15 Best Landmine Press Alternatives (With Pictures)

Best Landmine Press Alternatives

Landmine presses are great overhead pressing variations that target the shoulders and triceps in a single-arm fashion. 

However, this exercise does require you to use a landmine attachment, which many gyms don’t have. As such, you may be unable to perform a landmine press, which is especially the case if you’re working out at home with only kettlebells and dumbbells.  

Regardless of whether you have the equipment available or you simply want to switch things up, there are plenty of great alternatives.  

The 15 best landmine press alternatives:

  • Half-Kneeling Cable Press
  • Half-Kneeling Dumbbell Press
  • Half-Kneeling Arnold Press
  • Half-Kneeling Kettlebell Shoulder Press
  • Half-Kneeling Kettlebell Bottom Up Press
  • Single Arm Cable Press in Split Stance
  • Single Arm Standing Dumbbell Press
  • Single Arm Push Press/Circus Press
  • Single Arm Standing Arnold Press
  • Alternating Seated Arnold Press
  • Alternating Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Single Arm Standing Kettlebell Bottom Up Press
  • Single Arm Standing Kettlebell Shoulder Press
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Z Press
  • Single Arm Arnold Z Press

In this article, I will go through each of these landmine press alternatives, explain why they are a great substitute, how to perform them, and some tips on how to incorporate them into your program.

In my list, I have included landmine press alternatives that involve: cable machines, dumbbells, and kettlebells.

What Makes A Great Landmine Press Alternative

Before I discuss the alternatives to a landmine press, it’s important to understand exactly what makes a good substitute for this exercise. You can’t just pick any ‘shoulder’ or ‘tricep’ exercise, and just because you use a ‘single arm’ exercise, doesn’t mean it will be similar to the landmine press.

An effective landmine press alternative will be able to:

  1. Target the same muscle groups worked in a landmine press
  2. Strengthen the muscle groups unilaterally (one arm at a time)

Let’s understand these main factors further.

Muscles Used In A Landmine Press

The primary muscles used in the landmine press are:

  • Triceps
  • Deltoids (Front & Side Deltoid)

These muscles are responsible for bringing your arm in an upward direction above the head, and extending your elbow joint.  

There are also several secondary muscles used, including:  

  • Serratus Anterior
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Obliques, Abdominals & Back Extensors

The serratus anterior and rotator cuff assist by stabilizing your shoulder joint and shoulder blades.

The obliques, abdominals, and back extensors assist by stabilizing your ribcage and your spine during the single-arm pressing during the landmine press.

Takeaway: A good landmine press alternative needs to use similar muscle groups. This is typically done by mimicking a similar movement pattern, i.e. bringing the arm above the head and having some degree of elbow extension.  

Strengthen Muscle Groups Unilaterally

One key aspect of the landmine press is that it is a unilateral movement, meaning it targets one side at a time.

This is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • It can help with asymmetry in your posture e.g. if one shoulder is higher than the other
  • It can help with balancing muscular strength on each side
  • It can help with balancing muscle mass on each side
  • It can help with training your core muscles harder

Takeaway:  A good landmine press alternative needs to focus on a single-arm movement pattern in order to target the right and left sides independently  

Landmine Press Alternatives: 15 Exercises

1. Half-Kneeling Cable Press

The half-kneeling cable press is a great alternative to the landmine press that requires a cable machine. This alternative is a more advanced progression to the landmine press. This is because performing a vertical press with a cable is more unstable than compared to a landmine press.

The half-kneeling cable press also provides the advantage of having options of choosing the angle to where the cable stems from. So you can change how upright or horizontal the pressing motion is.

The more upright you are pressing the cable, the more it focuses on the deltoids. The more horizontal the cable press is, the more it uses the pectoral muscle groups.

How To Do It

  • Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position
  • Position yourself facing away from the cable column, with the single hand cable attachment set at the lowest position of the cable column
  • Grab onto the cable with the arm opposite to the front leg; make sure the cable rests across the outside of the arm
  • Keeping the other hand firmly placed by the side of the hips, take a deep breath in and brace
  • Press the handle upwards with a slight forward trajectory with an exhale when you fully extend your arm
  • Inhale as your return the arm to the start position, then repeat

Pro-Tip

To emphasize the serratus anterior, you want to really think about reaching far and allowing your torso to rotate slightly as well. 

It may also help the balance of the movement if you perform an opposite action with your empty arm i.e. if you press the active arm up, you keep the elbow of the other arm bent and down, and when you bring the active arm down, you press the empty arm up.

