The landmine press is an overhead pressing exercise involving a landmine press attachment.
Unlike other overhead press variations, it allows you to press in an arc slightly in front of your body with your wrist in a neutral position. For many weightlifters, this is more comfortable than pressing with a barbell because it takes some stress off your shoulders.
This makes the landmine press an excellent overhead press variation for those training around an injury or with a history of shoulder issues.
In this article, you’ll learn what the landmine press is, why it’s beneficial, how to use proper landmine press form, the best landmine press alternatives, and more.
What Is the Landmine Press?
The landmine press is an overhead pressing exercise involving a barbell and a “landmine press attachment,” which is a piece of gym equipment consisting of a metal sleeve with a pivoting joint usually attached to the floor or the base of a squat or power rack.
(You can also get landmine press attachments that you anchor to the floor using weight plates, though these are less common in commercial gyms.)
There are several variations of the landmine press, but the most common (and the one we’ll focus on in this article) is the single-arm landmine press (hereafter referred to as the landmine press).
To perform the landmine press, insert one end of a barbell in a landmine press attachment and load the other end with weight plates, then hoist the weighted end of the barbell up to shoulder height, and press it overhead using one arm.
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Landmine Press vs. Overhead Press
The main differences between the landmine and overhead press are the orientation of your grip and the path the bar travels as you press it overhead.
In the landmine press, you take a neutral grip (palm facing toward your body) and press the weight slightly forward. As you press, you also lean toward the weight so that at the top of the rep, your body forms a straight line from your hand to your hips.
Conversely, in the overhead press, you take a pronated grip (palms facing forward), stand upright, and press the weight directly upward.
For those with achy shoulders or poor shoulder mobility, taking a neutral grip and pressing the weight slightly forward tends to feel more comfortable. That’s why many people with cranky shoulders or a history of shoulder issues prefer the landmine press to the overhead press.
However, if you have healthy, mobile shoulders, standing upright and pressing a barbell straight overhead engages more muscles across your entire body and allows you to lift heavier weights safely, which is why I generally recommend the overhead press if your shoulders allow it.
That said, both exercises effectively train many of the same upper-body muscles in slightly different ways, which is why it doesn’t make sense to think in terms of landmine press vs overhead press. Instead, you’ll likely benefit from including both exercises in your program.
A good way to do this is to include the overhead press in your program for 8-to-10 weeks of training, take a deload, then replace the overhead press with the landmine press for the following 8-to-10 weeks of training.
Then, you can either continue alternating between the exercises every few months or stick with the one you prefer.
This is how I personally like to organize my training, and it’s similar to the method I advocate in my fitness books for men and women, Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger.
(And if you’d like even more specific advice about how you should organize your training to reach your health and fitness goals, take the Legion Strength Training Quiz, and in less than a minute, you’ll know the perfect strength training program for you. Click here to check it out.)
Landmine Press: Benefits
Similarly to most overhead pressing exercises, the landmine press effectively trains several major upper-body muscle groups, especially the shoulders, upper back, arms, and core.
However, unlike many other overhead presses, the landmine press allows you to press the weight in an arc slightly forward of your body and bring the weight down in front of your shoulder rather than out to the side in the so-called “high-five” position (upper arm out to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and your palm facing forward).
This is significant because many people find that pressing in an arc with their elbow forward and wrist in a neutral position places less stress on their shoulders and feels more comfortable. This is particularly true for people with a history of shoulder injuries.
The landmine press also allows you to train your shoulders unilaterally (one at a time), which is beneficial because it . . .
- May enable you to lift more total weight than you can when training both sides of your body simultaneously, which should help you gain more muscle and strength over time
- Helps you develop a greater mind-muscle connection with the target muscles because you only need to focus on one side of your body at a time
- Helps you find and fix any size and strength imbalances you might have
- May improve your athletic performance more than bilateral exercises (those that train both sides of your body simultaneously)
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Landmine Press: Muscles Worked
The main muscles worked by the landmine press are the . . .
It also trains your abs and obliques to a lesser degree, too.
Here’s how the main muscles worked by the landmine press look on your body:
Landmine Press: Form
The best way to learn how to do the landmine press is to split the exercise into three parts: set up, press, and descend.
1. Set up
Insert one end of a barbell in a landmine press attachment and load the other end with weight plates.
