Is A Hammer Strength Incline Press Safer Than Dumbbells?

hammer strength incline
September 10, 2023 0 Comments

Table of Contents


In this article I will be answering the question “is a hammer strength incline press safer than dumbbells?”. Both exercises are great for working the upper pectorals and improving pressing power.

Having performed both exercises in my training I am well placed to give my views on this topic. The article will be informative and present some interesting insights.

Is A Hammer Strength Incline Press Safer Than Dumbbells?

In general both exercises are fairly safe, but the hammer strength incline press is safer. Incline pressing with dumbbells requires more stabiliser muscle recruitment as it takes more effort to control the dumbbells.

When doing incline dumbbell benches you have to get the dumbbells in position first, this can take up some energy with very heavy dumbbells. When you are pressing you have to focus a lot to control the dumbbells.

With heavy dumbbells it is easy to tweak a muscle when you are approaching failure. There is a lower risk of injury with the hammer strength machine. However, you have to ensure that you keep your shoulder blades pinned back.

With heavy weight on the hammer strength machine, you can experience shoulder pain if your shoulder blades don’t stay pinched back during the movement.

Some hammer strength incline machines also have safety features that limit the range of motion according to your preferences. This prevents a muscle from becoming overstretched if you go through a greater range of motion. 

For people with existing muscle strains this safety feature can be very useful. Many bodybuilders perform most of their pressing exercises on hammer strength machines.
hammer strength incline

Less Skill Required On Hammer Strength Machines

Overall there is less skill required to perform a hammer strength incline press. This is also a reason why the incline dumbbell bench transfers better to the barbell bench press.

Both the incline dumbbell bench and flat bench are free weight movements and involve a lot of effort to stabilise the free weights. The hammer strength machine recruits less stabiliser muscles.

It is better as an isolation exercise to work the pectorals and triceps. You can overload the movement as you don’t need to worry about stabilising the weight.

Because you have more control during the range of motion and can concentrate purely on isolating the muscles, the hammer strength machine is safer. 

The flat barbell bench press is actually quite a risky exercise and one of the most common culprits for injuries in the gym. The incline dumbbell bench press is less risky but is more risky than machine exercises.

Previously on this site I have discussed why the incline bench is so tough.

Some Hammer Strength Machines Have Safety Mechanisms

Some hammer strength chest machines have safety mechanisms built in that allow you to manipulate the range of motion.

You can opt to adjust the machine for a greater range of motion or less. This is great for people who have pre existing muscles strains. By limiting the range of motion slightly you can reduce the risk of the pecs overstretching and straining them.

It is true that you can adjust the range of motion on the incline dumbbell press yourself as well by choosing how low you decide to bring the dumbbells down. Heavy dumbbells are harder to control however.

Safety Depends On Experience And Technique

Technique is always important on every exercise. If you use the hammer strength machine with bad technique you can injure yourself.

From my experience using the hammer strength incline press, it is critical to keep your shoulder blades pinched back throughout the range of motion. If your shoulder blades lose contact with the pad, you increase the risk of shoulder problems.

The same thing is true with incline dumbbell presses. You have to ensure that your shoulder blades are pinched together during the movement. On the incline hammer strength press, be sure not to overextend the arms when locking out.

This will likely cause you to lose tightness and bring your shoulder blades off the pad. It is perfectly fine on hammer strength machines to not lockout completely. This will also help to keep tension on your pecs and triceps for longer.

incline dumbbell bench

John Meadows Take On Chest Machines

John Meadows makes some interesting observations regarding different chest machines, including the hammer strength ones.

He says that some machines feel better than others. On some machines he is able to lockout and feel good, on others he is not able to do so without discomfort.

This is very interesting and demonstrates that every machine is different. You have to listen to your body and do what suits you. For me personally, I don’t like locking out fully on the incline hammer strength press.

I find that doing so causes me more shoulder discomfort as my shoulder blades are more likely to lose contact with the pad at the end of high rep sets. 

In terms of the incline dumbbell press and hammer strength incline, some people may prefer one over the other. There are various reasons for this – some people just may not feel comfortable when using the hammer strength machine.

They may feel safer when doing incline dumbbell benching. Therefore, safety can also be influenced by how your body responds to different exercises. Everyone is different in this regard.

Final Thoughts

Is a hammer strength incline press safer than dumbbells? Both exercises require experience and good technique. It is possible to pick up injuries doing either exercise.

Overall, the hammer strength machine is safer as you have more control and can focus a lot more on isolating the muscle. The incline dumbbell press carries over better to pressing exercises as it requires a lot more stabilisation and motor control.

It is possible on some hammer strength machines to change the range of motion. This way, even if you have a strained pec you can still perform the exercise safely by opting to go through a lower range of motion.

It is important with both exercises to keep your shoulder blades pinched back and together. This will help to make you more stable and reduce the risks of shoulder injuries.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Does Landmine Press Help Bench Press?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.