How to do the Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press – Complete Guide

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The hammer grip dumbbell press is one of the exercises that can be done using a decline and incline bench.


This easy yet effective exercise is a show-stopper. Its primary focus might be the upper chest, but it does a lot more than that. Simply put, you can call these chest presses.


The placement of your hands is what makes the difference. A hammer press guarantees you do not damage your shoulder joints by applying less pressure on them. This is the primary benefit of this chest press.


Many people find the neutral grip chest presses much easier (which are similar), but they don’t make much difference to your muscle mass.


This is why we prefer a hammer dumbbell bench press.


This article will show you all the ins and outs of performing a hammer grip dumbbell press. Everything you need to know, from definition to application, is right here on one page.


What is Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press?

A hammer grip dumbbell bench press falls in the category of chest presses but also works on the shoulder joint of each individual.


The warmup of this exercise is almost the same as a bar bench press. However, the primary difference is the grip.


This exercise is the best for targeting the pectoralis major. Maximum focus is on the chest muscles. But its effect is not limited to the chest – it provides vast effectiveness.


Apart from the pectoralis major, the hammer grip dumbbell bench press works on your anterior deltoid and biceps brachii. Another focus of this exercise is the triceps brachii.


This is why many refer to this exercise as a compound exercise. Other chest exercises work great for chest muscles.


However, they don’t do much work on the secondary muscles. This is why the hammer grip dumbbell bench press stands out.


Dumbell Hammer Grip Bench Press

What is the Hammer Grip?

In tennis, a hammer grip is typical. Indeed, it provides superior grip. Although the hammer grip is challenging to master for tennis, it is simple for dumbbell presses.


For this hold, your palms must be facing inward.


All you need to do is imagine a hammer in your hand. So grip the dumbbell as if you are gripping a hammer.


What is the hammer grip and how to do it?

Recommended Read: >>> The 17 Ultimate Cable Chest Exercises <<<

Why Do Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press?

Before doing anything, it is human nature to ask about the reason and benefits behind it. And for that very reason, we have gathered below answers to all your questions.


The first reason and advantage of doing a hammer grip dumbbell bench press is the less pressure on shoulder joints.


As you may note, the bar bench press applies great pressure on shoulder joints, often causing damage. Sometimes, they even lead to a frozen shoulder.


Moreover, unlike many chest presses, the hammer grip dumbbell bench press works on more than just your chest muscles. As stated above, the upper and lower chest, triceps brachii, anterior deltoid, and biceps brachii are worked on. The muscle groups are bigger than any other chest press.


Above all, the grip is easy.


You can grip the dumbbells easily and move your elbows horizontally without losing the grip.


There are many more reasons for doing the hammer grip dumbbell bench press, but these were the most prominent ones.


Recommended Read: >>> The Ultimate Guide for Chest Workouts <<<

Chest Anatomy 101

The pectoralis major is the primary muscle targeted by this exercise. Let’s talk about it briefly.


Among the four muscular groups that make up our chest, the pectoralis major is a particularly prominent one.


The pectoralis major is the biggest of the four major chest muscles.


This muscle is primarily responsible for scapular rotation, depression, and protraction.



Even though the pectoralis minor receives little attention, this exercise may have an effect on it as well.


Dumbell Bench Press Anatomy

Recommended Read: >>> 6 Benefits of the Pec Deck Chest Training <<<

How To Do The Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

The incredible simplicity of this routine is its best feature.


The grip in this exercise permits more freedom of motion than in the bench bar press. Being in good physical shape is the only prerequisite for succeeding in this activity.


In the following section, you will learn how to perform a hammer grip bench press.


How to Do

  • If you are in a gym, find yourself a free bench


  • Grab two dumbbells and make them rest on your thighs/knees


  • Now lay down with your back straight


  • Make sure to grip the dumbbells with a hammer grip


  • With full force, push the dumbbells upwards so that now they are in the air


  • Give your grip a quick test by making swift movements with your hand


  • The position of the dumbbells must be such that they are on the sides of your chest


  • Now bring your arms in a position where your elbows make an angle of 45 degrees


  • Blow out as much CO2 as possible, and start the exercise by vertically moving the dumbbells


  • Fully extend the dumbbells above your shoulders and chest.


  • Now bring them back to where you started from, i.e., near your chest so that you can feel that stretch


  • When a few reps are done, reverse the motion of your movement


Recommended Read: >>> Mastering Tricep Workouts with Dumbbells: A Comprehensive Guide to Strengthen Your Arms<<<

Muscles Worked

In total, four muscles are worked on.


The main focus of the exercise, as you all know, is the pectoralis major. It is also known as the target muscle.


As for the secondary muscles, they include the biceps brachii, triceps brachii, and anterior deltoid.


Exercise Training Tip

No matter how experienced you are in weightlifting, you should begin this exercise with a lower starting weight.


You’ll gain excellent control of the action this way. And, after your set, don’t just toss the dumbbells. You risk injuring your elbows and shoulders if you try to do it. Slowly letting go of the dumbbells is the way to go.


Do not, and I repeat, do not allow your elbows to leave the 45-degree angle whenever you bring your arms down during the vertical motion.


If you are a newbie, it is better to have someone by your side while you give this exercise a try.


