Use the landmine press to build a bigger chest
The landmine press might just be the best chest-building exercise you’ve never done. So if you want to sculpt a bigger, stronger and more defined chest, here’s how to add the landmine press to your training toolkit to get incredible results quickly, says New Body Plan fitness editor Joe Warner
When they want to build a bigger, broader and more defined chest, most guys never wander too far from the barbell bench press. Sure, they may occasionally change things up with the dumbbell bench press, the machine chest press, or even the Smith machine bench. But that’s about it. All they ever do is these standard pressing movements.
If you’ve been training a little while you’ll know that doing so will only get you so far. If you’re serious about sculpting an eye-catching upper body you need to add in a variety of chest-building moves, using machines, freeweights and cables, such as the cable chest press, the standing cable flye and cable crossover.
Landmine press for big chest success
The one trick almost everyone is missing, however, in the pursuit of an awesome chest is the landmine press. In my two decades of gym training I have only ever seen one person do it – and that was me!
The move targets the muscles of your chest in a way that’s very difficult to replicate with any other bit of gym kit, and once you’ve got the hang of how to set the move up and perform it correctly you’ll notice a massive difference. Both in how it hits your chest – especially the inner portion of the pectoralis major (the main muscle of your chest) – as well as your triceps and shoulders, and the pump you get from doing it.
What is the landmine press?
The landmine press is one of the very best chest-building exercises that almost nobody does. It works your chest muscles in a way that’s almost impossible to replicate with more popular chest moves. And because the key to maximising the size and strength of a particular muscle is to hit it from different angles, that means the landmine press should feature regularly in any muscle-building gym training plan.
What equipment do I need to do a landmine press?
All you need to perform the landline press is a landmine holder, a barbell, and some weight plates. Although if you’re new to this move the weight of the barbell will be enough so you don’t even need any plates. In most gyms you can find a landmine holder attached to a squat rack or power cage, although they can come as standalone units. If your gym doesn’t have a dedicated hold you can wedge one end of the barbell in a corner between two walls.
What muscles does the landmine press work?
The primary muscle targeted in the landmine press is the pectoralis major, which is the technical name for the biggest of your two main chest muscles. But like all upper-body pressing movements, your front shoulders and triceps also get in on the act, making it a fantastic move for working all your major upper-body pushing muscles. If you do the move standing up you’ll also work your abs, lower back and glutes, which all work together to stabilise your body.
Should I do the landmine press standing up or kneeling down?
Both variations have their advantages. Doing the landmine press standing up works more secondary muscles, such as your core and glutes, to keep your body stable. It also changes the pushing angle to work your chest through a slightly different movement pattern.
Doing the landmine press kneeling down doesn’t recruit those stabilising muscles as much, but on the plus side allows you to lift slightly heavier through a different range of motion. That means you should regularly switch between variations, just as you might do with the standing overhead shoulder press and seated shoulder press machine.
How do I do the landmine press?
This form guide is for the standing landmine press. To do the kneeling landmine press simply start in a kneeling position
• Add the required weight to the landmined barbell then squat down and grip the end of the bar with both hands.
• Stand up, holding the end of the bar at chest height, with your chin and chest up, and abs and glutes engaged. You find leaning slightly into the bar, with your feet shoulder-width apart, improves your balance.
• From there, press the bar directly forward until your arms are almost straight. Don’t lock-out your arms fully to keep maximum tension on your chest, shoulders and triceps.
• Slowly lower the bar back down to the start position. That’s one rep.
• Do 8-12 reps, rest for two minutes, and do 3-4 sets in total.
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