Landmine Press Best Guide – Muscles Worked, Technique, Benefits and Variations

This guide to the Landmine Press will teach you everything you need to know about how to master and use this excellent exercise.

What is the Landmine Press?

The Landmine Press is a highly effective and unique shoulder exercise performed by pressing a barbell and load overhead whilst one end of the barbell remains on the ground.

Muscles Worked by the Landmine Press

The primary muscles are the shoulders, triceps, upper back and chest.

The core and glutes play an important secondary role in stabilising the movement. They are also enhanced by this exercise.

Benefits of the Landmine Press

There are many benefits to this underutilised exercise.

It Builds Strong Shoulders

The L Press is an excellent way to build stronger, more muscular shoulders.

Woman squatting and doing landmine press
Build strong shoulders John Fornander

It Reveals Imbalances and Weaknesses

Most lifters have a dominant side when it comes to strength. When we perform an exercise such as a Bench Press or a Deadlift then these weaknesses can be compensated by the stronger side.

With unilateral exercises that is impossible. It becomes painfully clear where the imbalances exist. This is great because you can then work on them and strengthen yourself.

The L Press can be performed one side at a time, making it a perfect unilateral choice for this purpose.

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The Exercise Improves Motor Control

The L Press demands full control and is taxing on both the muscles involved and the central nervous system. You must work hard to balance and move the load through the full range of motion, especially during the eccentric motion controlled by the scapula and tricep.

Man climbing on rock wall
Improve your upper body for life ©Nima Sarram

This in turn will enhance your motor control for other overhead exercises and movements.

It Offers Variety for Overhead Pressing

The L Press is an overhead exercise however the bar path is an arc of sorts because one end of the barbell remains in contact with the floor.

This makes it different from a Barbell Strcit Press or a Dumbbell Press and will challenge your body in a new way.

New stimulus = better strength and muscular gains.

It Can Indirectly improve Horizontal Pressing Strength

The L Press is an excellent accessory exercise for horizontal pressing exercises such as the Bench Press.

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It Protects the Shoulders from Injury

The exercise will build stronger and more resilient shoulders. In turn this will protect them against injury and reduce the risk of aches and pains.

How to do the Landmine Press

  1. Deadlift the barbell up to waist height with both hands. Maintain a neutral spine
  2. Lift the barbell to chest height and switch to your right hand. Support the barbell on your shoulder (whilst resting in the upturned palm of your hand)
  3. Stabilise your posture with your left hand
  4. Feet shoulder width apart
  5. Lean slightly forward
  6. Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  7. Press the barbell upwards with your right hand
  8. Press it forwards and upwards in a straight line
  9. Extend almost fully but don’t lock out your arm completely. Ensure there is tension on your body at all times
  10. Pause at the top
  11. Bring the weight slowly back to the starting position
  12. Exhale at the bottom of the movement
  13. Repeat all the desired repetitions for the right arm then swap and do the same for the left side

Training Tips

Keep your elbow slightly bent at all times to avoid injury.

Make sure to brace your core at all times to provide a solid base from which you can press the barbell.

How to Set Up the Exercise

If your gym has a specific Landmine attachment then we would recommend using that.

Simply slide one end of your barbell into the attachment and you are good to go.

If you don’t have one then there are a few good DIY options you can try.

With a Bumper Plate

  • Place a heavy bumper plate on the ground
  • Put one end of the barbell into the hole
  • Add another bumper plate on top to weigh the barbell into position and to stop it moving around

With a Tennis Ball

Simple and effective, this method will allow you to easily and cheaply create a makeshift Landmine Attachment.

  • Slice a tennis ball
  • Fit the tennis ball over the end of the barbell
  • Wedge the end of the barbell with the tennis ball into a corner of your gym

Landmine Press Variations

These L Press variations will allow you to keep your training varied and fun.

Double Handed L Press

Alternating Shoulder L Press

Cross Body Landmine Press

Landmine Twist

Half Kneeling Landmine Press

Kneeling (Tall) Landmine Press

Seated Landmine Press

Banded L Press

Landmine Z Press

Landmine Floor Press

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How to Program the Landmine Press into Your Training

When it comes to programming, you must first determine your goal.

To improve strength

Keep the reps lower (no more than 6-8) and the weights heavier. Take long rest periods so that your body is fully recharged before you get to work each time.

We would recommend 4 sets of 6 reps in combination with other shoulder or upper body exercises. This type of Press also works great as a part of chest day if you want variety and to keep your body guessing.

To build muscle mass

Keep the reps between 8-12. Rest for 30-45 seconds between each set (no longer).

We recommend 5 sets of 10 reps. Lift and lower the weight slowly to maximise time under tension.

FAQs

Got more questions?

What does the Landmine Press Work?

The L Press works the shoulders, upper back, triceps and core. The glutes are also worked and improved as they assist in stabilising the movement.

The double arm variation also works the upper chest.

Are Landmine Presses Effective?

Yes. This exercise will effectively help you to build muscle, strength and burn fat.

Does Landmine Press Work Upper Chest?

The exercise works your upper body in general but the double handed version is a great way to develop a stronger, bigger upper chest.

The curved bar path of the press and the neutral grip also make landmines presses a little easier on the shoulders than vertical presses such as the Dumbbell Press or Overhead Press.

Is Landmine Press Better than Shoulder Press?

No, it is different. The Shoulder Press is one of the best upper body strength and muscle building lifts. For developing power and raw strength it is hard to beat.

The L Press is a hugely effective shoulder exercise to hit and challenge your body in a new way. The latter is less stressful for your shoulders as well.

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