Hex Press vs. Landmine Press: Build Upper-Body Strength Fast

Hex Press vs. Landmine Press

Upper body pressing exercises are foundational for gym goers of all kinds. Whether you’re an avid powerlifter preparing for a competition or rehabilitating from a shoulder injury, upper body presses can help build and strengthen muscle tissue to help support physical performance.

In order to build our pushing power, we need to do more pushing! 

Hex presses and landmine presses are two great exercises that utilize all major muscles and secondary stabilizers to help strengthen our pushing potential. 

Read on as we dive into each of these exercises, give you insight into how to perform each with excellent form, and provide some of the top exercise variations to promote muscle growth and support long-term functional fitness. 

What is a Hex Press?

The hex press is an excellent exercise that varies slightly from the classic dumbbell bench press. The only difference here is that you’ll want to push the weight up toward the sky, keeping the flat faces of the hexagonal dumbbells in contact throughout the entire movement.

The hex press is a targeted strength building exercise. Like all resistance training routines, it enhances strength and contributes to muscle growth. The primary muscle engaged during a hex press is the pectoralis major, with secondary muscles including the shoulders, triceps, biceps, and shoulder joints.[1]. 

Unlike the dumbbell bench press, the close grip formation of the hex press emphasizes greater inner chest and tricep muscle activation.

Benefits of a Hex Press 

As an isolated strength training movement, the hex press creates specified tension surrounding the inner chest muscles to help target, strengthen, and build lean muscle mass. 

Another great reason to perform hex presses is to help strengthen your accessory muscles to reduce injury for other heavy-loaded push exercises. For example, the secondary muscles worked can help improve heavy-lift performance during a barbell bench press. 

The dumbbell hex press is also great for alleviating some shoulder stress while also giving you the ability to reach failure with less weight.

What is a Landmine Press?

Landmine presses are another staple upper body muscle building exercise that can help boost strength and elevate fitness performance. 

Using a barbell that’s anchored on the floor or resting firmly in the corner of a room, the landmine press can be performed with any desired weight by adding a plate or two to the open end. With one arm, you’re able to lift the weight of the bar overhead in one swift pressing movement. 

The landmine press activates a range of muscles in the upper body including the upper chest, deltoids, and triceps. Unlike the traditional overhead press, the landmine press requires force both vertically and horizontally to push the weight of the barbell in an arc rather than a straight line. For this reason, landmine presses also activate several lower body muscles such as the glutes and hamstrings for stabilization. 

Benefits of a Landmine Press

The landmine press is a unique pressing exercise that helps increase shoulder joint stabilization, boost strength, build better muscle definition, and improve core stability. 

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, landmine presses are becoming increasingly popular for beginner and long-term athletes alike. Having a stable base to execute the movement pattern correctly, this exercise helps reinforce proper overhead pressing mechanics, minimize the risk of misalignment, and reduce the incidence of injury [2]. 

How to Perform Each Exercise with Excellent Form

No matter what your current fitness goals are, there is more to gain from performing each rep with excellent form. So, before you add a ton of weight to your next set of hex presses or landmine presses, check out these tips first!

How to Do a Dumbbell Hex Press 

To do the hex press, all you’ll need is a flat bench and a pair of dumbbells. 

  1. Take a seat on the bench and grab hold of the dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing in toward each other) 

  2. Lay back onto the bench and raise the dumbbells slightly above your chest and press them together so they’re touching

  3. Using inward arm force and chest activation, press the dumbbells straight up overhead, keeping the flat faces touching throughout the movement 

  4. Contract your triceps to extend the weight up overhead without tilting forward or backward

  5. Perform this exercise for a desired number of reps before resting

Hex Press Variations

There are plenty of ways to do the hex press both with or without dumbbells — all you need to consider is the mechanics of the movement. In other words, having your weights pressed tight together will help increase the activation of the major hex press muscles such as the inner chest and triceps.

Here are some excellent hex press variations to try:

  • Incline dumbbell hex press 

  • Smith machine hex press

  • Plate press 

  • Close grip pushups 

How to Do a Standing Landmine Press

There are a few common variations of the landmine press that can build functional strength and pushing mechanics. For the purpose of full-body activation, we will be diving into detail on how to perform a standing landmine press. 

All you’ll need is an unloaded barbell anchored on one end. 

  1. Get into your starting position by lifting one end of the barbell up to your shoulder using a neutral grip (palm facing in toward each other)  

  2. If the barbell is on your right, step your left foot slightly forward with a slight bend in your hip and knee to stabilize your body 

  3. Engage your glutes and core muscles 

  4. In one controlled movement, push the weight of the bar overhead into its natural arc using full elbow extension 

  5. Hold for 1 second before slowly lowering the weight back down to starting position 

  6. Complete the desired number of reps before switching to the opposite side

Landmine Press Variations

For those who are looking to adjust their form slightly to either increase or decrease difficulty, we’ve got several landmine press variations to try.

Here are some variations in increasing intensity:

  • Double-handed landmine press

  • Single-handed half-kneeling landmine press

  • Banded landmine press

  • Alternating shoulder landmine press

  • Landmine twist

The Bottom Line

The hex press and landmine press are two beneficial exercises that help to activate the chest, shoulders, and arms with an emphasis on core stabilization.

Whether or not you’ve had experience with other pushing exercises, such as bench presses or pushups, it’s important to control your weight, slow your movement, and prioritize form above all the rest.

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