Related Article: 3 Cable Shoulder Workouts For Mass

2. Half-Kneeling Dumbbell Press

The half-kneeling dumbbell press is a good alternative to the landmine press that uses a dumbbell as opposed to a barbell. This alternative would be a slight progression to the landmine press.

The half-kneeling dumbbell press has a more vertical pressing motion than compared to a landmine press, and so it isolates the deltoids more and uses less pec activation during the press.

How To Do It

  • Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position
  • Hold onto a dumbbell with the arm opposite to the front leg and rest the dumbbells by the top of the shoulders
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the dumbbell vertically upwards until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders and reset your breath ready for subsequent reps

Pro-Tip

It is important not to lean forward too much as you may over-extend your back when you press and this could overstrain your back.

If you want to emphasize the deltoid muscles more, flare the elbows out more. If you want to emphasize the stabilizer muscles such as the serratus anterior, then keep the elbows tucked for as long as possible.

3. Half-Kneeling Arnold Press

The half-kneeling Arnold press is a good alternative to the landmine press and similar to the half-kneeling dumbbell press. 

The advantage of the half-kneeling Arnold press is that it can target the side deltoids a little more than the landmine press as you rotate the dumbbell outwards as you press it.

It also has more range of motion through the deltoids than compared to the half-kneeling dumbbell press.

How To Do It

  • Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position
  • Hold onto a dumbbell with the arm opposite to the front leg
  • Hold the dumbbell in front of your shoulders with your palms facing backward
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the dumbbell up and rotate the arms outwards, then back in until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders in the same manner and reset your breath ready for subsequent reps

Pro-Tip

It may be helpful to keep your empty arm by your abs to cue your core muscle to stabilize the ribcage as much as possible during the pressing movement.

4. Half-Kneeling Kettlebell Shoulder Press

The half-kneeling kettlebell shoulder press is a good substitute for the landmine press that uses a kettlebell instead.

Due to the way that you hold onto the kettlebell in this variation, it can target the internal rotators more, which are a group of rotator cuff muscles.

This would be a good alternative to the landmine press if you wanted to focus on improving shoulder health, mobility, and stability.

How To Do It

  • Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position
  • Using the hand opposite to the front leg, hold onto a kettlebell with the body of the kettlebell resting on the forearms
  • Keeping the arms by mid-chest, take a deep breath in and brace
  • Press the kettlebell vertically upward and backward, then exhale when you get to the top
  • When you are about to fully extend your arms above your head, make sure your palms finish facing forward
  • Slowly return the kettlebell to the starting position and inhale

Pro-Tip

It is important that you do not bend your wrist back too much as you can strain it. Try to keep the pressure of the kettlebell handle across your mid-lower palm so it feels like you are pressing through your wrist rather than your hand. This makes the pressing feel easier.

5. Half-Kneeling Kettlebell Bottom Up Press

The half-kneeling kettlebell bottom-up press is an advanced alternative to the landmine press. 

Due to the unstable nature of holding the kettlebell upside down, there is a huge demand for balance and stability.

The half-kneeling kettlebell bottom-up press targets the rotator cuff and serratus anterior muscles more. This is particularly useful for any athletes that use overhead movements or engage in some form of throwing such as racket sports or volleyball.

How To Do It

  • Kneel on one knee with one foot forward; this is the half-kneeling position
  • Using the hand opposite to the front leg, hold onto a kettlebell with the bottom of the kettlebell facing the sky
  • Keeping the elbows tucked close towards your torso, take a deep breath in and brace
  • Press the kettlebell vertically upward and backward and exhale
  • When you are about to fully extend your arms above your head, make sure your palms finish facing forward
  • Slowly return the kettlebell to the starting position and inhale

Pro-Tip

Ideally, you want to use a very light load for this as the speed of the execution will be much slower than all the other exercise variations. You want to intentionally slow down the movement when you go up and when you go down.

It is also worth making sure that you press vertically for as long as possible and delay the flaring out of your elbows. This helps activate the stabilizer muscles.

It is important that you squeeze the handle as hard as possible throughout.

6. Single Arm Cable Press in Split Stance

The single-arm cable press in split stance is an advanced alternative to the landmine press and due to the involvement of the lower body, it makes it a more compound variation. 

As the legs are more involved in this variation, it means that there will be a great demand on the core muscles to help stabilize the posture during the execution of the exercise.

