Jan 24, 2018
Focus on the Shoulder

There is no question that coaches want to get the most out of every minute with their athletes. Adding exercises that serve multiple purposes can be a way to maximize this time, while also ensuring athletes receive the training they need. For coaches hoping to do this, the landmine press is a great addition to your athletes’ workout regime.

In a blog for Barbend, Mike Dewar, CSCS, NSCAS, USAWL2, writes that the primary muscles groups targeted with the landmine press are the anterior shoulder, rhomboids, upper trap, triceps, upper pectoral, posterior shoulder, abdominals, obliques, glutes, and erectors. He also explains that, along with engaging these muscles, one of the main benefits of the landmine press is building core stability.

“The landmine press is a challenging shoulder pressing movement, however due to the asymmetrical and unilateral loading properties is an effective core strengthening exercise as well,” writes Dewar. “Anti-rotational strength is needed to resist spinal and pelvis rotation during a press, which can help to develop anti-rotational performance necessary for running, jumping, and other athletic movements.”

Another benefit, according to Dewar, is increasing strength and neurological coordination of the rhomboids, scapular stabilizers, and smaller muscles of the shoulder capsule. This helps develop strength and stability in the shoulder. In a blog for Stack.com, Strength and Conditioning Coach Dr. John Rusin echoes this sentiment.

“Due to the barbell’s angled position, constant force and tension is placed on the body at all times,” writes Rusin. “Also, the exercises hit your muscles differently than standard barbell and dumbbell moves, recruiting more muscle fibers to stabilize the shoulder and produce greater strength.”

As with any exercise, it is important to understand the correct technique in order to decrease the chance of injury. Here are the steps to engaging in the landmine press, laid out by Rusin.

  1. Use a landmine machine or place one end of the barbell in the corner of a room. Make sure the barbell is against the corner to minimize the risk of it shifting during training.
  2. In a standing position, facing the barbell, assume an athletic stance.
  3. Make sure your core and pelvis are stable and your back is flat. Squeeze hard to maintain this posture.
  4. Start the bar at the front of your shoulder, not too close to midline.
  5. Drive the bar up in a controlled manner while maintaining core stability. Be sure to incorporate smooth movements of the shoulder blade rotating up and around your rib case on the back side.
  6. Control the bar back down to starting position while maintaining tension throughout the shoulder.
  7. After mastering these steps, incorporate a slight forward lean as you press the bar overhead.

In a blog for T-Nation, Personal Trainer Nick Tumminello offers some tips for getting the most out of the landmine press. First, at the bottom of the repetition, he recommends keeping your arm close to your torso and elbow directly behind the center of the bar. At this point, your forearm should form a 90-degree angle with the barbell. Another tip is to make sure you are pressing the barbell in a straight line.

“Don’t press the bar toward the midline of your body; keep it in line with your same-side shoulder as you press it up and out,” writes Tumminello. “The closer you get to the midline of your body when pressing with a single arm, the closer you get to losing control of the bar.”

Other tips from Tumminello include keeping your wrist straight and your torso strong and stable throughout the exercise. Tumminello also explains a few variations of the exercise. First is to add a band to create continually greater resistance as your athletes grow stronger. He explains that athletes should anchor the band under their front leg. And if more resistance is needed, athletes can wrap the band once around the anchor foot to shorten it.

One other variation from Tuminello is the landmine turn-away press. To do this exercise, athletes will turn away from the bar instead of facing it straight on.

“If you’re holding the barbell in your right hand, you’ll turn your body roughly 45-degrees to the left to perform the press,” writes Tumminello. “This variation not only changes the angle or press, but also creates a more lateral challenge to your hips and torso in order to maintain a strong and stable position.”

Watch this video from strength and performance expert Tony Gentilcore to see the landmine press in action and learn some common mistakes and coaching cues.

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