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How to Do the Landmine Press + 7 Variations | Videos

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When anyone talks about the landmine press, it’s possible that they could be talking about one of two exercises. For us, the landmine press is a chest dominant exercise that uses both hands to press an angled barbell.

The other alternative is what we would call the single arm landmine press. This exercise recruits the chest muscles, but better works the shoulders (delts), scapular stabilisers (shoulder blades), and the triceps.

Below, you can learn how to do both exercises and check out the landmine press benefits. After that, stick with us because we explain how to do 7 advanced alternative landmine exercises that will really challenge your strength and your core stability.

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Contents:

  • How to Do the Single Arm Landmine Press + Benefits
  • How to Do the Landmine Press (Both Hands) + Benefits
  • Landmine Press Muscles Worked
  • 7 Landmine Press Variations

How to Do the Landmine Press 

 

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The Single Arm Landmine Press

This exercise is also known as the ‘landmine shoulder press’ because it’s very shoulder dominant. Whatever you wish to call it, here's how to do it!

Set-Up and Equipment

Place a barbell in a landmine holder. If your gym doesn’t have a landmine attachment, you can still do the landmine press. Just set up a barbell on a sturdy base, we’ve found that placing the bar in a corner works just as well. If you’re concerned about damaging the wall, wrap the end of the barbell in a gym towel. Then load the top side of the bar and you’re good to go!

Starting Position

single arm landmine press

  • Pick up the barbell from the floor and hold the weighted end of the barbell with your left hand.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Lean towards the barbell slightly and tighten your core muscles – this will help you with stabilisation.

Execution

single-arm landmine press

  • Press the weight up by extending at your elbow.
  • As you extend your arm, press the weight straight forwards so that it stays in line with your shoulder.
  • At the top of the move, your elbow should as straight as possible without hyperextending. Keeping this slight bend in your elbow will keep your muscles under tension and reduce your risk of injury.
  • Pause for a moment before slowly bending at the elbow to lower the barbell back towards your shoulder.
  • Perform the first set with your left arm, and then swap to the right arm for the second set.

Single Arm Landmine Press Muscles Worked 

Main Muscles: Deltoids and Scapular Stabilisers.

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, Traps, Obliques

Sets & Reps

The number of sets and reps you should do all depends on your exercise goals.

Muscular Strength: 5 reps, 5 sets.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Size): 8-12 reps, 4 sets.

Muscular Enduracnce: 18-20 reps, 2-3 sets.

Single Arm Landmine Press Benefits

Both versions of the landmine press are pretty similar, with the main difference being that this is a unilateral exercise. Check out the benefits that are unique to the single-arm landmine press below. After that, keep reading for how to do the landmine press with both hands, plus exercise video tutorials for 7 variations!

Build Core Stability

landmine press muscles worked abs diagram

During this movement, the core muscles, particularly the obliques, are recruited to help with balance and stabilisation. For that reason, this exercise is an effective way to improve your core stability and strength.

Your core muscles are the basis of almost every movement, so strengthening these muscles will improve your athletic ability and reduce your risk of injury. If that isn’t enough, having a stable core will improve your posture.

A study by Pandey (2019) acknowledged that core strength is the basis of all physical activity and therefore investigated the extent of how core exercises benefit sports. The results of the study showed that there was significant improvement on back and leg strength among cricket players who exercised core strengthening movements as opposed to those who did not.

Shoulder Development

landmine press benefits for shoulders graphic

Keeping the weight in line with your shoulder (rather than moving it towards the middle of your body as you would for the landmine press with both hands) means that this exercise puts the majority of the load on the shoulders. A huge advantage of this exercise is that it increases the size of your shoulders and strengthens the scapular stabilisers and deltoids. It makes sense that it’s often referred to as the landmine shoulder press.

This exercise has high loading potential, so there’s opportunity for serious gains if you train with an angled barbell. Sculpted shoulders are something that a lot of clients strive towards, if your goals are similar, it is essential that you try this exercise.

Unilateral Exercise

how to do single single arm landmine press graphic

This exercise is unilateral, meaning you train one side of your body at a time. Unilateral exercises are important because muscle imbalances are pretty common. With the likes of a regular shoulder press, it’s common that the dominant side of your body will take on more of the strain. This is usually subconscious so it’s hard to correct by training bilateral movements alone.

