3 Landmine Shoulder Exercises You Should Be Doing
- DAN NORTH
- Arms and Shoulders Exercise Technique Muscle Build
The landmine is one of the most underrated and underutilized tools in the gym, by far. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, as they say. It’s scalable and offers a ton of variety.
There are 3 shoulder exercise variations with the landmine you should consider adding to your training.
There are tons of mistakes and misconceptions out there in the land of fitness, but the one that really grinds my gears is overhead pressing.
You may have been taught that the only way to build strong shoulders is to thrust a bar or dumbbell above your head, regardless of the repercussions on your body.
Here’s the thing…
- Barbell and dumbbell overhead press variations are not the only way to build your shoulders (strength and muscle-speaking),
- Not everyone can or should be doing overhead presses (specifically strict barbell variations).
Why can’t everyone do strict overhead presses?
As with any compound lift (squat, deadlift, blah blah blah), there’s a lot going on in a short amount of time. If one area of your body is out of whack, the whole lift is screwed. And so is your body.
You’d be wise avoiding overhead barbell presses (at least for now) if you…
- Are a throwing-dominant athlete. Most pitchers and other throwing athletes avoid or completely eliminate any overhead barbell work. Not to say they don’t do any overhead work, but it’s less to do with strict presses and more to do with stabilization, strength, and functionality for shoulder health and longevity.
- Have wonky mobility. You gotta be mobile enough in the shoulders and upper back to be able to justify putting weight above your head. Most people aren’t. And they’ll usually compensate with excessive lower back arching and pushing the bar away in front as opposed to directly overhead. Not good, for your shoulders or your spine.
Landmine presses are a safer alternative.
There’s less demand put on your body from a mobility/positioning standpoint, but still offers the strength and muscle-building benefits you see from standard strict presses.
Strict presses force you to push directly overhead, which most people don’t have the shoulder/upper back mobility to do so optimally.
The landmine allows you to press forward on an angle as opposed to directly overhead, which is a lot easier for most people to do.
1. KNEELING OVERHEAD PRESS
You’ll find it easier to get into an optimal overhead position with single arm presses, especially with the landmine.
- Have your elbow tucked in tight to your rib
- Squeeze your glute as you press up (if your right knee is on the floor, squeeze your right glute)
- Don’t let your elbow flare out as you press (pretend there’s a wall right next to you)
- Push your hips back slightly as you press up (this minimizes the chance of you hyper-extending your lower back)
- Elbow flare (letting it wing out to the side)
- Pushing hips forward and extending lower back
- Looking down to the floor (your head should be in a neutral position with your upper back)
2. BANDED OVERHEAD PRESS (UNILATERAL AND BILATERAL)
- Elbow(s) tucked in tight to your rib(s)
- Press up and keep your elbows from flaring out (imagine you’re in a narrow hallway)
- Lean forward slightly as you lockout your arm(s)
- Your torso/arm angle should be a straight diagonal line when your arms are fully locked
- Pushing hips forward excessively and arching lower back
- Elbow flare
- No control during eccentric phase (lowering the bar too fast)
3. LANDMINE MUSCLE SNATCH
This might be my favourite shoulder/upper back exercise. At least for now. Muscle snatches (usually performed with a double overhand grip on the bar) require you to bring a weight overhead in one smooth motion.
And guess what? Most people royally fuck it up.
The single arm landmine variation is safer to perform and just feels way better on your shoulder and upper back. You’ll love this one.
- Have an overhand grip on the sleeve of the barbell
- Reach out with your other arm and create full body tension (stay engaged, not loosey goosey)
- Pull your elbow straight up (imagine there’s a wall directly in front of you)
- Lock your arm out in one smooth motion (your arm will be out to the side on an angle)
- Letting your arm swing out in front
- Thrusting hips forward/extending lower back
- Rotating torso and leaning into the press