7 Best Landmine Press Exercises
Landmine Press: The Ultimate Exercise for Full Body Strength
The landmine press is a unique strength training exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. This total body movement builds serious power and sculpted shoulders.
Discover why you need to add the landmine press to your workout routine and how to perform it with proper form to reap all the benefits.
In this comprehensive guide you'll learn:
- What is the landmine press and what muscles does it work
- Variations of the landmine press exercise
- Proper form and technique to avoid injury
- Benefits of the landmine press
- Common mistakes lifters make
- How to incorporate it into your training
- Accessory exercises to pair with the landmine press
- Landmine press workout routine
- Frequently asked questions
What Is the Landmine Press and What Muscles Does It Work?
The landmine press is a hybrid strength exercise performed by pressing a barbell or dumbbell overhead at an angled position using one or both arms.
It's called a landmine press because one end of the barbell is anchored in a corner or into a landmine attachment secured to the floor. This fixes the barbell at an angle, allowing you to load weight plates onto the free end and press the barbell overhead without having to balance it.
The angled position of the landmine press allows a greater range of motion and rotation compared to traditional overhead presses using a barbell or dumbbells.
When performing the landmine press, your shoulder, triceps, upper back, chest, and core muscles are engaged throughout the exercise.
The key muscles worked include:
- Shoulders - The shoulder muscles such as the deltoids are heavily targeted. The angled press challenges your shoulder joint stability and strength throughout the movement.
- Triceps - Your triceps are worked isometrically to keep your elbows extended during the press, building stronger arms.
- Upper back - Keeping the barbell pressed overhead engages your upper back muscles like the lats. This improves overhead strength and scapular stability.
- Core - Your core must brace to prevent twisting or arching during the press. This builds a rock solid midsection.
- Chest - The landmine press also engages your pectoral muscles as you press the weight up. This provides a greater chest workout than traditional overhead presses.
- Legs - Your quadriceps help drive the initial press while your glutes stabilize your body throughout the movement.
It's an excellent full body exercise that builds serious shoulder and core strength while working the arms, back, chest, and legs. No muscle gets left behind!
Variations of the Landmine Press Exercise
There are several variations of the landmine press to target different muscle groups:
Standing Landmine Press
This is the standard landmine press using both arms while standing. It directly builds overhead pressing strength. Perform it by pressing the barbell from your upper chest to fully extended arms overhead.
Kneeling Landmine Press
The half-kneeling landmine press reduces lower body involvement and instead forces your core to work harder to stabilize your torso as you press the barbell overhead.
Single Arm Landmine Press
Using one arm at a time increases the core activation to resist rotational forces. It also improves scapular stability unilaterally. Alternate arms with each rep.
Banded Landmine Press
Looping a resistance band around the barbell creates accommodating resistance. As you press the weight up, the band pulls the barbell back down, increasing the challenge.
Strap the barbell into the landmine low to the ground. Row the barbell with an underhand grip to work your upper back.
Landmine Squat Press
Combine a squat holding the barbell before pressing it overhead. This synergistic movement recruits even more muscle fibers in your legs and increases core activation.
Generate explosive power by quickly pressing the barbell overhead then releasing it upward. Catch the barbell on its descent and repeat.
There are unlimited ways to get creative with landmine exercises. Experiment to find variations you enjoy to build power and muscle.
Proper Form and Technique for the Landmine Press
Proper form is crucial when performing overhead presses to prevent injury. Follow these landmine press technique tips:
- Load the barbell into the landmine so it rests at about hip height. Use enough weight to challenge your muscles but not so much you compromise form.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in an athletic stance. Grasp the barbell with your palms facing forward using a full grip. Engage your lats and upper back before lifting.
- Initiate the press by driving through your legs, not your lower back. Keep your core braced to stabilize your spine in a neutral position. Do not arch your back.
- Keep your elbows tucked close to your sides as you press the barbell straight overhead. Do not allow the barbell to drift forward. Keep your wrists straight.
- Fully lock out your arms overhead while maintaining tension in your lats and shoulders. Do not hyperextend your shoulders.
- Slowly lower the barbell back to upper chest height under control. Do not round your shoulders. Keep your core tight.
- Breathe out as you press the barbell overhead and breathe in as you lower it. Do not hold your breath.
- Keep the barbell close to your body throughout the press. Letting it drift forward places excessive strain on the shoulders.
- Use a full range of motion pressing from your upper chest through fully extended arms overhead. Partial reps compromise results.
- Keep your torso stationary throughout. Avoid excessive arching backwards or rotating side to side.
Maintaining proper alignment, bracing your core, using a full range of motion, and controlling the weight builds strength and prevents injury.
Benefits of the Landmine Press Exercise
Adding the landmine press to your training provides many performance and physique benefits:
- Builds overhead pressing strength - Pressing weights overhead develops stronger, more powerful shoulders. The unique angled press of the landmine variation allows greater range of motion for your shoulders compared to standard overhead presses.
- Engages your core - Your core must brace to stabilize your spine and resist rotation during the angled press. This strengthens your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles.
- Improves scapular stability - Keeping your shoulders stable and avoiding rounding or shrugging during overhead presses improves scapular function for healthy shoulders.
- Adds variation - The landmine press introduces new challenges to your training compared to just using barbells and dumbbells for presses. Variety prevents training plateaus.
- Unilateral training - Performing single arm landmine presses improves shoulder stability unilaterally and enhances core activation by resisting rotation.
