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June 13, 2022 9 min read

The shoulders are a staple part of your upper body and building some serious muscle mass requires hard work and consistency. To help build broad shoulders and increase your strength you will need to occasionally change up your current shoulder workout, so to help with that, we'll to show you seven of the best landmine press alternatives.  

Why do Landmine Exercises for Shoulder Strength?

The landmine press is one of the most diverse shoulder exercises in the gym.

Using just a landmine anchor, some weights, and a barbell, you can train almost every muscle in your body, which includes your upper body, lower body, and core.

Plus, you get the added benefit that most landmine exercises are joint-friendly due to typically having to have a neutral grip.

Two of the best landmine exercises for shoulder strength are the standing overhead press and the kneeling landmine press. When done correctly, this exercise is like a standing incline press, so it hits your deltoids, chest, glutes, and triceps at the same time.

It can even be done bilaterally, meaning with two arms, or unilaterally using one arm at a time. The unilateral version is also a great core stability exercise that can also improve your core strength as well.

How to Avoid Plateauing When You Train

The landmine press, just like any other exercise, will start to become less beneficial if you do it over and over again without increasing the difficulty. Your body is great at adapting to situations and will get used to the demands of doing landmine presses all the time, which can result in fewer gains in muscle mass. To help repair those muscles after a demanding workout, make sure to check out Whey-Iso.    

To avoid training progress plateaus, it is essential to include plenty of variety in your workouts.

You don’t have to switch it up every week, but adjusting your workouts every 5-6 weeks should be just fine.

Once you start incorporating landmine presses into your workouts don’t overdo it and enjoy the new gains you are going to see. 

Below we break down seven landmine press alternatives to see your shoulder strength skyrocket. 

Landmine Press Muscle Breakdown

For any exercise to be considered a worthy alternative for the landmine press, it needs to incorporate the same muscle group(s).

The major muscle groups the landmine press works are the following:

  • Deltoids: The delts are your primary shoulder muscles. There are three sets of fibers, called heads, which work together but also have individual functions that will put more focus on one depending on the exercise. The most active delts during a landmine press are the anterior ones that are located on the front of your shoulder. Your medial (side delts) and posterior (rear deltoid) are mainly used as stabilizer muscles during a landmine shoulder press. 
  • Pectorals: Landmine presses tend to emphasize your upper chest, which is known as the clavicular head. It also works the pectoralis major, which is the largest part of your pecs.
  • Triceps: Located on the back of your upper arm, your triceps are responsible for extending your elbows during landmine presses.
  • Core: The core is a broad term that refers to the group of muscles that make up your midsection, including your rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae. These muscles work together to stabilize your spine when you do landmine presses. The unilateral version is more core-centric than the two-armed version.

Seven Landmine Press Alternatives

While the landmine press is an amazing movement, you always want to have some great alternatives to do as well. Sometimes the gym is going to be super busy and you won’t have room to set up a landmine press in a proper landmine attachment, or maybe you are just looking to try something different.

Here is our list of seven landmine press alternatives to try out the next time you’re in the gym:  

Half-Kneeling Cable Press

The half-kneeling cable press is a great press variation to the landmine press that does require a cable machine.

This alternative can be more difficult to perform because performing a press with a cable machine is more unstable and requires more core stability than a traditional landmine press.  

The half-kneeling cable press also provides the advantage of having options of choosing the angle to where the cable starts from. So by changing the angle of where the cable starts you can change how upright or horizontal the pressing motion is and what muscles are targeted more.

The more upright you are pressing the cable, the more it focuses on the deltoids. The more horizontal the cable press is, the more emphasis it puts on the pectoral muscle groups.

How to Do it:

  1. Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position.
  1. Position yourself facing away from the cable column, with the single-hand cable attachment set at the lowest position of the cable column.
  1. Grab onto the cable with the arm opposite to the front leg; make sure the cable rests across the outside of the arm.
  1. Keeping the other hand firmly placed by the side of the hips, take a deep breath in and brace.
  2. Press the handle upwards with a slight forward trajectory with an exhale when you fully extend your arm.
  3. Inhale as your return the arm to the start position, then repeat

Seated Arnold Press

The advantage of the half-kneeling Arnold press is that it can target the side deltoids a little more than the landmine press as you can rotate the dumbbell outwards as you press it.

The Arnold Press engages all three muscle heads, which not only develops great pushing power in the anterior deltoid but also maximizes width and thickness in the lateral deltoid and shoulder joint stability in the posterior deltoid. Being able to hit all three delts makes this a great press variation.

How to Do it:

  1. Plant your feet solidly in a stance that feels comfortable and maintains proper stability in your upper body through your core and legs. Your arms should be the only things moving during this exercise. 
  1. Bring the weights up to the set position. Hold the dumbbells up next to your ears, with your palms facing toward you and your elbows at a 90-degree angle. 
  1. Using only your shoulder and triceps muscles, push the weights upward until your arms are fully extended above your head. As you push, twist your wrists to rotate the weight 180-degrees. At the peak of the press, you should end with your palms now facing away from your body. 
  1. Lower and twist. Bring the weights back down to the ready position, controlling their descent (more muscle engagement during the concentric phase of the exercise). As you lower the weights, twist your wrists in the opposite direction (thumbs turning outward) so you end once more in the ready position with the dumbbells by your head and your palms facing inward.

