This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.
A perfectly executed overhead press is what many trainers refer to as a “unicorn”—something rumored to exist but rarely seen. Most people lack the shoulder mobility to perform the movement properly, so they crane their necks and arch their backs in an effort to press the load straight overhead. In the process, they also increase the stress on their shoulders and multiply their risk of injury.
Enter the landmine press, an overhead pressing exercise that offers similar muscle-building benefits with less strain on the shoulders.
The setup is simple: Load one end of a barbell and place the other in a landmine platform (a metal base typically shaped like a home plate) or the corner of two walls (your gym will appreciate it if you wedge the bar into a towel to avoid damage). Grip the loaded end in one or both hands in front of your chest, brace your core, square your stance with your feet shoulder-width apart, lean your entire body forward slightly, and press the bar up and away from you at an angle until your arms are straight.
That angle is what minimizes the stress on your shoulders, which you’ll work along with your obliques, upper pecs, and scapular stabilizers.
Your move: If you can’t get your biceps next to your ears in the traditional overhead press without contorting your body, do the landmine press while you work on increasing your shoulder mobility. But even if you can execute the overhead press with perfect form, still add the landmine press (or any of its variations) to your program.
Why? Because it’s an underappreciated, underutilized exercise that many top athletes use to enhance upper body strength and power, and by following their lead, you’ll build bolder shoulders even faster.