Landmine Press: Everything You Need to Know

By Jeff
Published on
Landmine Press

The landmine press is an ideal exercise for building upper body strength without some of the risks associated with traditional weightlifting exercises.

The landmine base is a simple contraption that can take your weightlifting workout to the next level. This accessory anchors one end of a barbell to the ground while allowing you to lift and move the other end.

One type of base sits on the floor and can be placed under something heavy for support. Another type has a post that can be placed into a stack of weight plates for support. You can also find the type that mounts directly to a power rack or wall.

If you want to try these exercises without purchasing a base, you can place one end of your barbell into a corner so that it can’t slide or move away from you, but you’ll likely do some damage to the walls so a base is preferable.  

Read on to learn more about how to perform this exercise, the benefits of the landmine press, and which variations you can introduce to your workout routine to keep challenging yourself.

What Is Landmine Weight Training?

A typical landmine workout will have you using a mix of movements, from lifting the barbell in a vertical motion to moving it horizontally or using circular motions. Moving the barbell along different axes allows you to work on your upper body strength while engaging your core.

Landmine training is safer than traditional weightlifting since you’re not lifting heavy weights directly over your head. It can be more accessible if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury.

How To Perform a Landmine Press

The landmine press is a simple exercise. Here is how you can perform it:

  • Stand in front of the landmine barbell in a neutral position.
  • Pick up the extremity of the barbell and lift it to shoulder level. Keep your elbow at a 30 to 45° angle from your torso.
  • The landmine press begins with the barbell extremity at the same level as your shoulder, supported by your bent arm.
  • Extend your arm upward, pushing the barbell up and away from you.
  • As you perform this motion, your body will naturally lean forward. Engage your core to lift the barbell while maintaining this slight forward posture.
  • Bring the barbell down in a slow and controlled motion until it’s level with your shoulder.
  • Perform additional reps by repeating these steps. Always lift and lower the barbell slowly and deliberately. 

What Are the Benefits of the Landmine Press?

The landmine press is a variation of the classic press. It works out similar muscle groups but has some advantages.

A Safer Alternative to the Shoulder Press

The press is a classic weightlifting move. You should be familiar with the clean and press if you’re into weightlifting competitions or watching the Olympics.

The clean consists of picking up a barbell from the floor and lifting it to shoulder level. Next, you need to lift the barbell overhead for the press.

There are variations of this exercise, including the popular bench press, where you lie back and lift a barbell above your chest.

The main issue with these exercises is that you’re holding heavy weights directly above your head or chest. Muscle failure can cause you to drop these weights, which, worst case scenario,  may result in cracked ribs or acute traumatic injuries to the head and neck.

Overuse injuries are another risk associated with weightlifting. Muscle strains, ligament strains, and even tendon ruptures can occur.

The landmine press is a much safer alternative. You’re lifting a barbell tethered to the ground in a lever-like motion, which means the weight is never directly above your head. You can crush your foot if you drop the barbell suddenly, but you’re not at risk of a life-threatening injury.

Overuse injuries are also less likely since you’re not bearing the full weight of the barbell, thanks to the landmine.

The Benefits of Strength Training

The landmine press is a strength training movement that engages several muscle groups and helps build lean muscle mass. The overhead motion can also help improve mobility and condition you for more demanding weightlifting workouts.

Increasing your lean muscle mass with landmine training will improve your overall strength, balance, and control while making you less likely to sustain training injuries. Your muscles will also burn more calories at rest, which can help with weight management.

Lean muscle mass can help manage glucose levels, helping prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Researchers have also found a link between healthy muscle mass and bone health and density.

Develop Upper Body Strength

The landmine press will engage your upper body muscles and result in stronger arms and shoulders. Here are some of the muscle groups you can work with this exercise.

Pectoral Muscles

Your pectoral muscles connect your chest to your upper arms. It’s a group of four muscles, including the large fan-shaped pectoralis major that forms the bulk of your chest.

Lifting a barbell in an upward motion engages these four muscles and will improve their mobility thanks to the up-and-down movement.


The deltoids are a pair of muscles that cover the top of your shoulder joints. Lifting a landmine barbell and lowering it will engage the deltoids.

Stronger deltoids can help stabilize your shoulders and improve your posture.


The triceps are the upper arm muscles responsible for extending your elbow joint. The landmine press is an excellent exercise for targeting your triceps.

Lifting the barbell and lowering it in a slow and controlled motion will keep your triceps engaged.

Besides achieving a toned look, strong triceps will help stabilize your elbow joint and give you better control over fine motor skills.