Unilateral training is the best way to prevent or correct muscle imbalances. During the likes of the single-arm landmine press, your non-dominant side is forced to take on all of the weight and therefore has to work just as hard as the dominant side of your body.

Another benefit of X was highlighted in a study by Weir, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, measured participant 1 rep max over a period of 8 weeks and found that unilateral strength training increased bilateral strength.

Shoulder Safety

landmine press benefits for reducing strain on shoulder graphic

Overhead presses are the ultimate move for shoulder development, but not everyone can master the execution. With poor execution, comes poor results and the potential for injury, so its best avoided.

A lack of strength or mobility in the shoulder can make an overhead press pretty uncomfortable.

If you struggle or experience pain when trying to lift your arms fully overhead, you aren’t alone. Luckily, you’ve found this post! Single arm landmine presses require a lot less shoulder flexion, making it a shoulder-friendly movement that still gives real results. 

Acts as A Progression Exercise

press up graphic

For anyone who isn’t as confident with free-weight training, the landmine can be used to work towards overhead presses. Push-ups are a classic but when it comes to strength training, bodyweight exercises aren’t always enough. The landmine press is the perfect middle ground, not quite a free-weight movement but enough to build muscle.

Variations 

There are also single-arm variations of this exercise, all of which can make it more difficult – adding to the benefits! Using less weight is the best way to make this movement easier, but if you want a more advanced exercise, the options include resistance bands and kneeling variations. Check them out below, but first here's how to do the landmine press with both hands. 

 

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How to Do the Landmine Press (both hands)

Set-Up and Equipment 

Place a barbell in a landmine holder or set up a barbell in a corner as explained above. Then add weight plates to the free end of the barbell.

Starting Position 

landmine squat press image 2

  • Lift the barbell and hold it with both hands, just in front of your chest.
  • To secure the barbell, you can interlock your hands around the bar.
  • Position your feet around shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean your body forwards slightly and engage your core muscles to help with stabilisation.

Execution

landmine squat press image 3

  • Press the barbell up straight in front of you until your arms are extended, avoiding hyperextension at the elbows.
  • Hold the weight for a second and focus on contracting your chest muscles.
  • Slowly lower the weight back towards your chest and then repeat for the recommended reps (see below). 

Landmine Press Muscles Worked

Obviously you want to know what the landmine press muscles worked are, that determines what day this exercise will fit into your routine. Plus, if we're all being honest, no one would do this exercise if it didn't work any muscles, so here they are!

Main Muscles: Chest

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, Deltoids, and Core Muscles.

Landmine Press Benefits

We'd say that this is our favourite of the two exercises reffered to as the landmine press, why? Check out these benefits and you'll agree!

Hypertrophy

graphic showing chest are landmine press muscles worked

When setting up the landmine press, there’s potential to stack weight plates high. If you’re up to the challenge, this exercise has a high loading potential, and with increased resistance comes increased hypertrophy.

Want to build muscle on your chest? Obviously, you do. The landmine press is brilliant for shedding fat and building muscle. The chest is one of the main mirror muscles so any exercise that allows you to build the size of these muscles is key to building a bigger upper body.

If your exercise goals are aesthetic based, load a barbell and do the landmine press. You can thank us later!

Shoulder-Friendly

landmine press vs bench press graphic

The landmine press is a killer for building your upper body, but what’s wrong with a traditional bench press? Nothing! The bench press is the ultimate chest exercise, but it’s not uncommon for this exercise to cause or highlight shoulder pain. This pain is often caused by a lack of shoulder mobility.

If you struggle with this then you’re in the right place. The landmine press is a chest burning alternative to the overhead press that is a little easier on the joints without comprising the benefits for strength and muscle size.

Strengthen Core

landmine press benefits for abs graphic

After comparing this exercise to the bench press, we had to mention the landmine press benefits for building core strength. In most ways, the bench press is the ultimate chest exercise, so we had to give this one to the landmine press.

Lying down on a bench is a pretty obvious part of the bench press, of course lying down doesn’t recruit the core muscles. On the other hand, the landmine press is executed whilst standing. During the movement, the core has to work hard to keep the body stable and balanced. For that reason, the landmine press benefits the core, mainly the strength of the obliques.

