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The Shoulder Exercise You’re Not Doing…But Probably Should

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Why you may want to include the landmine shoulder press in your training

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in our body. It is a ball and socket joint which gives it the ability move in just about any plane of motion we have. With all these movement options it is a joint that is used quite a lot in every day life and in sports. From reaching up overhead for a snack, or when throwing a baseball. If we want to be able to move freely with our shoulders, the landmine shoulder press is a great exercise that may help with that.

Now before we go any further, there is a point on shoulder biomechanics that we do have to touch on. This will help you realize why the landmine press is an awesome exercise.

For the shoulder to work effectively, especially in overhead movements, the shoulder blade and arm must work together. This is called scapulohumeral rhythm. All this means is that for us to elevate our shoulder and raise it overhead, the scapula (shoulder blade) must move with the humerus (arm bone) in a specific way. Such that for about every 2 degrees of humeral flexion (bringing the arm up), there is 1 degree of scapular upward rotation (shoulder blade tilting backwards) (3).

Source: reference 4

This action is important for 2 reasons. 1) to keep the muscles of the arm in a good position to lift weights (produce force/use strength), and 2) it avoids any shoulder impingent by preserving the space between joint (1,4). In order for us to lift our hands over our head, or perform overhead pressing type shoulder exercises, we need to have good coordination between shoulder blade and arm bone.

This is where the landmine press comes in to play. The landmine press is a great option for many people because it gives us a chance to shoulder press in a position that emphasizes this scapulohumeral rhythm.

Check out the example her

1/2 kneeling single arm landmine press. Notice the motion of the arm and the shoulder blade.

The angle of the shoulder in the landmine press allows us to hit some key muscles that are important for maintaining this scapulohumeral rhythm. The serratus anterior, and the lower trap (2). This may lead to smoother and more comfortable shoulder presses. By spending some time working on this motion, it may help with your more traditional shoulder press like the military press, shoulder press machines, or dumbbell press.

Thus, the landmine shoulder press can be a great option for you. Especially if you have difficulty raising your arm over head, if you are plateauing in your shoulder progress, or if you need to add something new. The angle of this press allows us to strengthen the muscles that when weaker, may contribute to shoulder impingement and discomfort (3). All while training our other shoulder muscles such as the deltoids in the vertical pressing motion.

I hope this quick article gives you some insight as to why I like the landmine shoulder press. It is a great option and can be a great tool to add to your training. Programming wise, just program like any other exercise, and select the weight, sets, and reps based on your goals, and you’ll see progress just like any other shoulder exercise. There a many variations for this tool, but for many people the 1/2 kneeling variation as shown above, is a great starting point.



  2. Phadke V, Camargo PR, Ludewig PM. Scapular and rotator cuff muscle activity during arm elevation: A review of normal function and alterations with shoulder impingement. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy 2009;13(1):1–9.

  3. Scibek JS. Assessment of scapulohumeral rhythm for Scapular plane shoulder elevation using a modified digital inclinometer. World Journal of Orthopedics 2012;3(6):87.

  4. Hou S, Ivanhoe C, Li S. Botulinum toxin injection for spastic scapular dyskinesia after stroke. Medicine 2015;94(32)

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