The landmine is one of the most versatile tools in a strength coach’s belt. Why? The exercises and variations of them are endless. Specifically, the landmine press is one of my favorites. It has a lot of benefits with a small amount of risk for injury if done properly.
The barbell overhead press is an exercise that can build a ton of overhead strength and it is highly recognized in the fitness industry. With all of that said, it can do more harm than good with some athletes. Not everyone needs to be press a barbell overhead, but in many sports athletes need to develop overhead strength, power, and stability in order to be successful in their sport. Baseball players, swimmers, and gymnasts are a few examples of athletes who need overhead training.
This is where the landmine press comes into play. To clarify, I usually have my athletes perform a single arm landmine press with a split or neutral stance depending on the person.
Programming this exercise has been a game-changer for three reasons...
Scapular Upwards Rotation
Scapular Upwards Rotation is a pivotal movement for overhead athletes. The scapulae needs to upwardly rotate, in other words, the shoulder blade needs to glide up along the rib cage as the arm goes over head. If this doesn't happen, it can result in an injury of the shoulder. Athletes of the sports listed above generally have flexible shoulder capsules that lack stability or stiff capsules that have little flexibility, with effective scapula upwards rotation, it can stabilize the shoulder.
The landmine is a perfect exercise to drive upwards rotation of the scapula due to its ability to move with the athlete. The landmine’s path does not have to be straight. The person pressing has the ability to press up and around making it easier to achieve desired scapula movement. A person knows they are doing the exercise correctly when they feel the muscles working on the backside of the shoulder.
Easy To Progress
Athletes are great clients because they tend to adapt well to exercises coaches program for them. With that said, a coach needs to progress them when they believe it is necessary. The landmine press can easily be progressed.
-Adding more weight is the first way to progress the movement
-Half/tall kneeling is a great progression for those who have strong enough shoulders to not need a bigger base. Going to a kneeling position makes it significantly harder to press due to the increased need of core stability and loss of leg stability.
-Adding a power movement is an advanced progression that an athlete can use if trained well enough to have sufficient scapula movement while moving fast. For example, a push press or push jerk are two power options that can be performed as a progression.
Easy To Regress
Not only is this exercise easy to progress, but regressing is easy as well. Not everyone is strong enough to press from a kneeling position or a full size barbell. I have found a smaller barbell is easier to use for smaller-framed athletes who do not have the strength for the standard barbell. Also, do not use a kneeling position at first, due to the need for shoulder strength and core stability. The split stance is usually the easiest for athletes to use at first.
At the end of the day coaches want to put each athlete in a position to succeed. The landmine is just another tool to put on your belt to properly coach someone where they need. The landmine press may not be for everyone, but it can certainly help an athlete develop strength and stability as well as reduce shoulder movement dysfunctions.
If you have any questions or other variations/input on the landmine press, please share it below!