Use The Negative Landmine Push Jerk for Power & Size

Use The Eccentric Accentuated Landmine Push Jerk for Power, Size, & Strength

Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.

If you’re looking for a unique upper body exercise to spark new growth in your shoulders, upper chest, triceps, and upper back as well as improve stability in your core and shoulders then you’ll want to give this a go.  Essentially you’ll be performing a single arm landmine push jerk using an accentuated eccentric or slow negative. 

Instead of using a standard strict press or even a traditional push press, we’ll be opting for a more aggressive and explosive overhead power variation using the push jerk.  In other words, rather than simply using slight or moderate leg drive to assist your upper body in hoisting the weight overhead, you’ll be using maximal leg drive almost as if you were jumping by essentially launching the load upward as violently as possible in one motion.  Besides acting as a very effective full body explosive power movement, you can further modify this exercise to take advantage of the growth stimulus by using a slow eccentric.

 Because the entire lower body is recruited explosively to assist only one arm this will allow greater overload than normal to that side thereby stimulating significant gains in strength and hypertrophy.  Simply put the load will be far greater than what you would typically handle under strict press or even push press conditions.  Performing these with a controlled negative will further enhance the growth-inducing benefits of this exercise as the eccentric phase will be exceptionally heavier and far beyond your typical 1RM for a strict press.

In other words you’ll be using supramaximal loading on the eccentric portion of the exercise. Think of these as heavy negatives for the upper body pressing muscles but instead of having a spotter help you lift the weight on the concentric phase, your legs will assist you instead.  The amount of mechanical tension and muscular damage elicited from such a protocol will be enough to kick start newfound growth even for the most genetically stubborn and frail physique.

 The core also gets its fair share of work. When performed as a unilateral movement (each arm individually) this creates a strong stimulus to the anti-lateral flexion muscles and rotary stabilizers of the core as the body has to resist offset forces. The rotary stability component is further emphasized when using the landmine station due to the rotational nature of the device.  In simple terms, expect your entire core to get crushed from these.

This is also a relatively safe and joint friendly eccentric or negative accentuated movement.  That’s because the angled force vectors of the landmine tend to be more conducive for packing and centrating the shoulder joint in comparison to standard overhead presses with barbells and dumbbells that involve purely vertical force vectors.  These angled force vectors also tend to be much easier on the spine and low back compared to traditional overhead presses.

On a side note, the angled vectors of the landmine press make it perfectly acceptable to come onto the toes during the dip phase of the push press in contrast to a standard push press where you would want to stay on the entire foot until the extension phase.

Because of the relatively longer time under tension and intensity of reach repetition I recommend incorporating lower rep ranges.  Several sets of 3-4 repetitions will be more than enough to spark new functional strength and growth throughout the body.

Bonus: Landmine Hang Clean

Fortunately the landmine station can be used on other Olympic lifts as well. Here’s a unique landmine hang clean as performed by 3 of my NFL football players Taylor Heinicke, Marquell Beckwith, and Jullian Williams.

The landmine clean is a surprisingly simple yet brutally effective power exercise that truly targets hip extension and leg drive. Simply grip the end of a landmine station (i.e. barbell collar) perform an eccentric isometric hinge, launch the barbell up, then catch it at the chest. Think of this as similar to an underhand med ball hip toss only the lifter can overload the movement to work on maximizing power and strength simultaneously.

Additionally the catch requires significant full body activation as a means of decelerating the load and absorbing impact. Although it may look a bit unusual, the learning curve is surprisingly quick allowing athletes to focus more on hip drive and power than on technical efficiency which is something that can be more difficult to accomplish with traditional Olympic lifts. In fact, this was the first time I had these athletes perform this movement and this was only their third set. Although their first sets required a bit of an adjustment period, all 3 of them found the movement quite user friendly and natural feeling after just a few minutes. 

To learn more about programming unique explosive movements and landmine exercises into your training routine check out my Complete Templates program