Landmine exercises have been around for decades. Some scoff at the landmine's loading capability for adding size, but plenty of others use it successfully to break plateaus and challenge themselves with a novel resistance profile.
The landmine is a seriously underutilized tool when it comes to building strength, size, and power. In fact, it should be the home gym owner's first purchase.
Here's why you need landmine training:
- Angled barbell work alters the line of resistance, which can help if you suffer from mobility restrictions or injuries.
- Pressing exercises promote better scapulohumeral rhythm. Landmine variations allow for upward rotation, elevation, and protraction of the scapula, so those with overhead issues can press safely.
- The landmine setup is a space saver. You don't even need an attachment; just a corner and a towel can work. (Editor's note: If you do want a portable attachment, this one great for the price.)
- While loading may not be quite that of normal barbell lifts, you can load heavier than dumbbells, making it great for unilateral work.
- The setup and execution can be better suited for athletes, placing them in angled positions that mimic their sport's needs.
- You can give your mind and body a break from the stress associated with your normal routine while introducing a new stimulus that can potentially help you go back to your compound lifts much stronger.
Give these exercises and combinations a try:
Combining the evils of two leg exercises really revs up metabolic stress. Combos like this are also a great way to get your workouts done quicker and with better form.
Notoriously, squats and lunges get sloppy as you fatigue and increase volume. The landmine helps counteract this. The angled bar gives you the ability to lean forward to hit your joints at angles that are easier to work with as you tire out.
Additionally, you can bias the hamstrings and glutes more effectively with the torso lean to better maximize hip flexion. Most lifters can get more squat depth to better bias knee flexion for quad development.
It's a win-win for both sides of the legs.
The landmine can be the next best tool for those who don't have a chest-supported row station. I find it better for clients who are relatively new to lifting since most of its execution relies on the body's ability to brace and hinge. Teaching this in the early stages (or even advanced) can be a great way to progress.
To get the most out of the row, focus on controlling the descent while adding a slight pause at the top. Trying to be a hero with weight isn't the goal. Drop the ego and get better results.
Going right into a single-arm hollow hold press makes this a solid superset to really hit the anterior core and then the obliques. The angle allows the shoulder to move naturally while also getting every benefit, from rotary stability to oblique strength.
Single-arm push-ups are great, but only a small handful of us can do them. This variation can serve as a regression. Bonus: It sneaks up on you and hits your core too. As you roll the bar away from your midline, the demand to stabilize increases while simultaneously challenging the chest more than a normal push-up.
The V-up is a standard, but it only gets you so far. To build a solid set of abs, you have to train them with loads like another muscle group. This unique variation works very well because the level allows you to keep a packed chin and forcefully drive the weight directly overhead.
Unlike medicine balls and dumbbells, the landmine won't have vector forces pushing the weight backward, so you can keep the force production in a path that leads to the best execution.
Depending on your goals, you can add more of a "hollow rock" to it or start from a complete dead stop.
You can build a brutal conditioning complex if you're short on time. Perform as a circuit, completing each exercise in succession without rest. Take a full 2-3 minutes rest at the end.
- A1. Landmine Squat to Overhead Press
- A2. Landmine Single-Leg RDL
- A3. Landmine Rollout to Push-Up
- A4 & A5. Right Side For Each Above
The landmine's ability to train athletes for sport-specific demands is something many other pieces of gym equipment lack. Boxers, baseball players, and virtually any overhead athlete can benefit from its wide variety of exercises that keep them safe with open-chain pressing (it allows the scapula to move freely).
It can also serve as a beneficial tool for rehab and isolation work, as Dr. Merrick Lincoln shows here:
Additionally, you can target your weak areas with more unilateral work like the single-leg Romanian deadlift.
Landmine Single-Leg RDL
This is a great exercise for anyone, even those coming back from lower-leg injuries, and its loading capacity is far greater than dumbbells.
Keep it fresh with your landmine work and cycle in phases of either complexes, combinations, or isolation work.
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