Upper-Body Strength

landmine press muscles worked diagram

Wait! There are more to the landmine benefits for building chest muscle than aesthetics. This exercise is also great for building strength, mainly in the chest but also in the muscles that work alongside – the triceps and the deltoids.

Initially, building strength is a secondary goal for the average gym-goer or PT client, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Building a strong upper body has tons of transferable benefits for everyday activities. Admit it, it always feels good to be the go-to person in the office when there’s heavy lifting to be done.

In general, the stronger you are, the less likely it is that you’ll get injured easily. You’ll feel happier and healthier, and more motivated to keep up the hard work. What’s not to like?

Variations

man giving thumbs up for landmine press alternative

We love variety in a workout, so any exercise that has a ton of variations is right up our street. For an intense workout that will work your chest harder, and recruit your core and lower body muscles more, we highly recommend you try out every landmine press alternative below. But first, here’s our guide to the single arm landmine press.

7 Landmine Press Variations

Shoulder-To-Shoulder Landmine Press

Landmine exercises aren’t just good for shoulder and chest development, for an exercise that will really work your core, try the shoulder-to-shoulder landmine press. This movement involves shifting weight from one side of your body to the other, so it requires your core muscles to work a lot harder to stabilise your body.

Set-Up and Equipment 

  • Set a barbell in a landmine holder or position it securely in a corner.
  • Load the barbell with weight plates.

Starting Position

single leg banded landmine press image 3

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and pick up the barbell.
  • Hold the bar in both hands and position it just in front of your right (see video) shoulder.
  • Interlock your hands to keep the weight secure. 

Execution

single leg banded landmine press image 1

  • Press the weight up and move it towards the centre of your body. When your arms are extended, the barbell should be directly in front of you (as it would be at the top of the movement of the landmine press with both hands).

shoulder to shoulder landmine press image 2

  • Without pausing, lower the barbell towards your left shoulder – that’s one rep.

Landmine Twist

A landmine twist is an anti-rotation core exercise. They’re is pretty similar to the shoulder-to-shoulder landmine press. Both are brilliant for building the core muscles, particularly the obliques. The landmine twist is slightly more advanced, if you can handle the shoulder- to-shoulder landmine press, give this variation a try.

Set-Up and Equipment

Set-up the barbell in a landmine or securely in a corner and load the bar with weight plates.

Starting Position

landmine twist image 1

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Using both hands, extend your arms and hold to one side of your body.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbow.
  • Engage your core muscles. 

Execution

landmine twist image 2

  • Keeping your arms extended, twist your body so that the barbell moves in front of you.

landmine twist image 3

  • Without stopping, move the barbell down to the opposite side of your body.
  • Repeat the movement, moving the weight back up to the starting position and then continuing straight to your opposite side.

Banded Landmine Press

The banded landmine press is a slightly more difficult exercise. Without a resistance band, you will find the weight lighter towards the top of the movement. Using resistance bands will add more resistance as you press the weight, keeping your muscle under tension and building more strength.

Set-Up and Equipment

Set up as you would for the regular single arm landmine press, positioning the barbell in the landmine holder or a corner and then loading it with weight plates. For this variation, you will also need a resistance band. 

Starting Position

banded landmine press image

  • Face the barbell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place the resistance band underneath both of your feet and wrap the other end of the band around the top of the barbell.
  • Lift the weight and hold it in both hands, just in front of your chest.

Execution

resistance band landmine press

  • Press the weight up in front of you until your arms are extended.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and focus on contracting the muscles in your chest.
  • Slowly lower the weight back to your chest and repeat.

Single Arm Banded Landmine Press

Resistance bands can also be used as an advanced variation of the single-arm landmine press. The main difference between this exercise and the one above is the muscles worked. If you aren’t afraid of a challenge, both banded landmine movements can make up a killer chest and shoulder workout. 

Set-Up and Equipment

Place a barbell in a landmine holder or secure it a corner of the gym. Load the free end of the barbell and grab a resistance band. 

Starting Position

single leg banded landmine press image 1

  • Stand in a split stance with your left leg in front of you.
  • Place the resistance band around your left foot and wrap the other end of the band around the top of the barbell.
  • Hold the barbell in your right hand and position it just in front of your right shoulder.

