Full Body Workout: A Library of Landmine Exercises
Landmine exercises are user-friendly, requiring just a barbell, plates, and a landmine device. If that's all you had in your home gym, you could easily do a challenging, full body workout.
This little piece of equipment provides guidance and movement constraint. It'll give you resistance in multiple planes to build a complete physique. (1,3) Choose your favorites from each pulling and pushing category for a full body workout.
Like all floor presses, the landmine version limits the range of motion, which can provide a shoulder-friendly reprieve from the demands of traditional benching.
The landmine has unique resistance force vectors and an arced bar path, allowing you to focus on different areas of the chest.
This first variation in the video – with the landmine toward the legs – feels more like a decline bench press and targets the pectoralis major's lower fibers (sternocostal).
- Lie alongside the bar with the landmine base toward your feet and the loaded end of the barbell at nipple level.
- Roll toward your working side to safely retrieve the barbell. Use both hands on the bar as you roll to your back and position the barbell above your elbow.
- Press along the natural arc.
This variation feels like a slightly inclined chest press. With the landmine placed above the head, this variation hits the upper parts (clavicular fibers) of the pec major a bit harder than a flat bench press or standard floor press.
- For safety, make sure your head is below the level of the plates. Use both hands to bring the barbell sleeve over your working arm's elbow.
- Press in the natural arced path of the landmine.
This is a great core-builder. Use this position to engage the sling-like system of muscles from glutes to serratus anterior while pressing. It's also a great delt-builder.
- Kneel on the side opposite your pressing arm.
- Brace your glutes and core and begin with your elbow pointing down.
- Drive the bar up and away. End the rep just before your elbow locks out, then return to the starting position.
The Z press is a great exercise for dialing in the shoulder complex and trunk for optimal overhead pressing. However, if you're missing range of motion, the traditional free-weight Z press won't work well for you.
If your range of motion restriction is mild, you might be able to program the landmine Z press right away. As a bonus, the horizontal component of the landmine resistance will challenge your abs and hip flexors more than the standard Z press.
- Sit down with legs spread wide. Belly up to the business end of the barbell.
- Press along the natural arced path of the landmine.
You can move big plates from a standing position, which will train your often-neglected stabilizing muscles.
Use strict form without any leg drive to focus on the upper body. Or, go heavier and use a semi-squat countermovement, which trains your body to transfer kinetic energy.
- Take a staggered stance with the non-working leg in front. Maintain a slight forward trunk lean throughout.
- Press the bar forward and up along the natural arc of the landmine.
The "principle of levers" tells us that the landmine's resistance curve descends as it's lifted. The load is heavier at the bottom and lighter at the top. This resistance curve fits nicely with upper-body pulling movements, which are naturally stronger at the bottom than at the top. Exploit the variable resistance by programming landmine variations of rows.
- Stand with the bar alongside your body.
- Hinge forward at the hips and grip the barbell just beneath the sleeve.
- Row the bar with a sweeping up and back motion.
Yep, you can do a Kroc row with a landmine too. These are meant to be heavy and high rep. As such, they permit some body English. Since the landmine version requires gripping the barbell sleeve, you'll need a strap to train the back optimally.
- Load up the landmine with small diameter plates and stand with the bar at a 30 to 45-degree angle behind the plane of your hips.
- Brace with your non-working arm on a bench or sturdy machine.
- Bend deeply at the hips, then grip and rip. Although some momentum from the trunk is permitted, the shoulder and scapula should still perform the brunt of the work.
We've been taught to fear the upright row, which is too bad since it's a potent delt-builder. The landmine version is as comfortable as it is effective. The arced path of the landmine encourages shoulder abduction, which hammers the deltoid and rotator cuff while reducing the opportunity for the traps to take over.
- Hold the barbell in front of your groin with an overhand grip.
- Lead with the elbow as you pull the bar up and out.
This row trains the mid-back and posterior delts with a better resistance profile than anything you'll ever set up with free-weight equipment.
- Stand with the barbell running perpendicular to your body. Your outside foot should be slightly in front of your inside foot.
- Take an overhand grip on the sleeve, hinge forward at the hips, and brace your non-working arm on your thigh.
- Simultaneously pull the front of your shoulder and upper arm away from the floor as you row.
The arced bar path ensures a hip-dominant movement pattern. Recent biomechanics research showed significantly more posteriorly-directed ground reaction forces in the landmine squat than a goblet squat. (1) This kinetic feature may further bias the hips/glutes.
- Cup the end of the barbell atop the sternum with elbows pulled down and in.