How To Do It

  • Stand in a split stance while keeping the knee of the rear leg about 3 to 6 inches off the ground
  • Position yourself facing away from the cable column, with the single hand cable attachment set at the lowest position of the cable column
  • Grab onto the cable with the arm opposite to the front leg; make sure the cable rests across the outside of the arm
  • Keeping the other hand firmly placed by the side of the hips, take a deep breath in and brace
  • Press the handle upwards with a slight forward trajectory with an exhale when you fully extend your arm
  • Inhale as your return the arm to the start position, then repeat

Pro-Tip

To maximize how well you balance in this exercise, make sure your front foot points inwards slightly, and that your backward points towards your front foot. You do not want to be too explosive when you press, so you can balance as best as you can.

Related Article:  How Do Powerlifters Train Shoulders? (Definitive Guide)

7. Single Arm Standing Dumbbell Press

The single-arm standing dumbbell press is a good alternative to the landmine press. As you are standing up and further away from the ground, there is a slightly higher demand for balance and stability than compared to the half-kneeling ones as the legs are used and you have a smaller base of support.

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet close together or about hip widths apart
  • Hold onto a dumbbell with a chosen arm, with the elbows flared out slightly
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the dumbbell vertically upwards until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders and finish in the start position

Pro-Tip

To counterbalance against the dumbbell, stick your passive arm horizontally out by your side and pay attention to keeping your center of mass across the midfoot. 

8. Single Arm Push Press/Circus Press

The single-arm push press/circus is a harder alternative to the landmine press. This would be a progression from the landmine press. You are now including an active effort from the legs to assist with the press. 

As you are using your legs to assist, it means you are generally dealing with higher loads. This is more useful for sports that require maximum strength and explosive strength qualities.

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet about hip widths apart
  • Hold onto a dumbbell with a chosen arm and keep it by the shoulders, with the elbows flared out slightly
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Take a slight dip until your knees are roughly above your toes
  • Explosively push your legs upwards until the dumbbell comes off your shoulders
  • Finish fully extending the arms until your arms finish by your ears
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders and finish in the start position

Pro-Tip

For the health and safety of this exercise, it is important that you have plenty of space around you for when you put the dumbbell on the floor after finishing the set.

As this is more of a strength exercise, you want to make sure you choose a higher weight, but make sure that it is light enough that both arms can perform the same number of reps for the same weight. You also do not want to go past failure as this exercise can be a slightly higher-risk exercise.

9. Single Arm Standing Arnold Press

The single-arm standing Arnold press is a great replacement for the landmine press. This alternative has a more upward pressing movement whereas the landmine press has a slightly more forward and upward pressing movement.

This means that there is more activation with the deltoids particularly the side deltoids, and little to no activation in the pecs.

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet close together or about hip widths apart
  • Hold the dumbbell in front of your shoulders with your palms facing backward
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the dumbbell up and rotate the arms outwards, then back in until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders in the same manner and reset your breath ready for subsequent reps

Pro-Tip

With this exercise variation, you want to stick with a lighter weight as going too heavy might encourage you to overextend to try and put your body in a position to use the pecs to push the weight up.

10. Alternating Seated Arnold Press

The alternating seated Arnold press is a more time-efficient landmine press substitute. 

The difference between the alternating seated Arnold press and the landmine press is that you are alternating between pressing with each arm within each set. In the landmine press, you focus on pressing with one arm during a set before pressing with the other.

The element of alternating between each arm means that you are unlikely to fatigue from pressing with one arm only first. Also, there is less engagement with the core muscles as the dumbbells balance each other on each side.

This is considered more of an isolation exercise on the shoulder and tricep muscles.

How To Do It

  • Set up a free weight bench to be close to vertical or at about 75 degrees
  • Hold onto a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing backward
  • Take a deep breath in and keep your back flat against the bench
  • Press a dumbbell upward and exhale.
  • As you press, rotate your elbows outwards and then upward and finish with one arm by your ears
  • Return that dumbbell back down to the shoulders in the same manner and inhale
  • Press the dumbbell on the opposite arm then bring it back down in the same manner

Pro-Tip

You may find it helpful to elevate the feet as this helps lock in the pelvis to stop your back from wanting to extend if you ever struggle with the load of the dumbbells or if you start to fatigue and your form wants to break down.

Related Article: 9 Overhead Press Alternatives (With Pictures)

11. Alternating Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The alternating seated dumbbell shoulder press is an easier alternative to the landmine press. 

Having a dumbbell on both arms helps counterbalance each other so there is less core involvement. 

It has a smaller range of motion than compared to the alternating seated Arnold press, so that makes the exercise easier. This means you can use slightly heavier dumbbells.