Execution

single leg banded landmine press image 2

  • Extend at the elbow to push the weight up.
  • Ensure that the weight is pushing straight forwards so that it remains in line with the right shoulder and doesn’t shift towards the centre of your body (that is a totally different exercise).
  • Pause for a moment when your arm is extended, keeping a slight bend at the elbow to avoid hyperextension.
  • Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position, carefully controlling the movement of the barbell against the pull of the resistance band.
  • Repeat the movement in this position for the first set and then swap so that your right leg is in front and you are pressing with your left arm. Always use your front foot to anchor the resistance band. 

Kneeling Landmine Press

This exercise is also known as the landmine chest press. It has a huge emphasis on muscle gain. Kneeling eliminates the involvement of the legs and shifts even more strain onto the chest and the triceps. For that reason, this exercise is brilliant for upper body isolation.

Set-Up and Equipment

  • Place a barbell in a landmine attachment or fix it in a corner.
  • Add weight plates to the free end.
  • Find something comfortable to kneel on (an ab pad, for example).

Starting Position

kneeling landmine press image 1

  • Kneel on the ab mat, positioning your knees together.
  • Grab the top of the barbell with both hands.
  • Hold the barbell just in front of your chest.
  • Position yourself so that you’re leant slightly forwards and tighten your core muscles.

Execution

kneeling landmine press image 2

  • Like the standing landmine press (with both hands), push the barbell up until there is only a slight bend at your elbow.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, contracting your chest muscles.
  • Slowly lower the barbell back to your chest – that’s one rep!

Half Kneeling Landmine Press 

The half kneeling landmine press is a variation of the single arm landmine press that will require a little more work from your core muscles. Here’s how to do it:

Set-Up and Equipment

  • Place a barbell in a landmine or secure it in a corner as explained above and add weight plates to the barbell.
  • You’ll need something comfortable to kneel on to avoid injuring your knees, we usually go for an ab pad.

Starting Position 

half kneeling landmine press image 1

  • To take the half knee stance, bend and kneel on your right knee, and position your left leg in front of you, forming a right angle between your thigh and your lower leg.
  • Pick up the barbell with your right hand and hold it just in front of your right shoulder.
  • Lean your upper body forwards slightly and tighten your muscles.

Execution

half kneeling landmine press image 2

  • Extend your elbow and flex your shoulder to press the weight up.
  • As you press the weight, keep the barbell in line with your shoulder (Rather than moving it to the middle of your body – this is another landmine press alternative that we’ll explain shortly).
  • Focus on keeping your body in position, keeping your muscles contracted will help.
  • When your arm is extended pause for a second before slowly lowering the weight back to your shoulder.
  • Complete the first set with your right arm, and then swap to use the opposite arm and leg position for the next set. 

Landmine Squat Press

For a variation of the landmine press that also recruits the lower body muscles, try the landmine squat press. This exercise combines the press movement with a landmine squat, which you can learn how to do here.

Set-Up and Equipment

Place a barbell in a landmine holder or place it in a corner. Then add weight plates to the free end of the bar.

Starting Position

landmine squat press image 2

  • Lift the barbell up and hold it with both hands, just in front of your chest.
  • Secure the barbell by interlocking your hands.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.

Execution

landmine squat press image 1

  • Keep the weight at your chest and squat down to parallel and pause for a moment.

landmine squat press image 3

  • Push yourself back up, still holding the weight in the original position.
  • Press the barbell up straight in front of you until your arms are extended without hyperextending the elbows.
  • Hold the weight for a second and focus on contracting your chest muscles.
  • Slowly lower the weight back towards your chest and then repeat the whole movement.

Before You Go!

We hope that you enjoyed our guide to the landmine press, if you enjoyed this, check out:

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References

Maclinnid, M. et al. (2017). Investigating human skeletal muscle physiology with unilateral exercise models: when one limb is more powerful than two. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 42 (6), pp. 563-570.

Weir, J. et al. (1995). The effect of unilateral eccentric weight training and detraining on joint angle specificity, cross-training, and the bilateral deficit. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 5 (22), pp. 207-215.

Pandey, P. (2019). Effect of core immovability training on trunk stability of cricket players. European Journal Of Physical Education And Sport Science. 9 (5), pp. 74-79.

 

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Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer, taking particular interest in Group Exercise. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class.