Landmine Press vs Incline Bench Press (Is One Better?)

Both the Landmine Press and Incline Bench Press are popular exercises for strengthening the upper body, but they differ in their equipment, execution and muscle emphasis. The Landmine Press is a unique exercise that involves pressing a barbell held in a landmine device, while the Incline Bench Press is performed on an incline bench with a barbell (or dumbbells).

In this article, I will compare and contrast the benefits of each exercise, as well as provide tips on how to properly perform each one.

Whether you’re looking to build strength, increase muscle mass, or improve athletic performance, one of these exercises (or both!) could be an effective addition to your workout routine.

Landmine Press

Equipment Needed

  • Landmine Attachment
  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates

How To

  • Setup a landmine attachment with a barbell.
  • Grab the end of the barbell and start with it at chest level.
  • Feet should be shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent and core braced.
  • Remove one hand from the bar and then press the bar to full extension with the other arm.
  • Lower the bar back to chest level under control.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed and then switch to the opposite arm.

Coaching Points

If you don’t have a landmine attachment, don’t worry! Here is how you can make your own DIY Landmine Attachment with just a tennis ball.

What I’ve described in the instructions above is basically a strict press. However, you can also use Landmine Presses as a more dynamic movement involving the hips – similar to a Push Press.

Keep the core braced and maintain a neutral torso. If you find yourself leaning back and arching the low back, lower the weight if needed and correct your form.

Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable making your own DIY Landmine Attachment and what you’re really looking for is Landmine Press alternatives, here are 10 of my favorite alternatives for Landmine Presses.

Benefits of Landmine Presses

A landmine allows the bar to move freely in any direction. This means it takes a good amount of stability and control to keep the bar in the movement path that you want. Combine that with the fact that Landmine Presses are done one arm at a time and you have a movement that will really challenge your core.

Landmine presses can be a great way to increase your overall strength and power, particularly in the upper body. The unique angle of the movement is somewhat similar to an Incline Bench Press and will increase strength in your shoulders, arms, and chest.

Never underestimate the power of keeping your workouts fresh. Incorporating Landmine Presses can add variety to your workouts and keep them from getting stale and boring.

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

*Incline Bench Press can also be done with dumbbells. Follow this link for more info on Dumbbell Incline Bench.

Do not let the elbows flare out away from the midline. 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.

The Incline Bench Press is an accessory movement to the bench press. The bench press technique should be absolutely perfected prior to attempting an incline variation.

Make sure your arms are about 90 percent extended prior to the weight being unracked. I’ve seen lifters either set the bar too high or too short in their racks which results in an awkward handoff.

Landmine Press vs Incline Bench Press: Which is Better?

Now, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the two pressing movements to see if one is better than the other for a couple of common lifting goals.

Better for Developing Strength and Hypertrophy: Incline Bench Press

Generally speaking, exercises that allow a lifter to move more weight are better for building strength and muscle mass. It’s one of the reasons exercises like Deadlifts and Back Squats are so effective.

Because of the added stability and leverage of having both a bench to brace against and a barbell to press (with both hands) gives Incline Bench Press the advantage here.

Having said that, both exercises are extremely effective for both strength and hypertrophy. And, LandminePresses have the added benefits of both core and shoulder stability.

Ultimately my suggestion would be to include both movements in your training program.

Better For Beginners: Incline Bench Press

I don’t think Landmine Presses are necessarily a bad exercise for beginners to do. However, they are a bit more complex than the more straightforward Overhead Press. Just using the landmine attachment itself has a bit of a learning curve.

Overhead Presses are relatively simple to learn and execute. The Overhead Press can also serve as the foundation for other exercises as well – Push Press, Thrusters, Curl and Press, etc.

For those two reasons, I would recommend beginners become proficient with Overhead Presses before moving on to Landmine Presses.

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Final Thoughts

I’ve just spent an entire article comparing Landmine Press and Incline Bench Press. However, the truth is, there is no reason you can’t have both exercises in your strength training program (assuming you have the necessary equipment).

Both are excellent exercises for building strength and hypertrophy. And, incorporating both into your training can also add much-needed variety to keep your workouts from getting stale.

So, my suggestion would be instead of trying to decide between the two exercises, to figure out how you can utilize both Landmine Presses and Incline Bench Press in your training plan.

More Links and Info

Check out some more head-to-head comparisons of some other popular upper-body lifts:

Landmine Press vs Overhead Press

Incline Bench Press vs Flat Bench

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