If you struggle to execute a perfect overhead press due to painful or contorting shoulder mobility, the Landmine Press offers similar muscle-building benefits without straining the shoulder. We’ll cover everything Landmine Press for you to understand better why many disciplined athletes include this underappreciated and underutilized exercise in their strength training and muscle-building programs.
The chest and the shoulders are probably the body parts that most enjoy working out the most. And it is not surprising that some of the best chest and shoulder-building exercises like bench presses are usually the most common offenders to your shoulder mobility. Here’s why you should start integrating Landmine Press into your routine while reaping tons of mileage out of safer shoulder training.
This Ultimate Guide Will Cover:
- How To Do Landmine Press
- 6 Landmine Press Benefits
- Common Landmine Press Mistakes To Avoid
- Landmine Press Muscles Worked
- Landmine Press vs Overhead Press
- Our Trainer’s Suggested Reps, Sets, & Programs
- Landmine Press Variations
- Landmine Press Alternative Exercises
- FAQs About Landmine Press
How To Do Landmine Press
What You’ll Need:
- Barbell set: Slide a Barbell into the corner of a wall or a landmine base using a 25- or 45-pound plate on end. If possible, use bumper plates.
Step 1: Find your base
You can complete this step either by kneeling or standing. For this guide, we’ll focus more on the kneeling version. For the starting position, decide which arm you’re going to press with first. Step the leg opposite to that arm, so your toes line up with the bumper plate. Make sure that the barbell sleeve is between the leg you moved forward and your kneeling leg. Your back should be straight and your hips directly under your shoulders.
Coach’s tip: Don’t place the weight on both ends; only on the side you’re going to press.
Step 2: Find a comfortable grip
Grab the bar up to shoulder height and tuck your elbow to the side. Avoid hyperextending your hand back toward your wrist, as this can cause pain and injuries. Your wrist should be in line with your forearm during this movement.
Coach’s tip: Always keep your arms tense and don’t let your elbow lose its form due to the weight of the bar. If you can’t maintain the proper form in your elbows, try using lesser weights.
Step 3: Keep your core engaged and lock your base
Now, keep your core engaged and brace your lats. You should tension all of your muscles to complete this step, namely your legs, core, back, shoulders, and arms. Your head and back should be straight. Slowly raise your non-pressing arm out to your side, make a fist, and squeeze your hand.
Coach’s tip: To achieve a full-body tension, place your front foot into the floor and flex your toes on your back foot.
Step 4: Begin pressing the barbell
To push the weight of the barbell while maintaining proper form, think about reaching one arm forward. Be sure to find stability at the top of your movement while your elbow is locked out. You should be able to maintain back tension and a rigid torso all throughout the movement. Focus on pulling the bar slowly as you lower the load. You should be able to feel how one of your shoulder blades easily glides along the back of your ribcage.
Coach’s tip: Avoid flaring your ribs upwards as this results in excessive spinal extension. This puts unnecessary stress on your ribs and affects your form.
6 Landmine Press Benefits
1. Improves Core Stability
Besides enjoying the benefits of overhead presses, performing the landmine press regularly also increases core stability and anti-rotational strength. Since this exercise will require you to press weight using one arm while your body is imbalanced from a kneeling position, your core muscles have to be engaged to prevent your torso from rotating too much on one side.
2. Boosts Scapular Control
The landmine press boosts scapular control and proper scapular stabilization due to the pressing angle and loading of the barbell. Over time, improved scapular control makes it easier for you to complete exercise that requires placing weight overhead. You may also try out the Scapular Retraction Exercise for some impressive benefits to the body.
3. Trains Muscles From Different Angles
Landmine exercises are a mix of horizontal and vertical movements, training in-between zones of different muscle groups. This angle and versatility of the landmine press allow you to train heavily in the tall kneeling, half-kneeling, and standing positions. This results in better upper body strength and bulkier shoulders. Landmine Presses are also a great addition to carry over into other horizontal pressing movements like Bench Press, which generally build shoulders and arms.
4. Increases Grip Strength
Since the landmine press will require you to grip the fat end of the barbell, this exercise is an excellent way to improve your grip. In performing the landmine press, your grip muscles work harder to hold the barbell. This engages your rotator cuff, resulting in better shoulder stability.
5. Reduces Compressive Load Of The Spine
If you’re suffering from lower-back pain, the angle of the landmine press gives your spine a break from the compressive load that usually comes from pressing a barbell overhead. This will reduce your risk of spine injuries, which can eventually improve the quality of your life.
6. Safer On The Shoulders
The landmine press is easier on the joints than the traditional barbell exercise like military press and bench press. The angle of the barbell position while you slightly lean your body forward minimizes the stress on your shoulders and effectively increases shoulder mobility as you work on your obliques, scapular stabilizers, and upper pecs.
Common Landmine Press Mistakes to Avoid
Gripping the bar incorrectly
While some people don’t hold the end of the barbell, others do but tend to roll their wrists back. These are common mistakes that cause wrist overextension and energy leaks when pressing. Avoid committing the same mistakes by holding the end of the barbell tight and placing your thumb at the end of the barbell. These will stop your wrist from rolling as you press.
