The landmine press is a brilliant exercise for developing size and strength in your shoulders. But what happens when you can't perform the landmine press? 

Whether it's lack of equipment or you simply want to freshen up your routine, I've got 10 alternatives for you. 

Throughout this article I'll discuss each one and show you how to perform them, so you'll never be left wondering what you can do instead of landmine press.

If you don't have access to a landmine attachment, there are a wide variety of landmine press alternatives that you can perform. 

Below you'll find 10 of the best landmine variations around. Number 5 is one of my favorites and I perform it each week.

1. Standing Upward Fly 

Man Doing Standing Upward Fly Exercise In The Gym

This two hand landmine press alternative only requires dumbbells, making it ideal for your home gym. It gives you some of the benefits of the landmine press in terms of muscles worked, as it strengthens your front deltoids.

I've often used this movement with new clients as it's a simple exercise to learn and is relatively safe for them to perform on their own without my supervision.

Although it can still be challenging for more advanced lifters too. 


  • Minimal equipment required.
  • Suitable for beginners.
  • Develops your front delts.

how to do it:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell held in each hand at waist level with palms facing outward.
  2. Keep a slight bend in the elbow and lift the dumbbells upwards until they almost meet in front of your chest.
  3. Pause when you reach head height and slowly reverse the movement back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat and complete your set. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If new to this movement, start with lighter weights until your form is perfect, then progress by increasing the weight.

2. Incline Chest Press Machine 

Man Doing Incline Chest Press Exercise On The Machine

The chest press machine is another two handed landmine press alternative. As it uses an incline position, it activates your shoulders, upper pecs, and triceps. 

However, even though it does work your shoulders, this landmine press variation has more of a chest and triceps focus.

One aspect I love about this movement is that it removes the need to engage your core muscles. As you don't need to use your core for stability, it's a great option if you've got stability issues. 

Some of my clients prefer to start out on the chest press machine as it allows them to develop a base strength before they move on to barbell or dumbbell work. 


  • Develops your chest muscles.
  • Doesn't rely on core strength.
  • Great for all ability levels.

How to do it:

  1. Load a suitable weight on the machine.  
  2. Sit down and grab both handles with an overhand grip (or neutral grip depending on the handles available).
  3. Keep your feet flat on the floor and extend your arms, pushing the machine’s handles away from your body.
  4. Pause at the top of your movement just before your elbows lock.
  5. Return to your starting position with a controlled movement and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you're looking for a killer super set to burn out your chest at the end of a workout, try and super set this movement with push-ups. You're chest will be like a barrel at the end of your session. 

3. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 

Man Doing Incline Dumbbell Chest Press Exercise

One of my all time favorite exercises is the incline dumbbell bench press. 

Why you ask?

Because it's excellent for your strength, stability, and mobility. And, it doesn't require much core stability which is a bonus when you've been hitting abs hard all week and they're feeling tender. 

It's a good landmine press alternative as it works your upper chest, triceps, and shoulders, helping you develop a stronger looking upper body. 

I've used this exercise many times to help iron out muscular imbalance in clients and even myself (it happens to us all at some point).

As each arm moves independently of one another, it prevents your stronger side from overcompensating; which tends to happen with barbell work. 

Overall, it's a brilliant landmine press substitute.

However, if you don’t have access to this equipment, or you have an injury that prevents you from doing this exercise, you can try out incline dumbbell press alternatives.


  • Develops stability.
  • Excellent range of motion.
  • Great for chest, triceps, and shoulder development.

how to do it:

  1. Set your bench to an angle of 45-degrees.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in each hand, with your back flat against the bench and your feet flat on the ground.
  3. Hold your dumbbells at shoulder level and keep your palms pointing outward.
  4. Push the dumbbells up overhead by extending your elbows.
  5. Once you reach full extension, bring your dumbbells back to the sides of your chest with a controlled movement.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Draw your shoulder blades into the bench during each rep. This will provide you with maximum stability and will help you avoid any annoying shoulder injuries. 

