Landmine Press – Form, Muscles Worked, and How-To Guide

The landmine press is a unique unilateral overhead pressing movement that can increase movement asymmetries, build scapular strength and stability, and improve overall health and development of the shoulder. In this landmine press guide we will discuss:

  • Landmine Press Form and Technique
  • Benefits of the Landmine Press
  • Muscles Worked by the Landmine Press
  • Landmine Press Sets, Reps, and Weight Recommendations
  • Landmine Press Variations and Alternatives
  • and more…

How to Do the Landmine Press

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to properly set up and perform the landmine press.

Step 1: Start by placing the end of a barbell into a landmine holster or by simply placing the end into a corner.

By placing the end of the barbell either into a landmine holster or into a corner, you can set the barbell in place so base doesn’t roll or slide away from you as you press.Starting the landmine press

Step 2: Take a kneeling stance, with the left leg in front and the right knee down. Grab the end of the landmine with the right hand and place it by your right shoulder.

Be sure to have your hips facing the base of the holster, so that you body is perpendicular to the end of the barbell. This will ensure you are not rotating the hips during the press.Starting the landmine press from the side

Step 3: With the hips under the body and lower back flat, contract your glutes and abs to (1) resist spinal extension and (2) to not allow the knee to pass the front toes.

This will force a lifter to lock down the limbs and torso, creating stability.Halfway through the landmine press

Step 4: When ready, press the end of the barbell up and away from the body.

Think about “reaching” the arm away from the body, keeping emphasis on the body positioning and keep the scapular region contracted.Side view of the landmine press

Step 5: At the top of the movement, the bicep should be by the ear, and the arm should be fully extended.

In addition, the hips should not have twisted or rotated and the shoulder-blade should be kept retracted and depressed down the back.Top of the landmine press

Step 6: Once you have stabilized the load overhead, slowly pull the arm back down to the body using the smaller muscles of the back and scapular region.

Once returned to the original starting position, be sure to not lose tension, but rather to pause and repeat for repetitions.

What is a Landmine Press?

The landmine press is a pressing variation that is done by using a barbell and placing it diagonally into a landmine holder (or simply setting it into a stable base, such as in the corner). In doing so, you can increase scapular stability, unilateral control, and can start to address shoulder/scapular instability issues for lifters who may not be ready to place loads overhead.

Landmine Press – Muscles Worked

Below are the muscle groups worked during the landmine press.

Scapular Stabilizers

The landmine press is dependent on the stabilization of the scapular region due to the angle and the unilateral nature of the press. Athletes who lack stabilization in the scapular region or have limitations overhead can use this exercise to increase basic overhead strength, muscle mass, and develop greater neurological control while pressing.

Triceps

Like most pressing movements, the triceps are involved during the final stages of elbow extension (towards the top of the press). While the triceps are not the primary muscle groups, they are responsible for assisting the shoulders in the lock out stages of the press.

Shoulders

The landmine press increases shoulder (deltoids) strength and muscular development, and can be placed within workout programs to diversify one’s movement patterning and muscle control.

Obliques

The landmine press and it’s variations challenge the obliques due to the unilateral nature of this pressing movement. During the landmine press, the athlete must stabilize the core and resist not only spinal extension, but also to withstand and stabilize any rotational forces that occur during the pressing movement.

3 Benefits of the Landmine Press

Below are three (3) main benefits of the landmine press coaches and athletes should be aware of when programming landmine presses into strength, power, and fitness programs.

Core Stability

Aside from the benefits of overhead pressing, the landmine press can increase core stability and anti-rotational strength. This is key for all overhead athletes looking to increase truck stabilization when moving loads overhead and to minimize spinal stress (such as shearing forces on the spine when the lumbar spine is exposed to excessive rotational/extension forces).

Scapular Control

Increasing scapular stability and control is key for athletes placing loads overhead. The landmine press reinforces proper scapular stabilization due to the pressing angle and loading of the barbell as it comes into and leaves the body (due to the unique pressing angle).

Increase Functional Pressing Strength

When we look at overall pressing strength, the landmine press can be used to increase scapular stability and shoulder strength, both necessary for hoisting large objects overhead. In performing this moment, coaches and athletes can address movement asymmetries, imbalances, and instability in the shoulder/scapular region.

Who Should Do Landmine Press?

The below section breaks down the benefits of the landmine press based on an lifter’s/athlete’s sport goals and abilities.

