The landmine press is an effective upper-body pushing exercise that builds strength and muscle mass in the shoulders, triceps, scapula, and core. The landmine press can be performed one arm at a time (unilaterally) or bilaterally by gripping the barbell with both hands. Here’s how to perform the landmine press with proper form, key muscles worked, and benefits of this upper body exercise.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Perform the Landmine Press with Poper Form
- 2 Landmine Press Benefits
- 3 Landmine Press Muscles Worked
- 4 Landmine Press FAQs
- 5 Other Exercise Posts
- 5.1 How to Perform the Overhead Press with Proper Form
- 5.2 Bear Crawls: Benefits, Proper Form, and Muscles Worked
- 5.3 Seated Cable Row Benefits, Form, and Muscles Worked
- 5.4 The Top 5 Leg Press Muscles Worked
- 5.5 How to Front Squat with Proper Form
- 5.6 Hammer Curl Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 5.7 The 8 Best Deadlift Benefits
- 5.8 How to Do a Lat Pulldown with Proper Form
- 5.9 The 5 Best Gym Machines for Chest
- 5.10 The Top 9 Muscles Worked with Deadlifts
- 5.11 T-Bar Row Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 5.12 Leg Extension Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 5.13 Hack Squat Muscles Worked and Benefits
- 5.14 Front Squat Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 5.15 The 8 Main Muscle Groups Worked by Squats
- 5.16 How to Squat with Perfect Form
- 5.17 Decline Bench Press Benefits and Muscles Worked
- 5.18 The 7 Best Compound Chest Exercises
How to Perform the Landmine Press with Poper Form
The landmine press can be performed bilaterally (gripping the end of the barbell with both hands) or unilaterally. Here, we’ll explain how to perform the unilateral landmine press, training one arm at a time.
- Load barbell inserted into landmine attachment with desired weight. An unloaded end of barbell placed into wall corner can also be substituted, remembering to pad it with a towel or mat to prevent damaging the wall.
- Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart and core, glutes, and quads braced. Alternatively, assume a half-kneeling position with same-side knee as working arm planted on the floor and opposite leg bent at 90 degrees with foot firmly planted. This variation is excellent for isolating the upper body and preventing momentum from legs to assist the exercise.
- Clean end of barbell sleeve closest to the torso up to shoulder of arm being training first. Keep back tall and core engaged, and rest end of the barbell just above deltoid.
- Lean forward slightly so upper body gently presses against force of barbell.
- Keeping lower body stationary, squeeze shoulders and lats to press barbell until elbow is straight and weight is overhead.
- Slowly bend elbow and keep triceps tense as barbell returns to starting position.
- Repeat for desired number of reps, reset starting position, and repeat on opposite side. Always perform an even number of sets and reps per arm.
Check out this video from Colossus Fitness for a visual demonstration of the half-kneeling landmine press.
For a demonstration of the standing single-arm landmine press, here’s a video from Functional Bodybuilding.
Landmine Press Exercise Tips
- Keep chin tucked
- Press weight on slight angle
- Match breath to movement
- Keep wrist and forearm aligned
Keep chin tucked
Always tuck the chin during a landmine press to maintain a straight line from the head to the tailbone. A slight chin tuck helps align the spine and prevents excessive strain on the upper traps and neck. Keeping a neutral and supported upper spine also allows for generating more power. When the chin juts forward, the shoulders and neck can round, compromising spinal health and safety.
Press weight on slight angle
When performing a landmine press, it is crucial to press away at a slight angle rather than straight up and down for exercise safety and effectiveness. Pressing at an angle allows for a more natural and biomechanically efficient movement pattern, reducing the stress on the shoulder joints and minimizing the risk of injury. It also engages a broader range of muscles, including the deltoids, triceps, and core stabilizing muscles.
Match breath to movement
Keep a conscious, even breathing pattern to get the most out of the landmine press. Inhale before each rep to brace the torso and core, and exhale at the bottom of the eccentric portion of the lift. Paying attention to the breath also helps control the tempo for more time under tension and avoids ‘bouncing’ the bar off the shoulder.
Keep wrist and forearm aligned
Wrap the thumb around the end of the barbell for added stability. Wrapping around the ‘butt’ of the barbell helps keep the wrist stacked so it doesn’t bend backward as the forearms, triceps, and shoulders start to fatigue.
Landmine Press Common Mistakes
- Incorrect hand placement
- Flaring ribs
- Shoulders rolling forward
- Leaning backward
Incorrect hand placement
Keep the wrists neutral and palms facing inward rather than toward the ceiling. Letting the palm face up means that the wrist is bearing the full weight of the barbell, which can compromise or injure this delicate joint. Keep a straight wrist by cupping the barbell in the lower palm and wrapping the thumb around the end of the bar to protect the wrist and keep the shoulder and pec region open and engaged.
Flaring the ribs
Keeping the ribcage down and engaging the core throughout the landmine press is essential. Flaring the ribs can lead to an excessive arch in the lower back, compromising spinal alignment and increasing the risk of injury. Keeping the ribs down and the core engaged improves stability, protects the spine, and promotes a safer movement pattern.
