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June 13, 2022 8 min read

If you’ve been working out long enough, exercise can start to get stale and boring. So if you've been wanting to add some variety and a new challenge, give the landmine press a try.

Landmine training, and its countless press alternatives, can be extremely beneficial in both building muscles and strength training, so they should become a key component of your training regiment. 

The landmine press is extremely versatile and effective for building functional strength through many planes of motion, as well as packing on some serious muscle mass.

What is a Landmine exercise?

If you’ve ever seen someone at the gym holding on to one end of a barbell at a diagonal angle with the other end stuck into a corner or slid into an anchor contraption, then you’ve seen a landmine before. 

While using a landmine attachment is great, it is not required.

You can wedge the barbell against a secure surface like a wall, box/other objects, or in a no-slip corner. So in reality, all that is necessary to execute a landmine press exercise is a barbell, secured corner, and weight plates.

The most important part of the landmine is ensuring that the bar is secured in a corner so it won’t slip and hurt you in the process. 

What Muscles Does the Landmine Press Work?

The muscles worked on a landmine press are determined by the variation that you choose. If you hit a landmine chest press, you’re going to target effectively some major muscle groups like the chest, triceps, abdominals, and deltoids.

Whereas if you hit a landmine row you’re going to hit more upper back, lower back, deltoids, core, and glutes. 

We'll break down the benefits of landmine exercises that target specific muscle groups, that way you can properly learn to isolate your muscles for hypertrophy and also see big strength gains and fat loss. 

Benefits of Landmine Pressing

Upper-Body Strength: This exercise is great for building strength, as there is a huge potential for adding weight and putting your muscles under load. Through increased resistance comes increased hypertrophy, which will result in the increase and growth of muscle cells. Another great way to see increases in muscle growth is by using the  Mass Stack to help develop harder muscles, increase vascularity, and improve muscle fullness.

Joint-Friendly: The landmine press is a killer for building your upper body, and when done properly is very joint-friendly.  

Strengthen the Core: Abs aren’t made just in the kitchen, you also have to work them. During a landmine press, the core has to work hard to keep the body stable and balanced. For that reason, the landmine chest press benefits the core, especially in strengthening the obliques.

Reduce the Risk of Injury: A good rule of thumb to remember is that the stronger you are, the less likely you are to get injured. By creating variation and changing exercises in your routine, you can create a new stimulus, which creates more progress over time. And if you rotate exercises or activities every so often, your injury risk will decrease. 

Change of Pace: On top of all of the other benefits, you’ll feel happier and healthier, and more motivated to keep up the hard work whenever you have new things to try. So switch things up and keep things exciting by trying different variations of the landmine.  

Landmine Exercises Tips and Tricks

Keep in mind although the landmine press is a relatively safe exercise in terms of free weight equipment, you still need to take some precautions. Anytime you're doing a pressing movement you could be at risk of injury.

Follow these tips when using a landmine:

  •  Before any workout, you should always warm up.warm-up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles worked. Warming up can also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury.
  •  After warming up, start with lighter weights and build it up to your working weight. This is another fantastic way of preventing injury and preparing your body for exercise.  
  • Focus on good, proper form before using heavy loads. Once your weight starts getting heavy form can be tougher to maintain, so make sure you don’t go too heavy as to risk injury. 
  •  Understand that it’s harder to do a movement with the loaded end (the working side) of the barbell closer to the ground due to the unique arc-shaped bar path. This means lying, kneeling, and half-kneeling landmine exercises will feel heavier and harder than standing exercises.
  • The barbell will move in an arc rather than a straight path, so get used to that feeling and allow your body to move with the bar.
  •  Make sure your set-up is secure before each exercise, especially if you are just using a corner to wedge the bar into. Sometimes the bar can move out of position when loading the weights.

Landmine Press Variations

To get you on the right track when it comes to landmines here are some of our favorite landmine press variations with step-by-step instructions on how to do them.  

Landmine Chest Press

The landmine chest press is one of the more popular landmine exercises because it provides many benefits regarding progressing your inner and upper chest but also in the triceps, core, and deltoids.

It is best performed from a kneeling position but can be done standing or seated as well. From a kneeling position, it helps to increase core involvement, core stability, and strengthen the abdominal muscles.

How to Do the Landmine Chest Press:

  1. Place a barbell in a landmine holder or set up a barbell in a corner. Then add weight plates to the free end of the barbell.
  1. Assume a kneeling position with the knees under your hips, toes tucked, and rib cage down.
  1. To secure the barbell, you can interlock or cup your hands around the bar. 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.
  1. Lean your body forwards slightly and engage your core muscles to help with stabilization. Remember to exhale on pushing movement, inhale when returning to starting position.
  1. Slowly lower the weight back towards your chest and then repeat for the recommended reps

Landmine Overhead Shoulder Press 

The landmine shoulder press is great by keeping the weight in line with your shoulder (rather than moving it towards the middle of your body as you would for the landmine chest press with both hands) means that this exercise puts the majority of the load on the shoulders.