4. Decline Push-Ups (Landmine Press Alternative For At Home)

Woman Doing Decline Push-Ups

Decline push ups are by far one of the easiest landmine press alternatives to perform when you're always on the move.

I've done this movement in the gym, at home, in my office, and even in hotel rooms. Heck, you could even do them in the park if needed. 

Like regular push-ups, these work the pectorals, deltoids, triceps, core, and the serratus anterior giving you a comprehensive exercise that ticks many of those all-important landmine boxes.

The declined position places extra emphasis on your shoulder muscles, which is a key feature of a good landmine replacement. The higher your legs are the more your shoulders are recruited. 

However, even though I'm a huge fan of this landmine press substitute, it's not suitable for everyone. If you suffer joint pain in your wrist, elbow, or shoulders, it might be too much for you.

A lot of force is placed on your wrists and even I've had a few issues in the past with this movement. 


  • Uses body weight.
  • Develops your shoulders.
  • Minimal space or equipment required.

How to do it:

  1. Get in the push-up position with your legs elevated on a ledge or surface. Your whole body should be straight and in line, with your arms pointing straight down.
  2. Lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows until they reach 45-degrees. Depending on the level of your foot incline, your chest may not be able to touch the floor. 
  3. Drive your body back upward to the starting position.
  4. Repeat and complete your set.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Place your hands on two blocks to elevate your starting position. This will allow you to achieve a greater range of motion during each rep.

5. Steep Incline Dumbbell Press (Landmine Press Dumbbell Alternative)

Man Doing Steep Incline Dumbbell Press In The Gym

Ok, while all the other exercises on this list are excellent, this is my personal favorite. I always use this landmine press substitute during my shoulder day. 

While regular incline dumbbell presses are a reasonable substitute for the landmine press, you'll need to take things further to truly replicate the benefits to your deltoids and triceps. 

Traditionally, placing the bench press in a 90-degree position places the most force through your delts. But, this positioning can cause shoulder pain due to the angle it puts your shoulders in.

To counteract this issue, you can set the bench one or two notches past 90-degrees (reducing the angle slightly). 

By doing so, you're still maximizing the amount of work your shoulders are doing while placing them in a more comfortable position. 


  • Targets the upper chest muscles, specifically the clavicular head of the pectoralis major.
  • Helps develop strength and size in the upper chest.
  • Engages the anterior deltoids (shoulders) and triceps as secondary muscles.
  • Provides a greater range of motion.

how to do it:

  1. Set your bench to between a 60 to 70-degree angle.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie with your back flat against the bench and both feet flat on the ground.
  3. Hold both dumbbells at shoulder level with palms pointing outward.
  4. Push both dumbbells overhead and up by extending the elbows.
  5. Once the full extension is reached, bring the dumbbells back to each side of the chest with control.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you would like to work the core in a similar way to the landmine press, consider trying it with one dumbbell held centrally with two hands instead. 

6. Military Press 

Woman Doing Military Press Exercise

One incredible compound exercise is a great landmine shoulder press alternative. The military press (often referred to as the shoulder press)  is traditionally performed using a barbell, yet you can use two dumbbells or kettlebells instead.

As you're using a barbell (usually), you can overload your shoulder muscles with a large amount of weight.

The standing position works your core just like the landmine press. Your trapezius, triceps, pectoralis major, and the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids are all activated during this comprehensive replacement exercise.

It’s also great for shoulder flexibility, especially if you use two dumbbells. 

While it's a brilliant landmine press alternative, it's not for everyone. It's a complex compound movement and it can be challenging for beginners. I always recommend perfecting your form before increasing the weight. 


  • Overloads your shoulders.
  • It's a compound movement.
  • Doesn't require a lot of equipment.

how to do it:

  1. Load a barbell with a suitable weight.
  2. Grab the barbell using shoulder width overhand grip.
  3. Lift the barbell to your shoulder height. Rest the barbell across the front of your shoulders. 
  4. Unrack the weight and take two steps back. 
  5. Take a stance with feet hip-width apart and pointing outward slightly.
  6. Press the weight up until your arms are fully extended above your head. Keep your core and glutes engaged, your wrists straight, and your spine neutral.
  7. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Use your breathing to your advantage. Breathe in and brace your core, then breathe out as you press the weight above your head. Doing so will help with your power generation and with your core stability.