How To Do It

  • Set up a free weight bench to be close to vertical or at about 75 degrees
  • Hold onto a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing forward and elbows flared out
  • Take a deep breath in and keep your back flat against the bench
  • Press a dumbbell upward, finish with the arm fully extended vertically and exhale
  • Return that dumbbell back down to the shoulders in the same manner and inhale
  • Press the dumbbell on the opposite arm then bring it back down in the same manner

Pro-Tip

It might be helpful to keep your elbows tucked in more if you have previously had shoulder issues. It is good to think about keeping your chest down when you reach the top so you make sure that the whole movement is exclusively coming from your shoulders.

12. Single Arm Standing Kettlebell Shoulder Press

The single-arm standing kettlebell shoulder press is a great alternative to the landmine press. 

As you are standing up, there will be a higher activation in the core muscles to stabilize the torso so you can balance properly during the press.

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet close together or about hip widths apart
  • Hold the kettlebell in front of your shoulders with your hands by your mid-chest with the body of the kettlebell by your forearms
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the kettlebell up and rotate the arms outwards, then back in until your arm is by your ears and palms facing forward
  • Return the kettlebell slowly down to your shoulders in the same manner and reset your breath ready for prescribed reps

Pro-Tip

To counter the changing center of mass as you are pressing, lean back initially when you press the kettlebell upwards, and when you pass halfway, lean forward again and push your head forward.

13. Single Arm Standing Kettlebell Bottom Up Press

The single-arm standing kettlebell shoulder press is one of the hardest alternatives to the landmine press. 

The fact that you are standing and the kettlebell is upside down means that there is a large demand for stability and balance.

During this alternative, you activate your shoulder stabilizers, particularly the rotator cuff muscles (external rotators). 

This makes it a really useful shoulder health exercise for people who bench press a lot as they tend to train their internal rotators a lot during the bench press. The internal rotators and external rotators are opposite muscle groups, so it’s important to train both equally.

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet about hip widths apart
  • Hold onto a kettlebell with the bottom of the kettlebell facing the sky
  • Keeping the elbows tucked close towards your torso, take a deep breath in and brace
  • Press the kettlebell vertically upward and backward, then exhale at the top
  • When you are about to fully extend your arms above your head, make sure your palms finish facing forward
  • Slowly return the kettlebell to the starting position and inhale

Pro-Tip

The differences in strength of each shoulder will be more prominent with this exercise variation so I highly recommend that you start with your weaker arm first. For most people, this is the left arm.

14. Single Arm Dumbbell Z Press

The single-arm dumbbell Z press is the dumbbell version of an overhead exercise called a Z press. This was made famous by the Lithuanian strongman competitor Zydrunas Savickas.

This alternative to the landmine press is a good variation to help lock the core so you cannot overextend your back when you perform a shoulder press variation. Overextending the lower back tends to happen when you have limited mobility in the shoulders.

This variation will force your serratus anterior to be used more to assist shoulder mobility and stability.

How To Do It

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight out; the legs can be kept close together or slightly angled outward
  • Hold onto a dumbbell with a chosen arm, with the elbows flared out slightly
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard
  • Press the dumbbell vertically upwards until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders and finish in the start position

Pro-Tip

If you have poor lower body mobility you may find it hard to sit in a Z press position. What I recommend is either to bend your knees ever so slightly and/or sit on a slight elevation such as a bumper plate.

15. Single Arm Arnold Z Press

The single-arm Arnold Z press is a combination between the Arnold press and the Z press. 

This means that there is an extra rotation in the shoulders and forearms during the press. This makes the single-arm Arnold Z press longer in range of motion and a progression to the single-arm dumbbell Z press.

How To Do It

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight out; the legs can be kept close together or slightly angled outward
  • With your palms facing backward, hold the dumbbell in front of your shoulder
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and brace your core hard. Maintain a vertical torso or a slight backward lean.
  • Press the dumbbell up and rotate the arms outwards, then back in until your arm is by your ears and exhale
  • Return the dumbbell slowly down to your shoulders in the same manner and reset your breath ready for subsequent reps

Pro-Tip

The single-arm Arnold Z press can be performed with either a dumbbell or a kettlebell depending on what feels most comfortable for you. 

To increase the range of motion ever so slightly, start with a slight backward lean when you start the press then lean forward as you finish the press. By leaning back, you stretch your front deltoid a slight bit more.

Other Exercise Alternatives


About The Author: Norman Cheung ASCC, British Powerlifting Team Coach

Norman Cheung

Norman Cheung is a powerlifting coach and an accredited strength and conditioning coach under the UKSCA. He has been coaching powerlifting since 2012 and has been an IPF Team GB coach since 2016. He has experience with coaching a variety of lifters from novices to international medallists and international university teams. Along side coaching, he takes interest in helping powerlifters take their first step into coaching. He currently runs his coaching services at strongambitionscoaching.com