This means that the advantage of this exercise is that it increases the size of your shoulders and strengthens the scapular stabilizers and deltoids.

How To Do The Landmine Shoulder Press:

  1. Start by making sure the barbell is wedged securely in a landmine device or corner.
  1. Kneel and hold the weighted end of the barbell with one hand. Clean the bar up to shoulder height and tuck your elbow into your side. Your feet should be level and shoulder-width apart.
  1. Keeping your core braced and knees soft, press the weight up with one hand until your arm is extended. Make sure to lean your body forwards slightly as you press and engage your core muscles to help with stabilization.
  1. Once at the top, slowly lower the weight back down to the shoulder and repeat the overhead press until you have completed your set.
  1. Throughout the movement make sure to keep your spine neutral.
  1. Exhale on pushing movement, inhale when returning to starting position.

Single-Arm Floor Landmine Bench Press 

This barbell landmine setup still lets you press with the same range of motion as a regular floor press and it also allows for a more isolated movement. Which can make it easier on your joints and hit your targeted muscles easier. Plus by holding on to the thicker sleeve of the barbell you can strengthen your grip strength. 

How to Do the Landmine Floor Press:
  1. Lie flat on the floor, bend both of your knees and keep your feet on the floor for better balance. 
  1. Take the grip of the barbell sleeve on the side that you’re trying to work. one arm above your chest.
  1. Lift the one side of the landmine off of the chest and hold it at arm’s length above you until your arm almost locks out at the top. 
  1. Now lower the landmine under control until your tricep hits the floor. 
  1. Make sure to keep the barbell under control and avoid jerky movements.
  1. Do not bounce your arm off the floor to try and complete the rep. 

Alternating Landmine Press 

The alternating landmine press is a fantastic exercise for your chest, but it is also going to work your front delts, abdominals, and triceps too. It is very similar to an incline press as you are pressing at a slight angle. 

This exercise can be done from a standing or a kneeling position, but it's recommended to do it from a kneeling position as the weight will be more difficult at the bottom of the lift and can help to isolate imbalances.

To engage your chest even further, make sure to squeeze your hands together like you’re trying to crush the bar. This will increase the activation of your chest and is an easy way to get more out of the exercise.

By alternating sides each rep you will also engage your obliques and abdominal muscles more than you would in a straight up and down landmine press. 

How to Do the Alternating Landmine Press:
  1. Take a kneeling or standing position in front of the landmine and hold the barbell collar with your palms on each side. Make sure the bottom of your palm is slightly on the underside of the barbell’s collar.
  1. Squeeze your hands together, then press the barbell upwards, focusing on contracting your pecs to engage the muscles during the movement.
  1. Go to full lockout, then slowly bring the barbell back down while maintaining the squeeze on the collar.
  1. Keep alternating the side and focus on your pecs at all times during the exercise.
  1. Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury. Contract the chest muscle at the top of the movement.

Landmine Thruster (Squat to Press) 

The landmine thruster is a great full-body, multi-joint, and functional exercise that targets almost every single muscle in your body.

The main focuses of this exercise are your quads, glutes, core, triceps, shoulders, chest, and lats.

This is a great movement to incorporate into your workout if you're trying to work on your total body strength and improve your coordination. Keep in mind lifters, these are very similar to a dumbbell thruster press but you can typically add more weight to this variation and not worry about your lower body as much.

How to Do the Landmine Thruster:
  1. Hold the bar with both hands at about mid-chest level and with your elbows tucked to your sides for support and stability.
  1. From a landmine squat stance, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and lower your hips down as deep as you can go (don’t let your knees push out in front of your toes and keep the weight on your heels.
  2. When you reach the bottom of your landmine squat, explode up. As you come up, simultaneously press the bar up until your arms are fully extended.
  1. Try to make the entire press into one seamless movement, it shouldn’t look like a robot doing it step by step. 
  1. Lower the bar back down to your chest slowly and under control, then repeat. 
  1. Keep your core tight throughout the movement and avoid inconsistent movements.
  1. Don’t round your back, if your core is properly engaged this shouldn’t be a problem. 

Closing Thoughts

If you are a lifter who has been wanting to add some variety and a new challenge, I would recommend giving the landmine press, and its press alternatives, a try. Landmine training, and its countless variations, can be extremely beneficial and should become a key component of your training regiment.  

Weightlifting is meant to be fun and challenging, but you don’t have to try and implement all of these press alternatives into your workouts. Instead, just pick one or two that work with your training regiment and practice with them.