10 Landmine Press Alternatives (No Landmine Needed)


Landmine Press Alternatives

The Landmine Press is a unique shoulder pressing movement that can be a great addition to your training program. Not only does it help develop shoulder strength and core stability, but it can add some much-needed variety to a program that has gone stale.

However, sometimes you may find yourself needing an alternative for Landmine Presses.

Maybe you don’t have a barbell or maybe you’re just looking to add some variety to your workouts.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for an exercise to substitute for Landmine Press then you’re in the right place. I’m about to share with you 13 of my favorite overhead press alternatives including different variations and different equipment.

Alternatives to Landmine Press

Before you go hunting for a Landmine Press alternative just because you don’t have a landmine attachment check out my DIY guide on how to make a landmine attachment with just a tennis ball. (Mine is pictured in the featured image at the top of this article)


Push Press


Female Athlete Doing a Push Press

Equipment Needed

  • Multi-purpose lifting rack
  • Barbell
  • Bumper Plates (technically possible to do with Iron Plates, but Bumper Plates are highly recommended)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set the barbell at the height you would normally front squat with. (Barbell 1-2 inches below the flexed elbow, still on the hooks).
  • Grab the barbell with your index finger on the knurling or just outside the knurling. (Flexibility and what feels comfortable are important here).
  • Flex the elbows up slightly and keep your knuckles fairly vertical to the ceiling.
  • You are not taking a “Front rack” position here. The elbows will be slightly up but the bar is not resting on the anterior delts.
  • To unrack the bar, take a deep breath and brace the abdominal muscles and upper back. Use a staggered stance to unrack the bar.
  • Take 2 steps backward and be sure that you will not hit the hooks or anything above your head when you start to press.
  • Initiate the movement with a “dip” or bend of the knee that will help you propel the barbell up with momentum. Do not bend the knee forward onto the toes.
  • Think about how you initiate a squat. The knee bend should be very similar to this movement.
  • This is a quick movement that helps get the barbell moving upward.
  • As you extend the legs, push the barbell up. Be sure not to hit your chin. Lock the rep out by holding the barbell overhead for about 1 second.
  • Some coaches use the queue “push your head through the arms” to help lock out the rep and stabilize the bar overhead.
  • Slowly bring the barbell back down to prepare for the next repetition.

Coaching Points

Be patient with your flexibility. Persistence and working hard on your flexibility will pay off with Olympic lifts and variations like Push Press. Remember to always warm up prior to any lifting session. Work on flexibility drills during warm-up sets as well. After your session, use cool-down techniques, foam roll, stretch, and hydrate.


Z Press


Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Rack (or partner to hand you the bar)

How To

  • Sit on the floor in front a rack, legs straight out in front.
  • Brace the core and unrack the bar (or have a partner hand it to you).
  • Make sure you’re posture is good and your core is tight before trying to press.
  • Press the bar to full extension overhead.
  • Lower the bar back down to under the chin and repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

The Z Press demands some hamstring flexibility and core stability to maintain the body position while pressing. Deficits in either of these areas will greatly hinder your ability to be able to do Z Presses.

Once the bar crosses the top of the head, ‘pull the head through’ so that you’re pressing the bar directly over the ears.


Curl and Press


Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Grab dumbbells that you can perform at least 8 perfect reps with here.
  • Standing nice and tall, hammer curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
  • From here, press the dumbbells straight up overhead to lockout.
  • Slowly bring the dumbbells back and down to shoulder height.
  • From here, slowly return the dumbbells to your side.

Coaching Points

Go slow! Time under tension is key here. Feel the burn, especially on the way back down.

It’s easy to get out of control and begin swinging dumbbells all over the place with Curl and Presses. Stay in control of the weight throughout.


Incline Bench Press


Incline Barbell Bench Press

Equipment Needed

  • Multi-purpose lifting rack
  • Bench
  • Barbell
  • Bumper or Iron plates

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Determine the angle for your incline bench. Most programs would refer to a 45-degree angle as ideal for it provides the best chest and shoulder engagement.
  • As you go higher with your angle, you are moving more toward a shoulder press. The flatter the bench gets, you are moving more toward a regular bench press.
  • Set the height of the barbell so that when you unrack the barbell, you are only doing a very short upward concentric movement.
  • Lie flat on your back on the bench.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together and keep the back of your head on the bench. You will slightly arch your back. Keep your core tight and keep the shoulder blades pulled back tight.
  • Take a thumbs-width grip from the knurling and completely close your grip. Keep your knuckles pointing toward the ceiling and squeeze the barbell.
  • Unrack the weight and take a deep breath.
  • Control the barbell down during the eccentric movement and draw the barbell in, keeping the elbows at about a 45-degree angle away from the torso.
  • The barbell will make contact with your torso right at the nipple line on the chest.
  • Once contact is made, drive the barbell back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

Do not let the elbows flare out away from the midline when doing Incline Bench. The shoulders are incredibly vulnerable in these positions and the sheer force placed on the shoulders will lead to injury if the technique is not made a priority.


Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press


Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press (1)

Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Stand with the dumbbell next to you.
  • Hinge at the waist and bend the knees until you can grab the dumbbell.
  • Keep a neutral spine, and a nice flat back, and lift the dumbbell into your pressing position.
  • I recommend palms facing away or toward you (whichever feels more comfortable).
  • Brace the abdominal muscles and engage the upper back.
  • Press the dumbbell directly overhead. (The dumbbell should not track forward.)
  • Lock the reps out and pause for a quick second with each repetition.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position to prepare for the next repetition.
  • Once all reps are completed on one arm, switch to the opposite arm and repeat.

Coaching Points

Keep the core engaged as you press. If you feel you are arching your back as you reach closer to lockout, consider going down in weight.

Remember this is not a push press. This is purely an upper-body pressing movement. If you are using your legs, even slightly, this would be called a Push Press. The push press is a great movement as well BUT a Single Arm Shoulder Press should be focused on the shoulders, no cheating.


Arnold Press


Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench (If you prefer doing the Arnold press seated but you can do the exercise standing as well)

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Stand with the dumbbells next to you.
  • Hinge and the waist and bend the knees until you can grab the dumbbells.
  • Keep a neutral spine, and a nice flat back, and lift the dumbbells into your pressing position.
  • You will start with the palms facing you.
  • As you press the dumbbells up, rotate the dumbbells as you press, and at the top of the movement, your palms will be facing away.
  • As you lower the dumbbells back to the start, rotate the dumbbells until your palms are facing you.

Coaching Points

The Arnold Press is an exercise that is programmed for hypertrophy. Control the weight and focus on time under tension. This one is going to burn, so grit your teeth, and enjoy it!


Handstand Push Up


Handstand Push-Up

Easily one of the hardest bodyweight exercises to perform, Handstand Push-Ups will test your shoulder strength, shoulder stability, core and coordination all in one movement. Because it’s a bodyweight movement, it has the advantage of being able to be done anywhere without the need for equipment.

Find a sturdy wall, place your hands a few inches away and then kick your feet up over your head against the wall. From here, lower yourself down until you almost touch the floor with your head and then press yourself back up.

Note: Handstand Push-ups are an ADVANCED movement. I would not suggest this for beginners as it can be dangerous if you don’t have sufficient shoulder and core strength.


Machine Shoulder Press


Machine Shoulder Press
Photo Credit: Halfpoint / shutterstock.com

If you’re working out in a commercial gym or college weight room and you have access to machines, a Machine Shoulder Press can be a solid overhead press alternative.

My favorite machine for this is the Hammer Strength Iso Shoulder Press. It’s plate-loaded so it works more like a free weight and less like a cable machine. Both shoulders also work independently of one another too, so like with dumbbells, if you have any strength imbalances they’ll show themselves.


Front Press


Push Press (1)

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell

Instructions

  • Grip should be shoulder width apart.
  • Elbows should be under bar.
  • Torso should be erect.
  • Move bar off the rack.
  • Keep chest up.
  • Push bar up to full elbow extension.
  • As soon as the bar passes the head – ‘pull the head through’ – so that the bar is being locked out directly over the ears.
  • Keep elbow pointing out to side until arms are fully extended.
  • Do not forcefully lock out elbow.
  • Lower the bar slowly and under control to shoulder level.
  • Do not jerk or bounce at the bottom.

Coaching Points (Common Mistakes)

The biggest mistake I see with Front Presses is overarching the back and leaning back way too much (hyperextension of the spine). This places too much unnecessary stress on the low back that should be avoided.


Dumbbell Side Raise


Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells

Instructions

  • Hold dumbbells-palm in, arms straight down at sides.
  • Raise dumbbells in semicircular motion slightly above shoulder height tilting the head of the dumbbell down.
  • A slight pause, then lower to starting position under control.
  • Keep your arms straight with just a slight bend in the elbow.
  • Use the same path to continue repeated reps.
  • Exhale up, inhale down.

Coaching Points

When doing Lateral Raises, to keep the focus on the medial delt, make sure to keep your palms down at the top of the movement. Many lifters like to pull back, instead of lift straight out to the sides, which brings the stronger muscles of the upper back into play.

Final Thoughts

Landmine Press is an awesome exercise for developing strong shoulders, but sometimes Landmine Presses just aren’t an option. Sometimes you may not have the proper equipment available to you or other times you might just be looking to add some variety to your overhead press routine.

In these situations, you’ll need an overhead press alternative and I hope that one of the exercises I’ve listed here fits what you were looking for.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Landmine Presses, you may also need one for Landmine Rows as well. If you are, here are the 10 best alternatives for Landmine Rows.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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