7. Dumbbell Overhead Seesaw Press 

Man Doing Dumbbell Overhead Seesaw Press

The overhead seesaw press is one of the most uncommon landmine press alternatives on this list. I haven't seen many people perform this in the gym.

This 2-handed landmine shoulder press alternative is a useful replacement that can be done with either two dumbbells or two kettlebells.

AND, it hits many of the key landmine areas, such as all parts of the shoulders, the triceps, the trapezius in your upper back, and the core. 

I like this movement as it's rather simple to perform and you can do it almost anywhere. 


  • Minimal equipment needed.
  • You can do them anywhere. 

how to do it:

  1. Hold the kettlebells or dumbbells at shoulder height. Your palms should face forward, your core should be engaged, and your shoulders should be pulled down and back.
  2. Begin with one weight pressed straight overhead by extending your arm. This will be the starting position for each rep.
  3. Lower the raised weight with control to shoulder height, while simultaneously pressing the other straight up to full arm extension as before.
  4. Each alternation of the two pressed weights is one rep.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you are struggling, this exercise can be performed while seated. However, you will sacrifice the all-important core engagement.  

8. Half-Kneeling Cable Press 

Man Doing Half-Kneeling Cable Press Exercise In The Gym

This single arm landmine press alternative requires a cable machine and places constant tension across your working muscles (mainly your shoulders and core muscles).

I enjoy this exercise as you can try it out regardless of your ability level. And, it strengthens your hips, glutes, pectorals, triceps, and shoulders.

Even though this exercise requires a cable machine, you can perform it at home by switching to a resistance band.

I've used resistance bands in my hotel room while travelling, it allows you to keep working out even when you're on the move.

It's a fantastic landmine press alternative.


  • Constant tension on your shoulders. 
  • Works your core. 

how to do it:

  1. Set a single-hand cable at the lowest position and face away from the cable machine.
  2. Kneel with one knee directly below your body. The other leg should be out front with the knee at a 90-degree angle. 
  3. Grab the cable with your kneeling-side hand, ensuring it rests on the outside of your arm. Brace yourself and keep the other arm firmly by your side.
  4. Press the cable forward to full arm extension.
  5. Return the cable to the initial position with control.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • To focus more on your deltoids, press the cable upward. To work the pecs harder, ensure it stays horizontal. 

9. Half-Kneeling Dumbbell Press 

Man Doing Half-Kneeling Dumbbell Press

This single arm kneeling landmine press alternative boasts more vertical motion than traditional landmine presses, isolating and working all three parts of your deltoids to a greater extent and relying on the pectorals less. 

Due to the balance required, it works the hips and provides an intense core workout. Regularly practicing this alongside shoulder/bench presses will round out your shoulder routine with increased flexibility and athleticism.

If your gym doesn't have a landmine attachment (or you can't get on it), this is the closest movement you can perform.  As it only requires one dumbbell, you don't need a lot of space for this exercise. 


  • Engages your core.
  • Minimal equipment needed.

how to do it:

  1. Kneel with a knee directly under your body and the other leg out in front of you with the knee bent at 90-degrees.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with the hand on your kneeling side and rest it upon your shoulder.
  3. Engage your core and press your dumbbell straight upward until your arm is fully extended by your ear.
  4. Return your dumbbell to shoulder height with a controlled movement.

Tips From A Trainer!

Avoid leaning forward during this exercise, as it risks overextending your back.  

10. Half-Kneeling Arnold Press 

Man Performing Half-Kneeling Arnold Press Exercise In The Gym

Similar to the half-kneeling dumbbell press, this landmine press substitute uses a single arm and increases the demand on your side deltoid as your arm rotates. In fact, it works all three heads of your deltoids. 

