Using the Landmine Pressing Correctly

Tennis Players…You Are Landmine Pressing Wrong!

The question strength coaches must always answer is going to revolve around shoulder health. One of the exercises, or should I say movement patterns, is vertical shoulder pressing. Is it good or bad?

The most famous answer ever invented is, drumroll, please…


Yes, there it is. The answer that drives question-askers crazy!

But it’s true. Shoulder pressing is so good for some players and so terrible for others.

The bottom line is, does the player have a properly functioning scapula and glenohumeral joint rhythm? If not, then overhead pressing is not a great strategy.

There is a way we might be able to get some overhead pressing without putting the shoulder in harm’s way. It’s called LANDMINE PRESSING.

Landmine pressing is a way of using a long weightlifting bar held stable at one end down near the floor to allow the opposite end to be pressed up. The great thing about this kind of landmine press is the arm doesn’t have to go straight overhead. It can be down as low as 45 degrees in front of the shoulder, which reduced overhead complications of a soft functioning shoulder joint.

The topic of the post is really about are we using the landmine correctly.

The most common method I see coaches instruct their players to press the landmine is to teach a close elbow position to the ribs and then push straight up on that line. So the arm elbow starts near the ribs, and the bar’s path goes straight away from that starting position.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the method unless you are trying to train more shoulder. The method I describe promotes a ton of triceps strength to extend the elbow through the pressing motion.

On the other hand, another method is the elbow is instructed to be about 15 degrees off the ribs laterally or starts near the ribs. Still, upon movement, it slides out to about 15 degrees as pressing occurs, and the path is more like a half-moon, it can recruit more shoulder and also help scapular rotation.

Another critical aspect of the landmine that gets overlooked is the pelvic position throughout the entire pressing motion. The lumbar spine should not go into extension at any time during the landmine press. If the player is too close to the bar or cannot stiffen the core, the lumbar extension will often occur.

Instruct the player to brace the core, so the ribs and pelvis work together.

The final part of the landmine press I often see could be instructed better is the finishing portion at the top. Most players keep their shoulder “packed down” so the scapula can’t properly rotate as the arm flexes at the shoulder.

The player should be instructed to press the landmine up, lean forward with the body to keep a straight line through the shoulders, ribs, pelvis, and the arm can be at an angle shy of 180 degrees overhead. The key is to REACH the top, so the scapular stays in a great position on the side of the ribs and allows the ball and socket of the shoulder joint to stay congruent.

Failing to do this can lead to a dysfunction in the shoulder joint.

Well, there it is! A simple way to take a landmine exercise and make it a power training method to strengthen shoulders, core, and the often criticized pressing pattern.

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