Landmine Presses for Strength and Power Athletes

The landmine press can be used as an accessory movement to increase overhead performance, strength, and to address any shoulder movement imbalance/instability. Lifters who may have limitations of pain in traditional overhead presses may find this angle to be less painful. Lifters who are experiencing pain while pressing should consult a trained physical therapists of professional.

Landmine Presses for Functional Fitness / CrossFit Athletes

While this movement will rarely (if ever) find its way into formal competition, it can be a good variation to increase unilateral strength, scapular control, and address any movement asymmetries and muscle imbalances for most overhead athletes.

Landmine Presses for General Fitness

The landmine press is a good movement to increase shoulder stabilization, strength, core stability, and reinforce proper overhead pressing mechanics with beginner lifters and/or those individuals who may have limitations when pressing a weight overhead.

Landmine Press Sets, Reps, and Weight Recommendations

Below are four sets, reps, and weight (intensity) recommendations for coaches and athletes to properly program the landmine press specific to the training goal. Note, that the below guidelines are simply here to offer coaches and athletes loose recommendations for programming.

Movement Integrity – Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

For most beginners and intermediate athletes, the landmine press can be done in accessory segments.The below sets and reps scheme can be used to help promote better overhead movement patterning, stability, and foundational strength.

  • 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions with light to moderate loads, at a controlled speed (focusing on proper eccentric/lowering of the weight), resting as needed

Muscle Hypertrophy – Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

The landmine press can be done to increase muscle mass and hypertrophy via increased rep ranges (with moderate loading) and the implementation of common variations such as tempos and nand training (see below).

  • 3-5 sets of 6-10 repetitions with moderate to heavy loads OR 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions with moderate loads to near failure, keeping rest periods 45-90 seconds

Strength – Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

The landmine press can be done for general strength, as it is often not done to promote 1-rep strength. That said, coaches and athletes can use the landmine press with moderate to heavy loading with the below sets and reps scheme.

  • 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with heavy loading, resting as needed

Muscle Endurance- Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

The landmine press can be used to increase muscle endurance for athletes who have a high dependency on shoulder, triceps, and upper body pressing in their sport (competitive athletes, climbers, boxers, etc). The below sets and reps ranges can be used.

  • 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions with light to moderate loads, keeping rest periods under 30-45 seconds

Landmine Press Variations

Below are four (4) landmine press variations that coaches and athletes can use to increase strength, muscle mass, and functional fitness.

Banded Landmine Press

The banded landmine press is a pressing variation that has a lifter place a band around an anchor (typically the front foot) and the end of the bar/hand to increase the resistance as the load is lifted. In doing so, the band will help to increase rate of force production of the pressing muscles.

Standing Landmine Press

The standing landmine press will demand greater body control and will allow a lifter to utilize the lower body to a greater extend (for stability) than with the kneeling progressions. In doing so, a lifter can often press heavier loads.

Single Arm Landmine Thruster

The single arm landmine thruster is a combination movement between a landmine squat and a landmine single arm press. This can be a good movement to help individuals add strength and stability to the thruster and vary the pressing movement if shoulder range of motion is a limitation.

Tempo Landmine Press

The tempo landmine press is nearly identical to the standard landmine press movement, with the exception that the repetitions are done on a set cadence throughout the eccentric, concentric, and end ranges of motion. By doing so, coaches and athletes can increase muscle coordination, positional strength, and increase muscle activation.

Single Arm Landmine Push Press

The single arm landmine push press can be done simply by adding some hip and knee bend to assist a standing single arm landmine press. In doing so, you can increase unilateral strength, coordination, and increase the amount of loading placed overhead.

Landmine Press Alternatives

Below are three (3) landmine press variations that offer coaches and athletes similar muscle development, scapular stabilization, and performance benefits.

Single Arm Kettlebell Press

The single arm kettlebell press is a unilateral pressing movement that can be used to increase unilateral strength, movement, and address asymmetries. The kettlebell, like the landmine press, focuses heavily on scapular stabilization and control, which is essential for nearly every strength, power, and fitness athlete.

Z Press

The Z Press is an overhead pressing movement that can be done to increase overhead strength, shoulder and triceps muscle mass, and promote proper overhead positioning and scapular stability for strength, power, and fitness athletes.

Strict Military Overhead Press

The overhead press, also known as the military press, is a pressing exercise that is highly beneficial to strength, power, and fitness athletes. This can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or axle bar to increase strength, movement patterning (for jerks, push presses, etc), and has a high application to weightlifting and competitive fitness movements.

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

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