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  • Writer's pictureCoach Matt Pippin

Alternative To The Overhead Press For Shoulder Pain

Shoulders always achey after overhead press day? Don’t want to give up overhead pressing because you know it’s the only way to get those boulder shoulders???

Well the good news is there’s a better way and I’ll show you how with an exercise alternative for the shoulder press that will allow you to keep making those gains without causing pain.


In most cases, the reason the overhead press is causing you shoulder pain is because you don't have the prerequisites of shoulder mobility needed for the movement.

What I mean by that is if you can't put both arms overhead without moving other parts of your body to compensate, you're going to have big problems. If you can't get your arms into the position of the exercise without weight, and then you go to load it, what do you think is going to happen? Your shoulders get angry and eventually, it will bleed down into your lower back as well.


In today’s coaching, I’m going to let you have your cake and it eat too by showing you how to do a landmine shoulder press. I love this alternative exercise because they allow you to keep training the overhead press, but in the range that’s safe for your shoulder, instead of forcing it into a position you can't control.

With the landmine press, we're going to figure out where your current shoulder mobility is at and then you can train in that range. This then allows you to continue building strength safely, while you work on your shoulder mobility in the background. And yes, you have to work on that shoulder mobility—this alternative is not a shortcut.


The first thing we have to do with this alternative, before getting into the landmine press is figure out where your safe shoulder range is and we'll do this for each arm:

  • Take your left hand and put it on your abdominals. This will ensure you're not leaning forward or back.

  • Keep your head directly over your body. Don't stick your head out in front of you like a turtle (a lot of people do this because it feels like you have more shoulder range than you actually do).

  • Lift your right arm straight up to the sky. Stop when you feel resistance or a block like you can't go any further. Don't force this!

  • Repeat these steps for your other arm because sometimes each arm can be different so you'll want to train where each shoulder is at.

Setup For the Landmine Shoulder Press

Now that you have the shoulder range you're going to train at let's get into the landmine shoulder press:

  • Grab the end of the bar and get into a staggered stance

  • Brace your abs and push up and away, stopping at your end range of shoulder mobility that you just identified.

  • The more forward your torso is, the more shoulder mobility required, and more vertical it is, the less shoulder mobility required.

  • Bring the bar back down toward your shoulder, with your elbow tucked in to your side.

  • As you press back up, don't let your elbow "chicken wing" out. Keep it tucked in and in line with the bar as you press.

  • Repeat these steps on the other arm, only going to the range that you tested for that arm.

Equipment Needed for a Landmine Shoulder Press

  • A barbell

  • Plates

  • Landmine attachment (if you don’t have one, you can put the wrap the end of the bar with a towel and put it in the corner of a room).


You can do this on overhead press day regardless of if you’re going for lower reps or higher reps. When picking your weight for the first time, start conservatively until you get a feel for the movement. Then you can increase your load as needed.


One thing that’s important is to take care of that shoulder problem! These guys take so much abuse and we need to show them some love, especially if you’re experiencing problems.

If you continue to overhead press the conventional way without addressing your shoulder problem, you’re eventually going to cause some kind of damage either in your shoulder or your spine.

Join me for the Healthy Shoulders 10 Day Challenge and get the simple - but incredibly powerful - set of exercises that I use with clients to relieve shoulder pain. The best part? It takes less 10 minutes a day.

How to relieve shoulder pain



Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change. CLICK HERE to learn more.


  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)

  • Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor

  • Weck Method Qualified


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