- Squat down and back while keeping the barbell in contact with your chest.
- Return to standing by driving up and forward.
This one further solidifies a hip-dominant squat pattern and trains you to be stronger out of the bottom of the squat. The landmine box squat is heaviest in the bottom position. This, paired with the elimination of the stretch reflex, makes it a great exercise for building true strength in positions of deep hip flexion.
- Set up and perform like the landmine squat, but in front of a bench or box.
- Stay braced, but allow your body to come to rest on the bench or box.
- Powerfully drive up and forward to return to standing.
The landmine provides just enough horizontal resistance and movement guidance to "hack" the hack squat. Compared to the monstrous hack squat machine, this version requires more trunk control and movement coordination. Start light and master this movement before loading up heavy.
- Muscle the bar up and over your shoulder with both hands. Or, position the loaded landmine on a sturdy box or bench so you can get underneath it more easily.
- With the sleeve resting on your upper traps, lean back into the plates. Your entire body should be roughly perpendicular to the angle of the barbell.
- Sit your glutes to your heels. Stand back up. Repeat until quads are toasted.
The constrained movement path of the landmine guides this movement nicely. Perform with your front foot elevated on a bumper plate or low step for more range of motion.
- Lift the barbell and place the sleeve on the upper traps of your back-stepping leg.
- Steady the barbell and plates with your hands and take a big step backward.
- Drive through your front leg to return to standing.
This builds the adductors, glutes, and quads. It can also improve hip mobility over time. During the landmine version, the arced path of the bar guides you nicely from top position to bottom position.
- Take a wide stance (at least twice shoulder-width) with toes pointed out more than your typical squat stance. Support the barbell with interlaced fingers.
- As you sit down and back into your right leg, partially offload your left leg and allow your foot to pivot off the floor at the heel.
- Return to centered standing and repeat toward the left. That's one rep.
You can load this one up heavy.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and the free end of the barbell even with your mid-foot. Cup or hook under the bar's sleeve with one hand, then reinforce with your other cupped hand.
- Brace, maintain straight arms, and drive your hips forward. The top position should feel like standing at the urinal. (Ladies, use your imagination here.)
- Control back to start position by sitting your hips back.
RDLs are performed primarily at the hips. The standard deadlift is also hip-dominant, but it permits more knee movement. For the single-leg RDL, the anchored barbell adds a small amount of stability, increasing loading potential. (2)
- Grab the sleeve of the bar with the hand opposite the working leg. Start from the top with legs nearly straight, knees unlocked.
- Hinge forward at the hips, maintaining nearly straight knees throughout the lift. As you hinge, your free leg should travel behind you with a kneecap aimed down and forward.
- Return to the start position, tapping the forefoot of your free leg to the floor under your hip.
Probably the original landmine exercise, rotations train the trunk, hips, and shoulders dynamically and in concert. Whether you're looking to blast your obliques or improve your golf game, this classic deserves a place in your workout.
- Hold the last few inches of the barbell sleeve and start with the landmine pressed overhead.
- With the bar maintained at arms' length, control it down to your side by shifting weight into the same-side leg and rotating at hips and shoulder girdle. Allow the opposite foot to pivot as you rotate.
- Return to squared-forward, overhead at center. Repeat to the other side.
Arm bars, traditionally performed with a kettlebell, are a staple exercise for athletic performance and shoulder stability. This exercise teaches you to link shoulder girdle to hip girdle to prevent trunk rotation and effectively stabilize the shoulder with movement.
The landmine arm bar is unique due to the constrained movement path of the barbell. The landmine requires shoulder movement through a challenging diagonal path as you roll to your side.
- Set up by lying on your side facing the free sleeve of the bar. To avoid catastrophe, make sure the plates clear your head. Grab the barbell, roll to your back, and press the landmine above your shoulder.
- Keep your arm nearly vertical and the barbell centered over your shoulder joint. With your eyes on the weight, roll to your side by driving through your heel. Keep your core engaged so that your hips and shoulder girdle roll as a unit.
- Keeping the bar over your shoulder and your eyes on the weight, reverse the movement and return to lying on your back.
- Collins KS et al. Differences in Muscle Activity and Kinetics Between the Goblet Squat and Landmine Squat in Men and Women. J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Oct 1;35(10):2661-2668. PubMed.
- Weaver AN et al. Implementing landmine single-leg Romanian deadlift into an athlete's training program. Strength Cond J. 2017 Feb;39(1):85-90.
- Zweifel MB. Importance of horizontally loaded movements to sports performance. Strength Cond J. 2017 Feb;39(1)21-26.
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