And, it you haven't guessed by the name, it's a variation of Arnold Schwarzenegger's movement "the Arnold Press". If it's good enough for Arnold, it's good enough for me.

As you're kneeling, it provides a greater range of movement and develops both stability and strength in your core and hips, thanks to the balance required to maintain good form while balancing on one knee.

 However, it will require a lighter weight than half-kneeling dumbbell presses. 


  • Works all three deltoid heads.
  • Minimal equipment needed.

how to do it:

  1. Kneel with one knee directly below the body and the other leg out front with the knee bent at 90-degrees.
  2. Hold your dumbbell in front of the shoulder on your kneeling side, with palms facing backward.
  3. Engage your core and press your dumbbell upward while rotating the arm outward and then back in. Your arm should end up by your ear.
  4. Return the dumbbell to the position of step 2 by performing the previous movement in reverse.

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Ensure your kneeling position isn't too narrow, you don't want to be losing balance.  

Benefits Of These Exercises Over Regular Landmine Presses

As we have listed many different alternative landmine press options, the specific benefits you will reap will depend on which routine you select. 

Many require less specific equipment, like the standing upward fly, dumbbell chest presses, overhead seesaw, and military press.

These are often much more home gym friendly if you’re not fully kitted out. Others, like decline push-ups, can be done anywhere at all.

Others, like the half-kneeling exercises, take the challenge, athleticism, and mobility-boosting qualities of the landmine press even further by requiring additional balance, stability, and control.

Half-kneeling dumbbell presses are one of the rare exercises that work all three parts of the deltoids, which you won’t get with regular landmines.

Whereas routines like the super-demanding military press work even more muscle groups than the landmines they aim to replace.

Overall, each new exercise you incorporate into your repertoire brings a new benefit, as each will target areas and provide improvements in a slightly different way.

A varied workout regime best promotes balanced fitness while also keeping things as fresh as possible for you.

What Muscles Do Landmine Press Substitute Exercises Work?

Deltoids (Anterior & Lateral)

These are the primary muscles used when driving the landmine press or performing the equivalent action in an alternative exercise. As well as building shoulder strength, developing them aids joint mobility and can address pre-existing imbalances and asymmetries.[1]

Obliques, Abdominals & Back Extensors

Your core, and your obliques especially, create the foundation for landmine presses and their faithful equivalents. Keeping it engaged during the movement promotes stability and prevents over-rotation, as well as its associated injury risks. Similarly, your back extensors work to maintain good posture and prevent spinal overextension. 

Pectoralis Major & Minor 

The pecs are the main source of strength in your chest, and the area to focus on if you want to increase the size of your chest. They will be involved in any landmine equivalent where lifting power comes from your chest. Additionally, they control the movement of your arms and are integral to deep inhalation.

Serratus Anterior 

These muscles are found on your side, near your upper ribs. They help stabilize the shoulders, which is essential to maintaining good form and control in most landmine alternative exercises.[2]


Your triceps are not the main focus of a traditional landmine press. However, they are integral to elbow extension and in assisting your shoulders to achieve lockout in any landmine or equivalent exercise.[3]

Common Landmine Press Questions

Where does the landmine press get its name? 

There’s not much information on where the landmine press got its name. My guess would be that it relies on a base firmly planted into the ground, just like landmine weaponry. However, what I do know is that they’re a versatile piece of exercise equipment.

Is a landmine press exercise for the shoulders or chest? 

The landmine press works both the shoulders and the chest. Yet, the main focus is on the shoulders, especially the deltoids and the scapular stabilizers, which are improved in both strength and mobility.

Are landmine presses effective for building mass? 

Yes, landmine presses are effective for building mass. You can use the landmine press to develop your shoulders, chest, triceps, and core muscles. It's a great exercise for your upper body development in my opinion.


As you’ve seen, it’s not the end of the world if your gym doesn’t have a landmine base, barbell, or any equipment at all – a true fitness fanatic can always find a routine that hits their target areas, especially with this comprehensive guide.

Choose a few of these landmine press alternatives for your workout routine and watch your shoulders grow.





Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.