Shoulders rolling forward
During a landmine press, always maintain an open and stable shoulder and bicep tendon area without allowing the shoulders to cave inward. Instead of relying on momentum and shrugging the shoulders, focus on controlled movements while pressing and lowering the weight. Keep the lats and deltoids engaged throughout each set, ensuring tension and stability. Pressing at a slight forward angle is vital to protecting the shoulder joint. By following these guidelines, you’ll optimize your landmine press, minimize the risk of injury, and promote an effective workout.
During the overhead press portion of the lift, many lifters naturally tend to lean backward. However, it’s important to stay upright throughout each rep and set to prevent overextending the lower back. Leaning back under heavier weights can risk injuring the lower spine and failing to engage the target muscle groups of the landmine press.
Landmine Press Benefits
- Builds functional fitness and strength
- Improves muscular balance and symmetry
- Strengthens the core
- Engages multiple muscle groups
- Allows more natural movement of the scapula
Builds functional fitness and strength
Perfecting the technique for any overhead press variation translates into other lifts, like the clean and jerk or the barbell military press. The bar path of the landmine press is particularly good at strengthening the scapula stabilizers and improving functional fitness during activities of daily living, such as reaching and lifting objects from high shelves or carrying heavy items.
Improves muscular balance and symmetry
Bilateral pressing exercises like bench presses and barbell shoulder presses often favor one side of the body. Unilateral pressing movements like the landmine press can identify and correct differences in muscle mass, strength, or stability between the left and right sides of the body. Unilateral training promotes balanced muscular development and enhances overall symmetry, improving functional movement patterns and reducing injury risk.
Strengthens the core
Landmine presses are great for improving core stability, particularly for the obliques. The obliques work during a landmine press to resist the lateral pull of the barbell and keep the torso straight. Anti-rotational core exercises like the landmine press are fantastic for building functional core and abdominal strength that protects the spine and promotes proper form.
Engages multiple muscle groups
Landmine presses recruit muscle groups throughout the upper and lower body to keep the barbell stable and aligned correctly. The landmine press targets similar muscles to a traditional barbell shoulder press without requiring advanced shoulder mobility, making it an excellent choice for lifters of all experience levels.
Allows more natural movement of the scapula
Compared to a bilateral barbell shoulder press, the landmine shoulder press allows freer movement of the shoulder blades. Some lifters find keeping a pronated grip during these pressing exercises uncomfortable for the shoulder. The landmine press allows greater shoulder mobility, making it more comfortable and accessible.
Landmine Press Muscles Worked
- Core muscles
- Scapula stabilizers
During the landmine press, the deltoids contract to lift and stabilize the weight. The pressing motion works the deltoids’ anterior (front) and lateral heads, developing shoulder strength, stability, and muscle definition. Want more exercises to grow your delts? Check out our list of the best ways to build bigger shoulders.
The core and obliques work during the lift to stabilize the body and resist the barbell’s rotational force. The pressing motion, mainly when performed unilaterally, requires the core muscles to work in an anti-rotational isometric hold, preventing rotation and maintaining proper torso alignment. This exercise strengthens the core and obliques, enhancing stability, balance, and overall functional movement patterns.
Is oblique strength limiting strength and muscle growth goals? Here’s our list of the best ways to strengthen weak obliques.
The landmine press targets the triceps at the back of the upper arm to extend and straighten the arm, generating force to push the weight away. The triceps contract to control the weight during the pressing and lowering portions of the lift, recruiting the muscle fibers through both the stretched and lengthened positions for a great tricep workout.
To build thicker, muscular upper arms, check out this list for the best ways to grow your triceps.
The landmine press promotes shoulder stability, enhances scapular movement patterns, and helps prevent injuries by strengthening the rotator cuff and serratus anterior muscles. During the exercise, the rotator cuff muscles—comprising the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis—stabilize the shoulder joint. The pressing motion in the landmine press also engages the serratus anterior, a muscle responsible for protracting and stabilizing the scapulae.
While the primary focus of the landmine press is on the shoulders, it also engages the chest muscles, including the upper pectoralis major. The pressing motion involves horizontal adduction of the shoulder joint, which activates the upper chest fibers. The landmine press targets the upper pecs, increasing muscle activation, strength, and development in this area.
The traps are essential for keeping a stable and supported upper back during a landmine press. During the exercise, the trapezius muscles stabilize the shoulder girdle and scapulae, particularly the middle and lower fibers.
For ideas on building a stronger trapezius, check out this list of the best ways to strengthen weak traps.
Landmine Press FAQs
Both landmine press variations are effective in different ways. If you want to isolate the upper body as much as possible, a half-kneeling position can help reduce momentum and assistance from the lower body. If your goal is to lift maximum weights, you don’t mind a little leg involvement, or you trust yourself to stay strict, the standing landmine press variation works equally well.
The landmine press targets the upper pectoral muscles thanks to the angle of the pressing motion. Landmine presses mimic the movement pattern of an incline bench press, making it effective for the upper pecs. Check out this article for more ways to build a bigger upper chest.
Burning fat ultimately comes down to a calorie deficit, adequate protein intake, and strength training to retain muscle mass. However, landmine presses are a great full-body exercise that recruits multiple muscles and may help you keep strength and burn calories to reach your body composition goals.