Stand facing the weighted end of the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over and grab the end of the barbell with both hands and hoist it to chest height.
Move the barbell in front of your left shoulder, then take your right hand off of the bar and let it hang at your side. Place your elbow directly under your hand and keep your wrist straight and torso upright, then stagger your stance by moving your left foot slightly backward.
Take a deep breath of air into your stomach, brace your core, and press the weight away from your shoulder until your arm is straight. As you press, lean slightly forward so that when you reach the top of the rep, your body forms a straight line from your hand to your hip.
Reverse the movement and return to the starting position with the barbell in front of your shoulder. This is a mirror image of what you did during the press.
Don’t let the barbell fall back to the starting position or try to lower it slowly—the entire descent should be controlled but take less than a second.
When you’ve completed the desired number of reps, switch sides and repeat the process with your right arm.
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The Best Landmine Press Alternatives
1. Kneeling Landmine Press
The difference between the kneeling landmine press and the regular standing landmine press is you perform the kneeling landmine press while kneeling on both knees.
Performing the exercise on your knees is less stable than on your feet, which means your core and abs have to work harder to stabilize your torso. The downside is that you can’t lift nearly as much weight, which limits the exercise’s muscle- and strength-building potential.
2. Half-Kneeling Landmine Press
The half-kneeling landmine press is similar to the kneeling landmine press, only instead of kneeling on two knees, you kneel on one.
The benefit of kneeling on one knee instead of two is you have a more stable base to press from, which means you can lift heavier weight more safely. This is significant because, generally speaking, the more weight you lift, the more muscle and strength you gain.
3. Landmine Squat to Press
You begin the landmine squat to press (sometimes called the “landmine squat press”) by dropping into a squat and exploding back up. As you reach the top of the squat, you use the momentum generated by your lower body to help you press the weight overhead.
The main benefits of the landmine squat to press are that it effectively trains your entire body and allows you to press heavier weights than you typically would because you can harness momentum.
The downsides, however, are that it requires a lot of coordination, so it may not be suitable for new weightlifters, and it’s highly taxing on your cardiovascular system. This means many people have to stop their set when they’re too “gassed” to continue rather than when their muscles are sufficiently stimulated, which isn’t optimal from a muscle- and strength-building perspective.
4. Landmine Push Press
The landmine push press is similar to the landmine squat to press, only instead of starting with a full squat, you only drop your butt 3-to-6 inches and then shoot your hips upward as explosively as possible.
This helps you generate enough momentum to get the bar off your shoulder and through the first few inches of the press, where it’s most likely to get stuck. It also allows you to use heavier weights than with the regular landmine press without reducing range of motion much.
A downside is it’s hard to judge your progress if you don’t duplicate the boost rep to rep, set to set, and workout to workout. If you often squat differently, your weights might go up, but your shoulders and arms might do less work. It also requires a lot of coordination, making it less suitable for beginner weightlifters.
5. Landmine Chest Press
The landmine chest press is a landmine press variation that primarily trains your pecs. Because you grip the bar with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and press the weight diagonally upward and in an arc, many people find it more “shoulder-friendly” than other chest exercises, such as the barbell and dumbbell bench press.
To perform the landmine chest press, set up a barbell in a landmine press attachment and hold the weighted end of the barbell in front of the center of your chest in both hands, then press the weight away from your chest without leaning forward until both of your arms are straight.
+ Scientific References
- Jakobi, J. M., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2001). Bilateral and unilateral contractions: possible differences in maximal voluntary force. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology = Revue Canadienne de Physiologie Appliquee, 26(1), 12–33. https://doi.org/10.1139/H01-002
- Janzen, C. L., Chilibeck, P. D., & Davison, K. S. (2006). The effect of unilateral and bilateral strength training on the bilateral deficit and lean tissue mass in post-menopausal women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 97(3), 253–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/S00421-006-0165-1/TABLES/3
- Liao, K. F., Nassis, G. P., Bishop, C., Yang, W., Bian, C., & Li, Y. M. (2021). Effects of unilateral vs. bilateral resistance training interventions on measures of strength, jump, linear and change of direction speed: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biology of Sport, 39(3), 485–497. https://doi.org/10.5114/BIOLSPORT.2022.107024
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Courtesy : https://legionathletics.com/landmine-press/