The end of the barbell too close to the shoulders
Lifters tend to start with the end of the barbell too close to their shoulders and not engage their upper back and lats. This causes the shoulder to roll forward and makes the starting position less effective and more difficult to maintain.
Rushing the full range of motion
Avoid pressing and then rushing to return to the starting position. Aside from sacrificing your form, this also prevents you from getting all the benefits of the landmine press. Instead, take your time and reach forward with a slight torso lean whenever you press. This will significantly improve your shoulder mobility and train your entire upper body.
Landmine Press Muscles Worked
The landmine press is a unilateral exercise that targets the following muscles:
- Scapular Stabilizers
- Core Muscles
Whenever you perform the landmine press, your scapulas or shoulder blades retract your shoulders. In short, they are the primary player in keeping your shoulder joint stable throughout the movement. Your triceps work during the final stages of the elbow extension, while your shoulders and shoulder muscles act as the main driver of the exercise. Your core muscles must stay engaged to prevent your body from rotating too much on one side as you perform the landmine press.
With all the muscles involved in the landmine press, it’s easy to see why this exercise is highly effective in building an upper chest and toning your entire upper body. Landmine presses also activate the lower body muscles like the glutes, as much as it activates upper body muscles like the chest muscles, deltoids, and triceps.
Landmine Press vs Overhead Press
The biggest difference between the landmine press and overhead press is their target muscles. The landmine press develops the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. This exercise focuses on a select few muscles to ensure more extensive development. The overhead press, on the other hand, selectively focuses on the shoulders.
Neither is actually better than the other. Overhead presses are a great exercise to effectively build shoulders and chest, but it isn’t as safe and easier on the joints as landmine presses. We recommend that landmine presses are suitable for people who are recovering from shoulder injuries or pain or it can also be a supplementary exercise to your upper body workout.
You’d love to know that the single-arm and kneeling variations also increase core stability and anti-rotational strength as you brace your ab muscles more from preventing your torso to rotate towards the weighted side while balancing the weight throughout the movement.
Our Trainer’s Suggested Reps, Sets, and Programs
To Gain More Muscles
If gaining muscles is your goal, do five sets of ten reps or four sets of 12-15 reps. Rest for 90 seconds in between sets. To get the most out of this program, aim to perform more volume with a moderate amount of weight. The “moderate” weight for your fitness level is one that you quickly and comfortably lift for more than two reps.
To Boost Muscle Endurance
You can boost your muscle endurance through landmine presses by doing four sets of 12 to 20 reps using light to moderate load. Your rest periods in between sets should be only 30 to 45 seconds. This program is ideal for lifters who depend too much on their shoulders, triceps, and upper body pressing in their sports or daily activities.
To Improve Overall Strength
Many lifters find the landmine press a more effective exercise than the traditional overhead press when it comes to improving overall strength. If you feel the same way, do five sets of five reps using heavier weight plates. Rest as needed in between sets.
Landmine Press Variations
Variation is crucial when exercising to lessen your risk of injuries and ensure the efficacy of your workout regime. We’ve listed four of the best landmine press variations that you can use to improve your overall functional fitness and muscle mass.
Standing Landmine Press
The standing landmine press will require greater body control and enable you to utilize your lower body to a greater extent (for better stability and proper form) than the kneeling variations. We highly recommend this variation if you want to target your lower body more while being able to press heavier loads.
Single-Arm Landmine Press
To perform the landmine squat, it’s best to adopt a split stance. You need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lean towards the barbell to tighten your core muscles. The movement of this variation is ideal for individuals who want to add stability and strength to the traditional thruster.
Half-Kneeling Landmine Press
The half-kneeling landmine press is a variation of the single-arm landmine press that requires more work from your core muscles. This exercise provides efficient training to improve the hypertrophy of the muscles and can still be performed even if you do not have a landmine attachment at home.
Banded Landmine Press
As the name suggests, this variation of the landmine press will require the lifter to use Resistance Bands. The band will be placed under the lifter’s foot and the other end looped around the shaft of the barbell. The banded landmine press is an excellent option for lifters who want more tension when working out.
Landmine Press Alternative Exercises
Performing the land press provides a ton of benefits but doing the same routine every day will eventually get boring. If you’re looking for alternatives that can also recruit your shoulder and core muscles, as well as improve your scapular stability, take note of the suggestions below.
Also known as the overhead press, military presses are effective in building strength and power. We highly recommend this alternative if you’re working out at home as you can perform this using different equipment, namely an axle bar, dumbbell, or barbell.
The z press involves an overhead pressing movement and is used by lifters who want to increase overhead strength and triceps mass and promote proper overhead positioning. This is an excellent alternative if you want to tone your upper body without lifting too much weight.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Press
As the name suggests, this alternative requires the use of a kettlebell and helps address muscular asymmetries and develop upper body strength. This alternative will target your scapular stabilizer more as you’ll need this muscle group to support your arm in the overhead position.
The Push Press is more explosive than the traditional overhead press as you’ll have to use your legs to drive the weight up. Adding the push press to your workout regimen enables you to develop more muscle power, which is a vital component in many sports.