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Overhead Lifting: A Must for Shoulder Strength and Size

I Love Pressing Movements

Hulk Hitting Some Odd Object Press

I love shoulder training. I especially love the idea of taking barbells, axles, logs, stones, kegs and other odd objects and lifting them over my head like an absolute caveman or barbarian.

Hell, I’d Overhead Press every workout if I could recover quick enough. When you are doing overhead lifts, it’s like you can just feel the muscle fibers expanding and becoming stronger.

I Hate Shoulder Isolation Work

But one thing that bores the hell out of me is isolation work for the shoulders, like front and side laterals.

Now, if you’re talking posterior delt work, postural work, shoulder stability specific training, I am all about it, but as far as doing Dumbbell Side Laterals, man, I’d rather have you jab me in the eye with an ice pick.

The other reason I don’t like doing a lot of Side Laterals is the fact that the rotator cuff is responsible for the initial movement of the dumbbell, and I have read of people injuring these small muscles doing this exercise, and being out of the weight room for a while because of it, so I don’t like to press my luck in that way, either.

But recently, I wanted to start putting some more emphasis on the Front Delts, so I entertained at least doing some Front Raises with an EZ Curl Bar.

After a couple of shoulder sessions, I was bored out of my mind and looking for something else to try.

Enter: The Landmine Press

Then, out of nowhere I saw an article by Tony Gentilcore on T-nation that showed several lifts for training the front delts, and one of them that caught my eye was Landmine Press, as if he was reading my mind.

I instantly gave the lift a try in my next upper body workout, and I loved it.

Although not a full-on isolation movement for the anterior delts, it did hit them hard and provided yet another way to get my press on.

The next day after the workout, I had that familiar feeling of working the delts hard, but without the stinging pain of straining the underlying, smaller stabilizer muscles.

I tried a couple of variations of the lift, but by far my favorite is the Kneeling Landmine Press. By kneeling, you end up pressing upwards more and it makes the movement a bit more challenging this way.

For instance, I was able to hit the Standing Landmine with 100-lbs added for a set of 8 with each arm, but in the Kneeling position, I could only muster half the reps, plus there seems to be a better core engagement.

Low Ceiling Getting Your Press Down?

When I posted this video up on YouTube, Nate Brous, a friend of mine and certified Red Nail Bender, mentioned that the exercise looked very promising for him in particular, because he is very tall and his home gym has a very low ceiling which makes overhead pressing very difficult. By performing the Kneeling Landmine Press, he can work the pressing muscles without having to deal with the ceiling.

I know all about that, because I used to have a hell of a time pressing in my basement, due to the low ceiling. If you are in the same boat and a low ceiling is keeping you from getting your press on, then this might be the accessory movement for you.

Main lift vs Accessory lift

Take note that I think this lift is best used as an accessory lift. I think for sheer shoulder mass and strength, you will be much better off doing some form of overhead pressing, either standing, or seated, simply because you will be able to move much more weight and work much more overall muscle all at the same time.

To see how to set up this exercise check out this video.

Programming the Kneeling Landmine Press

Here is how I have been training the Kneeling Landmine Press.

Set 1: 25-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 2: 50-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 3: 75-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 4: 100-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 5: Same as set 4.

I have done this two weeks in a row and my best is 4 reps per arm at 100-lbs, if you count that last rep with my right arm in the video as a rep. I got out of alignment, lost my balance, and had to chase the barbell in order to keep from dropping it.

I am toying with the idea of ramping up quicker through the loading and then going for some sicker volume next time I hit this. This is what I am planning:

Set 1: 50-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 2: 75-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 3: 100-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 4: 75-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 5: 75-lbs added. 8 left, 8 right, 7 left, 7 right, 6 reps left, 6 reps right, and so on.

To me, that sounds like some sick-ass volume and it should blow the delts up big time. I will give this a try and report back here.

Until then, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more awesome videos.

All the best in your training.


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