Home Blog Strength Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling 1-arm Landmine Press

Strength Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling 1-arm Landmine Press

Written on January 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm, by Eric Cressey

We’ve been utilizing the half-kneeling 1-arm landline press more and more with clients at Cressey Performance over the past few months, as it is a strength exercise that affords a number of full-body benefits.

First, with the trailing leg positioned appropriately, it’s a static hip flexor stretch that is even more effective because the athlete is cued to activate the same-side glutes and brace the core, so you’re effectively increasing stiffness at an adjacent joint to help “solidify” the newly acquired range of motion into hip extension.  As I’ve written previously, increasing stiffness can be a good thing.

Second, the core stability benefits occur in a number of contexts.  Because the load forces the athlete to resist extension, it serves as a great anterior core stability exercise.  And, because it’s loaded asymmetrically, it serves as a great lateral and rotary core stability exercise.

Third, I like all asymmetrical-loaded upper-body strength exercises because they train thoracic mobility and dynamic stability of the scapula, which you simply don’t get on the same level with push-up variations and bilateral upper body exercises (although those categories do provide unique benefits in their own right).

Fourth, because of the thicker handle at the end of the barbell, you’re getting a different grip and forearm stimulus.

Key Coaching Cues:

1. Set up so that there is a subtle (but not aggressive) stretch on the trailing leg hip flexors.  Activate the glutes on that side as well.
2. Brace the core tightly to resist extension and rotation.
3. Press straight out, not across your body.
4. Don’t allow the elbow to “migrate” past the body too much. Instead, pre-tension the scapular stabilizers to make sure that the shoulder is not anteriorly tilted as the humerus (upper arm) extends back to neutral on the eccentric.
5. Keep the chin tucked so that the cervical spine is in neutral.
6. Load with weights smaller than 25, as the 45-pound plates tend to get in the way.

This is a great exercise for loading the upper body without really beating up on the joints.  I particularly like it with some of my throwers who have gotten stronger in the upper body, as it’s a good alternative to having baseball guys throwing really heavy dumbbells around, particularly as they are getting more aggressive with their throwing programs.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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  • R Smith

    Eric,

    I started playing with something similar–more of split stance–and really liked it. I’ll give this one a try.

    RS

  • Ben

    I really like this one for the reasons you mentioned, and I think the neutral grip, coupled with the angle, makes it a bit easier on the shoulders than a military press. I have been using something similar but with a reverse lunge done in dynamic fashion, so it’s basically just standing up from the position you’re in as you press.

  • Will

    Yeah I started using this one a lot over the last 12 months too. I’m a fan. Big bang for your buck. It’s my go to exercise for clients who I won’t go overhead with. I alternate phases of this, and the standing push press version, done with either a split stance or neutral stance.

  • I have never done these nor seen them. When I read the name, I was expecting to see an arcing side to side motion. This was much more controlled than anticipated…and safe. You just added to my exercise roladex 🙂

  • J Hall

    Hey Eric,

    I notice that a couple other comments mention using a split stance or lunge in combination with the landmine press. What do you think are the added benefits or weaknesses of using a standing versus half kneeling position?

    Keep up the great work,

    JH

  • Dave

    What’s a good substitute if you don’t have the landmine or a bar??

  • TC

    Hey Eric
    Thanks for putting this up! It certainly is a great exercise for the shoulder as well as having the core stability benefits.

  • Mike A.

    Wow, did someone divide by zero? An overhead pressing variation from both you and TG in the same week? Awesome stuff, Eric.

  • Michelle

    Eric,
    I assume you are programming this in place of a dumbbell press on upper body days?
    Michelle

  • Eric,
    great stuff! This can get at several strength andmotor control issues at once. Any downside to using a ex band instead of a barbell?

  • I too have done it in a split stance. I haven’t tried it your way. Looks like fun. Thanks for all your great work.

  • I just started programming this for my clients at IFAST. It is a great exercise! I would also look for proper hip alignment in the frontal and transverse planes as these are common mistakes in all half kneeling exercises.

    Nice post Eric!

  • Yes, Michelle! 🙂

  • Dave – you won’t need a landline unit to do it; you can just put a barbell in the corner.

  • I use these in the split stance, trailing knee does not touch the ground. I start clients off static, no movement in the legs. I then advance them into a sort of split leg push press: a little dip, raise up, then push and drop into low split with bar overhead. Feet do not move.

  • Eric;
    I use the standing landmine press regularly with my clients but especially love the variation you showed today. I can’t wait to give it a try.
    Thanks for the great post!
    Lisa

  • Just tried it and I can only recommend it!

    Brilliant. Cheers Eric.

  • Kevin

    Tried this out yesterday. For the past year, I haven’t been able to do any shoulder pressing without aggravating pain in my left shoulder, but this move worked great. I’m hoping I can build up the weight while keeping the pain away.

  • Thanks Eric. I have limited corners and bar. I was wondering if there was a good sub for group classes

  • Adam B

    For the past year or so, I also have been doing this movement from a Stagger Stance position and sometimes will add a split squat. Really gets after core stiffness among other benefits. A favorite exercise of mine.

  • Great variation Eric. Love this stuff and so do my clients when we can utilize safe exercises that still challenge them. Can’t wait to use this one.

  • Cool move Eric. Always like seeing new variations of exercises to mix in to workouts and programs to mix things up. Thanks for the great stuff.

  • Great Stuff Eric, I have been using some split stance rowing and pressing motion but hadn’t thought of the half kneeling variation in this regards from a thoracic mobility standpoint. Thanks!

  • Chuck

    Eric have you tried these with bands. I believe with good tension the band will have more anti rotational effect because of the continuous load.


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