What the heck is landmine?
A landmine is basically a barbell anchored at one end, creating a lever for the trainee to use for resistance. By anchoring one end of the bar, this can create a little more stability, while also challenging the athlete to perform exercises at new angles or vectors. This is an incredibly valuable tool that has become a staple for all of my clients. Like every tool, the landmine works really well for certain goals and movement patterns.
We can break down strength movements into a handful of patterns. We all squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull and rotate. These movement patterns can be performed in 3 different planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse). The research shows that many injuries occur in the frontal and transverse planes, when people are moving laterally, changing direction or rotating during exercise. Because of this, It is a good idea to provide a variety of stimulus in the gym, using different tools, at different speeds, in all planes of motion to ensure that you are prepared for any situation.
7 Landmine Exercises
1. Landmine Squat
Facing the bar, with feet about hip width apart, holding the end of the bar in both hands (chest height). Move the feet back so your body and the bar create a 90 degree angle. Your heals should be elevated in this particular exercise to challenge the feet and make the squat more specific to athletic tasks performed on the field, track or on the mat. As you descend into the squat, allow your knees to track over the toes, with the chest and eyes forward. Pause at the bottom, then drive through the floor to return to a tall standing position.
2. Landmine Row Single Arm
Start standing with feet split long ways, then grab the end of the landmine bar with the same side arm as the back leg. Brace through the trunk, then draw the weight back and up until the hand reaches the ribs. Legs and hips stay stationary and provide a solid base for the exercise and you can allow a little rotation through the upper back during the row. Slowly descend and repeat.
3. Landmine Lunge Lateral
Start standing perpendicular to the landmine bar, with feet split long ways, with the outside foot forward. Grab the end of the bar and place the war hammer handle in the elbows of both arms. Your feet should be a little outside of the end of the bar, so you are leaning slightly into the bar. Then bend both knees and descend until the back knee brushes the floor, then drive through both feet to return to the top position.
4. Landmine Press Half Kneeling Single Arm
Start with one knee down, the other leg directly in front of the hip, knee bent, foot flat on the floor. Bring the weight up to a racked position in front of the shoulder. Weight should be in front of the shoulder opposite from the front leg. Brace through the floor and your trunk, then drive the weight up overhead, with arms locked out.
5. Landmine Deadlift Single Leg
Start standing on one leg, knee slightly bent, holding the end of a landmine bar in the opposite hand. Brace through the trunk, extend the raised leg back, then hinge at the hips, allowing the arms to fall naturally forward from gravity. Keep the hips and shoulder square and do not allow any rotation as you lower the hands towards the floor. Once you feel a slight stretch on the hamstring, reverse the movement, stay square and return to a tall standing position.
6. Landmine CORE Exercise Bear Fight
Start standing, feet a little wider than hip width, with toes slightly pointed out. You should be facing the end of the landmine bar with the Omega attachment. Start by grabbing the omega handle with both hands and raise it overhead, arms almost straight, brace through the trunk and then slowly bring the bar down to one side, pivoting through the balls of your feet, turning the hips and shoulder as you lower the bar to just outside of the front thigh. Drive the feet into the floor, keep the torso tall and guide the weight back around the arch t o return to the top position and then continue on to the other side. Actively push and pull with the hands and do not allow the arms to bend excessively.
7. Landmine Skater Hinge
Start facing the bar, with feet wide and holding the end of the bar with both hands. Arms should be straight. Hinge at the hips and knees, bringing the end of the bar down until you are in a good athletic position, then slowly shift your weight from side to side.
Feet should remain flat, spine neutral and eyes forward. These are just 7 examples of landmine exercises that I have used over the years. In order to customise things for yourself or your clients, it’s important to remember that we need to use the exercise that best fits the ability level and goal of the athlete or person standing in front of us. We can alter the load position, body position, weight, speed and other variables to get the result that we are looking for.
Sample Landmine Workouts
Here are a couple ways we can organize these landmine exercises into an effective workout.
If your goal is strength…
We can pair up two exercises that use different muscle groups and perform them back to back at lower rep ranges (6-12 reps), to improve strength. Rest 2-4 minutes between each set and do each pairing 3-4 times before moving on to the next pair of exercises.
1a. Landmine Squat
1b. Landmine Row Single Arm
2a. Landmine Lunge Lateral
2b. Landmine Press Half Kneeling Single Arm Overhead
3a. Landmine Deadlift Single Leg
3b. Landmine CORE Exercise Bear Fight
4. Landmine Skater Hinge
Want to create more of a conditioning circuit?
We can pair up 3-7 of the exercises and perform them back to back, which will be more taxing on our conditioning. When performing circuits, you will probably use less weight and perform the rep ranges that best fit your goals or ability level. For ease, let’s say that you are going to perform 10 reps of each exercise, with minimal rest between exercises and the rest for 2-3 minutes between sets. Perform 2-3 sets or rounds of the circuit.
1a. Landmine Squat
1b. Landmine Row Single Arm
1c. Landmine Lunge Lateral
1d. Landmine Press Half Kneeling Single Arm
1e. Landmine Deadlift Single Leg
1f. Landmine Core Exercise Bear Fight
1g. Landmine Skater Hinge
The landmine is a very versatile and powerful tool that every gym owner should learn how to use effectively. Like any tool. it can offer new ways to challenge movement patterns that are not available elsewhere. For many people, the landmine offers a simple to use, easy to learn alternative to traditional barbell lifts and dumbbell exercises. It also adds a lot of rotational elements that you cannot perform with these traditional setups.
Corey has 20+ years experience in the fitness world. He started as an intern outside of Chicago, worked in small studios and health clubs, opened 2 private gyms, taught workshops for NSCA & NASM, and is the founder of Fight Camp Conditioning, which provides strength and conditioning information for fighters and grapplers around the globe.
Click here to learn more about landmine attachments used in this video.