell in each hand. You should also ensure that the weights are resting on your thigh
- Pull the weights toward the shoulders bending your elbows in the process
- Your upper arms should be stationary and the wrists in line with the forearms.
- Hold for one second at the top of the movement. Your thumbs will be close to the shoulders and palms facing in, toward the midline of the body.
- Lower the weights to return to the starting position.
DUMBBELL FRONT RAISE
- Stand straight with your legs spread shoulder-width in a standing position with your back neutral
- Grab the dumbbells with your palms facing towards you.
- Contract your front deltoids to raise the dumbbells in front of you, right up until they get just above forehead level.
- Pause for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
A neutral neck is crucial if you want to walk away from doing the flat hammer press unscathed.
Just like every other exercise, when the flat hammer press is done wrong, there are implications.
Due to the nature of the exercise’s movements, your neck should be in a neutral position. An inclined neck directs excessive amounts of pressure towards the spine which could lead to back injuries
The shoulders play a pivotal role while doing the flat hammer press. As such, your shoulder position is key to correct form.
While doing the flat hammer press, your shoulders are expected to be pushed back and down.
This is because it creates a base-like platform that will consequently add stability to your reps.
DON’T LOCK YOUR ELBOWS
In order to efficiently complete each rep while doing the flat hammer press, your elbows should remain slightly bent when performing the exercise.
A slightly bent elbow allows for flexion while extending your arms above your head.
The flat hammer press is a delicate exercise which often requires specificity.Therefore, in order to achieve your fitness goals and avoid injury you should follow the guidelines given above.
If you do this, there are bound to be plenty of benefits to reap, including in your day-to-day life.