- Builds muscle size - The heavy loads used for lower rep landmine presses build muscular size and strength in your shoulders, arms, upper back, and core.
- Fixes muscle imbalances - The angled press improves weaknesses or imbalances between your shoulders, chest, and back by working all those muscles together.
- Increases work capacity - The landmine press taxes your muscles in a new way that forces adaptation and increased work capacity compared to standard presses.
- Develops explosive power - Quickly pressing the weight builds fast twitch muscle fibers for powerful shoulders and greater athleticism.
The landmine press checks off all the boxes for an exercise that builds muscle, burns fat, and boosts performance. It's a versatile movement you can tailor to your specific goals.
Common Mistakes Lifters Make
The landmine press is more technical than it looks. Avoid these common form mistakes:
- Not bracing your core - Allowing your lower back to arch or torso to twist can lead to back injury when pressing heavy weights overhead. Keep your core tight.
- Pressing too far forward - The barbell should travel straight up and down, not drift forward. Pressing too far forward can strain your shoulders.
- Not engaging your lats - Failing to keep your lats tight limits scapular stability overhead and can cause shoulder impingement.
- Bending your wrists - Your wrists should remain straight and aligned with your forearms. Bending your wrists places stress on the joint.
- Overextending your shoulders - Avoid locking out your shoulders past full extension overhead. This can pinch the rotator cuff muscles.
- Using momentum - Don't swing the weight upward or use your body momentum to get the bar moving. Strict form builds more strength.
- Partial range of motion - Maximize results by pressing through the full range of motion from upper chest to overhead.
- Losing tension at the top - Keep your shoulders and lats engaged at the top. Don't relax once your arms lock out overhead.
Master your technique with lighter loads before increasing the weight to maximize results and prevent injury.
How to Incorporate the Landmine Press into Your Workouts
Here are a few tips for including landmine presses into your training:
- Perform landmine presses at the start of your shoulder workout after a warm-up to pre-exhaust your shoulders before other pressing or isolation exercises. Or do them at the end as a finisher exercise to torch your shoulders.
- For general strength building, perform heavier landmine presses in lower rep ranges (3-6 reps per set). Take 2-3 minutes rest between sets.
- For increased muscle size, use a moderate weight for higher reps (8-12 reps per set). Take 1-2 minutes rest between sets.
- Consider alternating between two arm and one arm landmine press each workout to build bilateral and unilateral shoulder strength.
- Start with 3-5 sets per workout. Adjust volume based on your recovery capacity and goals.
- Use the landmine row or squat variation on your back or leg workout days to build full body strength.
- Superset landmine presses with lateral raises or front raises for an intense shoulder pump.
The landmine press is a versatile exercise you can implement into various training splits to build full body strength and balance.
Accessory Exercises to Pair with the Landmine Press
Make the most out of landmine press days by pairing it with complimentary exercises:
- Overhead cable face pulls - Counteract internal rotation from pressing by training external rotation.
- Band pull aparts - Improve scapular retraction and posterior shoulder strength.
- Dumbbell lateral raises - Isolate the side delts for rounder shoulder caps.
- Incline dumbbell chest press - Shift emphasis to the upper pecs between landmine sets.
- Triceps pushdowns - Further work the triceps engaged during the landmine press.
- Hanging leg raises - Double down on core activation with this abdominal exercise.
Choose 1-2 accessory movements that provide muscle balance and prehabilitation for the shoulders.
Sample Landmine Press Workout Routine
Here's an example workout to incorporate the landmine press:
Landmine Press Workout
- Foam roll thoracic spine: 2-3 mins
- Band dislocations: 10-15 reps
- 3-4 sets x 6-10 reps (increase weight each set)
- Overhead cable face pull: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Dumbbell lateral raise: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Plank circuit 3 rounds: 45s front plank, 30s each side plank
The landmine press combines well with shoulder prehab and accessory work to build a strong, balanced physique.
Program it 1-2 times per week for optimal results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common landmine press questions:
How much weight should I use for the landmine press?
Start lighter than you think - somewhere around 25% of your barbell overhead press weight for the same reps. The instability of the landmine press makes it deceptively hard. Increase the load gradually focusing on proper form.
Can I substitute a dumbbell for the barbell?
Yes. You can substitute a single dumbbell or kettlebell if you don't have access to a barbell. The movement pattern remains the same pressing it overhead from the corner of a wall.
Is the landmine press safe for my shoulders?
Performing the landmine press through a full range of motion engages all the shoulder muscles safely with less strain compared to other overhead presses. Pay close attention to form to prevent injury.
Should I lean back when pressing?
Avoid excessive leaning or arching when pressing overhead. Some backward lean is acceptable, but keep your core braced to avoid hyperextending your lower back. Keep the bar path as straight up and down as possible.
How does the landmine press compare to shoulder press machines?
Free weights like the landmine press engage more stabilizer muscles for greater strength gains compared to machines that stabilize the weight for you. Include both in your training for maximum results.
The landmine press ticks all the boxes for a phenomenal strength training movement. It builds muscle, engages your core, improves shoulder stability, fixes imbalances, and introduces unique challenges to break through plateaus.
Use proper form, brace your core, control the weight, and work through a full range of motion to maximize results and prevent injury.
Consider including landmine presses into your upper body days 1-2 times per week to build powerful shoulders and greater full body strength.
It's one of the most underrated exercise variations out there for sculpted shoulders and chiseled core strength. Add the landmine press to elevate your training to the next level!