Landmine Press vs Overhead Press (Is One Better?)
Both the Landmine Press and the Overhead Press are popular exercises for developing shoulder strength, but they differ in their execution, equipment used and muscle emphasis.
This begs the question. Are one of these pressing movements better than the other?
In this article, I will dive into the specific benefits of each exercise, as well as provide tips on how to properly perform each one. Hopefully, in just a few minutes, you will have a better understanding of which exercise is right for you and how to incorporate it into your training routine.
- Landmine Attachment
- Weight Plates
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Overhead Press aka Front Press
- Bumper Plates or Iron Plates
- The grip should be shoulder-width apart.
- Elbows should be under bar.
- Torso should be erect.
- Move the bar off the rack.
- Keep your chest up.
- Push the 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 the side until arms are fully extended.
- Do not forcefully lock out the 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.
Personally, I like to use a staggered stance because I feel it helps me to keep from leaning back too far and placing that stress on the low back. It’s a technique I’ve used often with athletes as well experiencing the same problem. If that’s an issue for you as well I would definitely recommend giving a staggered stance a try.
The other common mistake that I see is bending the knees and using the legs too much. A slight bend is okay, especially when trying to squeeze out that last rep or two of the set. But, if the exercise starts to resemble more of a Push Press as opposed to a Shoulder Press then the weight should be lowered.
The standing shoulder press is an exercise that is used to strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, arms, and upper back.
Some of the potential benefits of this exercise include increased upper body strength, improved posture, and increased hypertrophy.
Additionally, because the standing shoulder press is a compound exercise that involves multiple joints and muscle groups, it can also help to improve overall coordination and balance.
Landmine Press vs Overhead Press: Which is Better?
Now, let’s do a side-by-side at both exercises to see if one is better than the other for some common lifting goals.
Better For Developing Size and Strength: Toss Up
When it comes to building muscle mass and improving strength, the two presses are too close to really say if one is better than the other. Overall, both are excellent options for both size and strength. And, both come with their unique benefits.
The Overhead Press with a barbell allows the lifter to be able to use a significant amount of weight. This advantage is normally what gives a barbell variation an advantage over single-arm movements traditionally done with dumbbells.
However, because the Landmine has an anchor point, it gives the lifter an extra bit of balance and control which will lead to being able to press more weight. And, it’s some control but not completely fixed like a machine would, so the lifter still has to engage their core and stabilizer muscles to stay in control of the range of motion.
Finally, it should be noted that because of the angle of the press, Landmine Presses get the upper chest more involved than an overhead press does.
My suggestion? Figure out a way to use both in your training.
Better For Beginners: Overhead Press
I want to first say that I don’t think Landmine Presses are a bad exercise for beginners to do. However, they are a bit more complex than the more straightforward Overhead Press.
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.
I’ve just spent an entire article comparing Landmine Press and Overhead Press. However, the truth is, there is no reason you can’t have both exercises in your strength training program.
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, figure out how you can utilize both Landmine Presses and Overhead Presses in your training plan.