Get ready to add a new exercise to your workout routine with the landmine press! This unique exercise has been gaining popularity among strength athletes and gym-goers alike and for good reason. Landmine training offers a different range of motion, is considered more joint-friendly, and can be done one side at a time to enhance your unilateral strength.
If you’re looking to add some variety and a new challenge to your workout routine, then the landmine press is a great option. Compared to traditional pressing movements, the landmine press allows for scapular movement, requires and develops more stability, and doesn’t require a lot of weight to get results. This versatile and effective exercise can help build functional strength and pack on muscle mass through many planes of motion.
Landmine training has been around for a long time, even before the landmine attachment was invented. Old-school lifters used to jam the barbell into a corner for T-bar rows, and the trend continues to this day. With the creativity of coaches, landmine training has become a great way to train your muscles from multiple angles and positions, with the landmine press being the most popular exercise.
The landmine press is a fantastic option for those who lack the shoulder mobility for barbell overhead pressing, and is a great change-up from traditional overhead and bench presses. In this article, we will dive into everything you need to know about the landmine press, including what it is, how to do it, the muscles worked, benefits, and common form mistakes to avoid.
What Is Landmine Press?
The landmine overhead press is a unique and effective pressing exercise that combines both vertical and horizontal pressing movements. This exercise is performed using a barbell that is either wedged into a corner or inserted into a landmine attachment, creating an angled arch.
This angle allows for overhead pressing without putting stress on the shoulders or compressive load on the spine, making it an excellent option for those with limited shoulder mobility and lower-back issues.
How To Do Landmine Press
- Start in a half-kneeling position with one knee under your hip, toes tucked, and ribcage down.
- Shoulder the barbell with one hand, and use your other hand on your ribcage to monitor your spinal position.
- Take a deep breath, and press the barbell to lockout by extending the elbow and contracting the deltoid.
- Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position on your shoulder, and repeat the desired number of repetitions.
- Insert one end of the barbell into a landmine base or the corner of a wall, making sure to place a towel between the bar and wall to avoid scuffing. Load the other end of the barbell with weight plates.
- Place the same-side knee as your pressing arm on the floor, with the other foot planted on the floor. The sleeve of the barbell should be about 6 to 8 inches in front of your knee.
- Grab the end of the sleeve with your hand and clean it to shoulder-height. Brace your core, and make sure your back is straight.
- Lean forward slightly and press the bar overhead until your elbow locks out, keeping in mind that you should be pressing on a slight diagonal angle, not directly up and down.
- Lower the weight back down under control, re-brace your abs, and initiate the next repetition.
Muscles Worked by the Landmine Press
The landmine press is a comprehensive upper and lower body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. The primary muscle groups targeted during this exercise include the shoulders, triceps, and scapular stabilizers. The shoulders are the main drivers of the landmine press, responsible for pressing the weight overhead. The triceps assist in the final stages of elbow extension and the scapular stabilizers help maintain stability in the shoulder joint.
Additionally, the core muscles, especially the obliques, play a crucial role in maintaining balance and stability during the exercise, as the standing landmine press challenges your balance and core stability. The glutes and the obliques are also engaged to some extent. The upper back, rotator cuff, and forearms are also worked during the landmine press. The pectorals are involved to a lesser extent.
Landmine Press Benefits
The landmine press is a versatile exercise that provides a range of benefits for lifters of all levels. This exercise is particularly well-suited for those with shoulder or lower-back issues, as it allows for the safe training of the overhead pattern. Additionally, the unique pressing path and angle of the landmine press can help to increase grip strength, scapular stability (scapular push-ups and scapular pull ups are great too), shoulder strength, core stability, and anti-rotational strength.
Improved Grip Strength
The landmine press requires a strong grip, as the lifter must hold the barbell in place with one hand. This increased grip demand engages the rotator cuff, providing better shoulder stability.
Safe Training for Shoulder Mobility Issues
Due to its unique pressing path, the landmine press allows lifters with mobility issues to train the overhead press safely. This is because the exercise works around these limitations, allowing the lifter to achieve their training goals while avoiding pain or injury.
Reduced Spinal Compression
For lifters who experience lower-back issues, the landmine press can provide a break from the compressive load on the spine that can come from pressing a barbell overhead. This reduced load can help to alleviate pain and improve overall comfort during exercise.