Single-Arm Standing Kettlebell Shoulder Press

The single-arm standing kettlebell shoulder press is a great free-weight alternative to the landmine press. Pressing a kettlebell overhead with one arm is one of the most functional movements you can perform because it helps to build strength throughout the entire upper body, trains the shoulder muscles through a full range of motion, and works the core.

Plus, if you stand up while performing this exercise there will be more activation in the core muscles to help stabilize and balance your torso. 

How to Do it:

  1. Stand with your feet close together or about hip widths apart
  1. Hold the kettlebell in front of your shoulders with your hands by your mid-chest with the body of the kettlebell by your forearms
  1. Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  1. Press the kettlebell up and rotate the arms outwards, then back in until your arm is by your ears and palms facing forward 
  1. Keep the arm not performing the exercise out to help improve balance and stabilize your body. 

Push Press

The push press is an explosive overhead press where you incorporate your legs to help you drive the weight up over your head.

This momentum created by the leg drives helps to increase the amount of weight you can lift and also develops muscle power and coordination, which helps you to create large amounts of power efficiently. As an added benefit you can do push presses with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells.

How to Do it:

  1. Hold your barbell with weight at shoulder level. 
  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, and your core braced. Make sure to pull your shoulders down and back.
  1. Start to descend into quarter-depth squat and then stand up explosively.
  1. In one smooth motion use this momentum to help you drive the weight up and overhead to arm's length.
  1. Lower the weight back to your shoulders and repeat.

 Z Press

The Z-Press is a fantastic free weight strength-building exercise that is typically used by powerlifters, strongmen, and Olympic lifters.

They are done with your butt seated firmly on the ground with your legs out in front of you.

This seated position with no back support makes you activate your core significantly. Plus, it isolates the press by removing any kind of leg drive out of the equation. Increasing the difficulty while performing exercises will result in more 

How to Do it:

  1. Sit down on the ground with your legs out in front of your body. Think of your body as a tripod, keep legs wide to keep a stable base.
  1. Make sure you are in a position to unrack the bar and don’t let your back take most of the weight.
  1. When ready, unrack and bring the bar to your upper chest
  1. Be sure to keep your elbows under the bar.  Do not let them fall back
  1. Keeping a tight torso, drive the bar up directly overhead
  1. Allow the bar to come down smoothly

Wall Ball Toss

Wall ball is a classic functional exercise. While this move is a full-body exercise, it’s especially tough on your shoulders, core, and triceps.

Done for high reps, wall ball is great for building muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness, if done with heavier wall balls it is a great way to build strength and stability. This exercise is also great because all that you need is a wall ball and a wall to through against. 

How to Do it:

  1. Hold your medicine ball in front of your chest with your hands toward the bottom of the ball. 
  1. Stand a couple of feet back from a tall wall, and use a shoulder-width stance. Brace your core and make sure to keep your eyes on the ball. 
  1. Bend your legs and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Do not round your lower back.
  1. Stand up explosively and drive the ball up to hit the wall above your head. Typically your goal is to hit about 10 feet above the floor. 
  1. Catch the ball as it descends and then repeat. If you’re afraid of catching the ball step back and let the ball drop to the floor. Reset your position and continue with the rest of your reps. 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Most lifters use a 30 to 45-degree bench press angle to do incline presses. While this will increase upper chest engagement, you will need to go steeper if you want to replicate landmine presses. It would be better to raise your bench to around 60-70 degrees to mirror the landmine press.

Dumbbells will allow you a greater range of motion, and you can use just one weight at a time to increase core activation. However, you can use a barbell or kettlebells to perform this lift as well.

How to Do it:

  1. Sit on the bench and lean back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with hands positioned at your shoulders, elbows bent and angled down below your ribs. Relax your neck against the bench. 
  1. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  1. Brace your core and press both dumbbells straight up over your chest as you exhale. 
  1. Keep your wrists straight. At the top of the movement, the dumbbells should almost touch each other and your arms should be perpendicular to the floor.
  1. Reverse the movement and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the top of your chest as you inhale. 
  2. As you lower the dumbbells, your elbows should come down at roughly a 45-degree angle to your torso. They shouldn't splay out to the sides, pointing toward the side of the room. Instead, keep your elbows pointing to the floor.

Closing Thoughts

The landmine press is just one of the ways to build strong shoulder stabilizers that can help improve your life in and outside the gym. With the right routine and proper nutrition, the shoulders you desire are achievable.

So the next time you're at the gym, don’t forget to change up your shoulder workout with one of these landmine press alternatives to see massive gains.