Jason Benguche M.S, CSCS, CISSN
Upper body “Push” training is often a favorite amongst athletes and recreational lifters. Because of this, many times the staple lifts (i.e, bench press, overhead press) become stagnant and lack variety over time. For a majority of these healthy lifters the staple lifts will help them improve performance and strength over time. However, especially in the team setting, modifications to programming are a must. These modifications can be needed due to injury or to further challenge the movement pattern (i.e ROM, Uni-lateral stress).
Dumbbells are typically the primary option to change stimulus or change the pressing pattern with a single arm variation. I would recommend adding the landmine as another option to add to your toolbox for variety in programming or modification due to injury. The Incline Landmine Single Arm Press requires the following for proper execution:
Upper body postural control
Shoulder girdle strength
Proper base of support
The landmine will be setup down the midline of the incline bench. The bench will be placed slightly further away than the length of the barbell attached in the landmine.
While standing, secure the barbell to chest height and set up in the incline position of the bench with the working arm just below the sleeve of the barbell and fully extended. (Note: If a partner is available use their assistance to secure the bar in the starting position.)
The feet will be flat, firmly on the ground, slightly outside hip width.
In order to keep the barbell in a stable/extended position, the shoulder must be retracted back and down while using the posterior shoulder/ lat to support the bar.
Once stabilized in the setup position, the off-hand is placed on the ribcage while bracing and resisting the rotation of the barbell.
The descent of the barbell is initiated by guiding the elbow down and back to the side of the body with the forearm in line with a stiff wrist.
After a brief pause once the edge of the plate is at the front of the chest/shoulder, return to the starting position by driving the barbell up and out to the starting positon.
Upper Body- (Decent) Excessive elbow flare will be a common fault in all pressing mechanics. The elbow will need to be kept tight to the body directly in line with the wrist. Include additional upper back/ posterior shoulder strengthening to improve the stability and strength to control this position.
Upper Body- (Ascent) Lack of pressing strength will lead to instability of the shoulder stabilizers both in the bottom and top of this movement. Continue to train a variety of pressing patterns that will reinforce chest, shoulder and triceps strength.
Core- Excessive rotation and lack of symmetry will be seen in athletes without the ability to stabilize in the transverse plane. Be sure to include multiple planes of movement in training the core. Also be sure to check base of support (see below).
Base of Support- Feet that are too narrow, or a base of support that lacks tension in the hips and at the ground will lead to instability. The greatest amount of stress will come while returning the barbell to the starting position. Be sure the feet are flat, slightly outside hip width and firmly planted on the ground.
The Incline Landmine Single Arm Press is a great pressing variation to add to the toolbox with other high quality upper body movements. The ability to stabilize, reduce and produce forces in this plane and range of motion can be a powerful component to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury of the upper body. Be sure to always keep progression and regression in mind while loading appropriately for quality movement.