Better Core Stability and Reduced Strength Imbalances
The Landmine Press is great for identifying weaknesses and imbalances. The landmine press is performed unilaterally, meaning the lifter lifts with one arm. This imbalance creates an increased demand for core stability, as the abs must work to prevent the torso from rotating too far to the loaded side. Additionally, lifting unilaterally can help to address and improve strength imbalances between the sides, leading to more weight being lifted with bilateral lifts.
Versatile Training Angles
The angle of the landmine press allows for a mix of vertical and horizontal training, providing a unique in-between zone for the lifter to train in. This versatility enables the lifter to perform the exercise in a variety of positions, including standing, tall kneeling, and half-kneeling.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Doing Landmine Press
The landmine press is a valuable exercise for those looking to increase their strength, but without proper technique, it can also cause injury. Here are some of the most common mistakes made when performing the landmine press and how to avoid them.
Improper Hand Grip
Holding the barbell incorrectly can compromise your form, causing wrist pain or even strains. To avoid this, make sure to keep your wrist straight throughout the movement by cupping the bar with your lower palm.
Flaring your ribs during the press can lead to an excessive extension of the spine. To prevent this, focus on keeping your shoulders back and down. Engage your lats and upper back in the movement, which will help keep your hips tucked and your rib cage from flaring.
Incorrect Bar Path
It’s important to remember that the landmine press is a combination of a vertical and horizontal press. To ensure the bar path is correct, extend your arm up and out at around 45 degrees without shrugging your shoulder or flaring your rib cage. Experimenting with your positioning with an unloaded barbell can help you solve this problem before it starts.
Gripping the Bar Incorrectly
Some lifters hold the end of the barbell incorrectly, causing their wrist to roll back, which results in wrist extension and energy leaks during the press. To avoid this, grip the end of the bar tight and place your thumb at the end to help stop the wrist from rolling.
There’s a tendency to start the press with the barbell too close to the shoulder, which can make the start of the press more difficult and cause the shoulder to roll forward. To avoid this, make sure to engage your lats and upper back and start with the barbell at the right distance from your shoulder.
Not Going Through the Full Range of Motion
Some lifters stop short of the full range of motion, but to get the most out of the landmine press, make sure to press and reach forward with a slight torso lean. This will improve your shoulder mobility and train all parts of the movement.
Landmine Press Variations
Landmine press is a great exercise that works multiple muscle groups and can be modified in a number of ways to target specific muscle groups or to add variety to your workout routine. Here are four common variations of the landmine press.
Banded Landmine Press
This variation of the landmine press involves using a resistance band. The band is placed under the lifter’s foot and looped around the barbell. The tension created by the band throughout the movement provides an extra challenge to the muscles being worked. The lifter can perform the exercise with or without added weight plates, making it a versatile option for athletes of different levels.
Standing Landmine Press
The standing landmine press requires greater body control and engages the lower body for stability. As a result, lifters can typically press heavier loads with this variation. This variation is particularly useful for athletes looking to add extra weight to their press.
Single-Arm Landmine Thruster
This variation combines a landmine squat and single-arm press, creating a unique hybrid exercise. The single-arm thruster is a great way to increase strength and stability, especially if the lifter has limitations in their shoulder range of motion.
Tall Kneeling Landmine Press
The tall kneeling position in the landmine press is a great way to engage the glutes and improve posture. By kneeling tall, the posterior is activated to keep the lifter upright, strengthening the glutes. Additionally, the tall kneeling position can also serve as a form check, as it’s easier to see any errors in technique such as overarching the lower back while pressing overhead. By taking the legs farther out, the difficulty of the lift is increased, as the lifter is unable to “cheat” the weight up.
the landmine press is a versatile exercise that can be used to target various areas of the upper body, including the shoulders, scapula, and hips. This movement can be done in a variety of ways, including banded, standing, single-arm, and tall kneeling versions, allowing for a range of adaptations and intensity levels.
The landmine press can be used for both building muscle mass and increasing functional fitness, making it a valuable tool for overhead athletes, throwers, and anyone looking to improve their upper body strength. The ability to drop the loading and focus on explosive power, or to turn the movement into a more rotational pressing exercise, makes the landmine press a versatile tool that can be customized to meet an athlete’s specific needs.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.