Recommended Read: >>> Does Push Up Cause Chest Pain? <<<

Top 5 Benefits of Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press


1. This exercise does not apply pressure on your shoulder joints like other chest presses


2. The grip is easy to master


3. This exercise is more than just for your chest muscles


4. Work on both arms and sides of the chest is done properly as you use separate weights


5. Better and more effective than a few other chest presses



Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press: Volume, Sets, and Reps

For muscle building and strength training, you should use the following as a guideline


  • Volume and Sets : Perform no more than 12 sets total per week for chest. For hammer grip bench press limit this to 3 sets


  • Reps : Keep sets to ten reps maximum and then increase the weight once you hit the magic ten.



Progressive overload is key and this means you must increase weight or reps every workout.


Recommended Read: >>> Kettlebells For Fat Loss: Your Ultimate Fat Burning Exercise <<<

Results Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

You can expect your chest size and strength to significantly increase within 12 weeks of adding this exercise.


Gains of 1 inch to the chest size and strength increases of 10% aren’t a surprise.


As long as you progress weekly, have a solid diet and your nutrition is on point, you can expect to build  a bigger, wider more muscular chest. 


Two of the Best Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press Training Plans

It is preferable to have a plan in place rather than none at all.


For the hammer grip dumbbell bench press, the two best training regimens are provided below.


Try them out and see if they work for you.

Hammer Grip Dumbell Bench Press Training Plan 1

Hammer Grip Dumbell Bench Press Training Plan 1

Hammer Grip Dumbell Bench Press Training Plan 2

Hammer Grip Dumbell Bench Press Training Plan 2

How to Adopt Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press to Your Existing Workouts

As a starting point, you should train your chest once per week. 


Our two plans above can we performed 7 days a part with the intention of performing toe exercise with super strict form and always ensuring you add weight OR reps. 


You can adopt the plans above OR you can add 3 sets of 10 for this exercise in your current chest routine and see how you progress.


It may be that you have to substitute an exercise to avoid over training. 

5 Tips to Maximize Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

1. The control of your dumbbells must be perfect at all times. You must not allow them to slide down or your arms to move except during exercise.


2. It is better to perform this exercise on a flat bench. However, some people prefer using an incline bench. We prefer a flat bench as it will give better and quick results.


3. Increase your weights or reps once you hit the ten rep mark


3. Your elbows must always be at a 45-degree angle. During exercise, they must only leave this position when you move your arms vertically.


5 . While moving upwards, stretch your arms as much as you can. When returning to the starting position, stop where you feel the most pressure on your chest. Mark this point and use it as a dead end.


3 Key Things You Must Avoid When Doing Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Any exercise can cause damage if you do not perform it correctly. The case is no different for the hammer grip dumbbell bench press.


1. Make sure you’re not throwing your arms down. Instead, lower them slowly so that they can effectively operate on your chest.


2. Use weight that enable you to get to ten reps or work up to ten reps but focus on strict form.


3. Do not move out of form. Doing so will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.


3 Best Alternatives to Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

1. Barbell floor press

2. Chest press machine

3. Pin press

FAQs On Training With A Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

How can you do the hammer grip dumbbell bench press?

Doing the hammer grip dumbbell bench press is easy. The requirements are dumbbells and a bench. Lay down on the bench, and with the dumbbells in your hands, bring your elbows to a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms on the sides of your chest. Now move your arms vertically.

What does a hammer grip dumbbell press mean?

The hammer grip dumbbell is an exercise that you can perform using a flat, incline, or decline bench. This exercise focuses on your chest and arm muscles.

Is the hammer grip adequate?

The hammer grip is superior to many other grips and very efficient. This grip requires less effort yet accomplishes more. The primary advantage of this grip is that it reduces strain on the shoulder joints during activity.

Which grip tops the list of bench presses?

Because of its ease, the hammer grip tops the list of bench press grips. The grip is easy for beginners as well as professionals.

What other workouts can I pair with the hammer grip dumbbell bench press for maximum results?

Alongside the hammer grip dumbbell bench press, incorporating exercises from the chest and bicep workouts can offer well-rounded strength training.

I am considering adding pec deck exercises to my routine. What are the benefits of the pec deck chest training?

he pec deck chest training offers various benefits such as improved pectoral muscle definition, enhanced muscle balance, and better posture.

Are there other chest exercises that I can add to my routine?

Absolutely, the ultimate guide for chest workouts provides a comprehensive list of chest exercises that can complement your routine.

Does doing push-ups cause chest pain?

Improper form while doing push-ups can lead to discomfort or chest pain. It’s essential to ensure that you’re performing exercises correctly to avoid injury.

Are there effective chest exercises I can perform using a cable machine?

Yes, there are various cable chest exercises that you can include in your workout routine. These exercises offer dynamic resistance that can help improve your chest’s strength and shape.

Can I incorporate barbell exercises into my routine along with the Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press?

Yes, you can! The Hammer Grip Dumbbell Bench Press is great, but adding chest workouts with a barbell can make your routine even better. This guide has many barbell exercises you can try. Mixing different exercises can help you get stronger and build more muscle. Happy lifting!

Closing Thoughts

The hammer grip dumbbell bench press is an easy yet effective exercise. This exercise attracts beginners more than pros, but whoever tastes the results of this exercise always sticks with it. There are a few things, as the article mentions, that you must avoid while doing the hammer grip dumbbell bench press.


Having proper form is something without which the exercise becomes useless. But you must not worry; the exercise and grip are easy. Identifying strength imbalances during the hammer grip dumbbell bench press is easy. Above all, this exercise saves your shoulder joints, adding a few more years to your strength.


(oh, and do keep in touch and check in with us regularly for more fantastic content. For a complete list of our previous blog posts, please go here)


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