The trapezius muscles are a pair of large surface muscles that run along your spine and cover the back of your neck. These muscles play a crucial role when moving your arms, shoulders, and neck.

The overhead motion of the landmine press engages the trapezius muscles. Besides enhancing your lifting power, strong trapezius muscles can help correct your neck posture.

Core Muscles

The landmine press doesn’t target your core muscles directly, but you’ll have to engage these muscles when lifting the barbell and performing controlled motions.

This exercise can help strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles to improve your strength and stamina.

Landmine Press Variations

Landmine press variations can help make your workouts more challenging or personalize this exercise to adapt to your unique fitness goals.

Two-Hand Variation

Using both hands to raise the landmine barbell makes the exercise easier. It’s a fantastic variation if you’re new to weightlifting or recovering from an injury.

This variation engages the same muscle groups but gives you more control over the barbell. If you’re up for a challenge, increase the weight on the barbell since you should have more lifting power with both hands.

Instead of holding the barbell with your elbow at a 30 to 45° angle, you’ll have to take a step back and hold the extremity of the barbell with both hands level with your chest.

Push upward to lift the barbell before bringing it back down to chest level. Alternate your hand position after a few reps.

Kneeling Landmine Press

A simple variation of the landmine press consists in kneeling while you perform the exercise. The kneeling variant still engages your upper body and your core, but it can be a gentler and safer version of the exercise since the kneeling posture creates a strong base for your body.

Kneeling also engages your glutes and core since you need to stabilize your body. You can make the exercise more challenging by alternating on which side you kneel and incorporating a lunge rep in between landmine presses.

Here is how you can perform the kneeling landmine press variation:

  • Kneel in a lunge position in front of the landmine barbell.
  • Lift the barbell to shoulder level.
  • Start the landmine press rep by slowly pushing the barbell upward as far as your arm will extend.
  • Bring the barbell down to shoulder level in a slow and controlled motion.

Alternating Shoulder Landmine Press

The alternating shoulder variation consists of switching hands for each rep. Switching hands will engage your core further and can make the exercise feel more challenging.

Here’s how you can perform this variation:

  • Perform a regular single-hand landmine press.
  • When you bring the barbell back down to shoulder level, grab it with the other hand.
  • You can add a small circular motion to switch the barbell to the other shoulder over your head, or simply take a step back and move the barbell to the other side.

Landmine Twist

The landmine twist is a variation that will engage your core and help improve your mobility. It’s more challenging than a regular landmine press and can be a good option if you’re developing a HIIT workout plan.

You’ll need to use both hands to lift the barbell for this variation:

  • Stand up in front of the landmine barbell in a neutral position.
  • Grab the extremity of the barbell with both hands and lift it above your head.
  • While twisting your upper body to the side, bring the barbell down in a circular motion. The extremity should be at the same level as your hip.
  • While twisting your upper body to face forward, raise the barbell above your head in a circular motion.
  • Repeat the movement on the other side.

Clean and Press Landmine Variation

Make the landmine press more challenging by introducing a clean movement. Lowering the barbell to the ground turns the exercise into a full-body workout.

Here’s how you can perform the clean and press variation:

  • Start with the barbell on the ground. Adopt a squatting position to grab the barbell.
  • Bring it to shoulder level and wait a few seconds.
  • Push upward to lift the barbell above your head.
  • Lower it back down to shoulder level before going back to the squatting position and lowering it slowly to the ground.

You can add some variety to your workout routine by performing a one-hand or two-hand version of the landmine clean and press. You can also adopt a kneeling position if you want to avoid squatting.

For an additional challenge that will engage your entire body, do a burpee or pushup every time you lower the barbell back to the ground.

Landmine Press: Lighter Weight, Faster Reps

Focusing on lifting heavy weights will help you gain muscle mass. On the other hand, performing faster reps with lighter weights will produce lean muscles with an elongated shape.

This approach can improve speed and mobility. Performing faster reps can also turn your weightlifting session into something resembling a cardio or HIIT workout while introducing some resistance training.

You can turn the landmine press into a fast-paced exercise that gets your heart pumping by using a small weight or by lifting the barbell by itself.  

While speed can help boost your fitness level, you should find the right pace to avoid overuse injuries.

If you want to develop an entire workout based on light weights and fast reps, you can perform the variations listed above with light weights or just the barbell.

Wrap Up

Adding a few landmine exercises to your weightlifting routine is a great way to challenge yourself while reducing the risks associated with lifting weights. The landmine press is one of the core exercises to keep coming back to when working out with a landmine barbell. Learn how to perform it well and try the different variations to keep challenging yourself and keep yourself motivated.

Photo of author