The Landmine at the gym is often overlooked in favor of barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells, but this great piece of equipment can help take your training to the next level.
While they don’t have the wow factor a barbell possesses, they can help you with many aspects of your training from putting on size to correcting your form.
And another added benefit of landmine exercises is that they’re almost never taken — for those who train at peak hours, it could come as a blessing.
The Best Landmine Exercises
1. The Landmine Press
You may have seen some people do the Landmine Press at the gym, but felt hesitant to include it into your workout.
But you could be missing out by failing to implement this exercise.
Although it doesn’t offer the same resistance as the Bench Press or Overhead Press, it is far kinder on the shoulders and elbows than any barbell pressing movement.
What’s more, if you train for functional strength, you should look to include this exercise in your program.
Not only does it hit the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, but it is also a Twist pattern movement that will partially stimulate your core and even your legs to some degree if you perform this exercise from a standing position.
Why You Should Do The Landmine Press
1. It is Easier On The Shoulders and Elbows
That’s right, there’s a reason why older gym goers tend to perform this movement when they hit the gym — it’s far more comfortable on the joints than a barbell press.
Those who suffer from joint issues, wear and tear, or who are nursing injuries, but what to train with a decent amount of volume should consider using the landmine press on their shoulder or chest days.
The other option would be to opt for dumbbell presses, but the Landmine Press follows a far more natural range of motion than any other pressing movement.
2. It is More “Functional” Than Other Pressing Movements
The “functional” misnomer is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I reluctantly use it in this rare context.
Let’s be real, you’re never gonna bench 400lb by only doing Landmine Presses, and if you can bench 400lb, you will always Landmine Press more than somebody who’s only ever Landmine Pressed.
But — but — the Landmine Press does follow a natural pressing movement — a punching movement — which affords the shoulder and elbow far more freedom than with a dumbbell or barbell.
Athletes looking to become stronger strikers, punchers, or fenders should at least throw in Landmine Presses to complement their upper body workouts — as strength is a skill and coordination needs to be practiced.
3. It’s Another Great Exercise For Your Arsenal
Instead of scrummaging over the last available bench on Monday, this is a great option to employ if all of the remaining gym equipment is taken.
There’s nothing more frustrating than cutting your workout short or waiting for some casual to finish browsing Instagram between sets to free up the bench.
Now you have an extra option — and you can choose to do a few sets of Landmine Presses instead of waiting around.
2. The Landmine Squat
Landmine Squats are a great addition to any lifter’s arsenal for a variety of reasons. Set your quads on fire with this easy corrective exercise.
Although they are very simple to perform, Landmine Squats can be incredibly humbling — even to the most advanced lifters.
You may often see newbies and elderly gym goers do Landmine Squats, but that doesn’t mean you should look down on them as they are a worthwhile exercise.
Why You Should do Landmine Squats
The Landmine Squat is very easy to perform. You can even start by trying to sit back onto a box or even test your depth as you improve ankle/hip mobility to squat properly with a barbell on your back.
The Landmine Squat offers a pendulum-like up-and-down movement with the load grabbed towards the chest.
As the range of motion is fairly rigid, as the opposite end of the bar is jammed in place, it takes out a lot of instability from the traditional movement — which makes it a safer alternative to other squat variations.
Let’s take a look at why this is an awesome exercise.
1. Landmine Squats Are a Corrective Exercise
Lifters who feel under-confident in their form or are suffering from some form of mechanical breakdown should implement Landmine Squats into their training to ensure they are squatting with good form and firing on all cylinders.
As the range of motion is fairly rigid, it allows you to focus on descending symmetrically, practice good form, and evenly dispersing the load onto both legs.
You can also work to keep more upright and keeping your lower back straight.
If you have poor hip mobility or suffer from lower back rounding on the traditional Back Squat, the Landmine Squat will enable you to hammer these potentially dangerous setbacks.
2. It reduces Spinal Loading
Both the placement of the working load and reduced weight loads lower your total spinal loading.
Many lifters suffer from lower back issues with the Back Squat and the Landmine Squat can help correct these issues while working the same muscles. It can also be a viable lower body exercise for those suffering from knee pain.
As this movement also reinforces good form, it will help you with heavier loads in the future by putting yourself in less injurious positions down the line.
3. It’s a Great Warm Up or HIIT Addition
The Landmine Squat is a great warm up exercise before squatting heavy weights.
As it’s a marvelous corrective exercise, it can help instill optimal motor patterns and form before taking on a loaded barbell.
And because it’s a relatively safe squat variation, you can take it on with lighter weight loads in a state of exercise-induced fatigue during HIIT.
Traditional squats or more taxing leg exercises in a state of fatigue can lead to form breakdown. You should always strive to train with good form and for longevity.
3. The Russian Row
The Russian Row is, hands down, one of the best core builders out there. Nothing will hit your entire core as hard — with, perhaps, the exception of heavy deadlifts or squats.
It is a very simple, yet dynamic, exercise to perform, and it is the scary mutated cousin of the classic Russian Twist.
You could say it’s a Russian Twist with a twist.
Athletes such as Rugby players, American Football players, Sprinters, and Sparrers will all gain immense core power by incorporating the Russian Row into their workout regimen.
The Russian Row: One of The Best Core Exercises You Can Do
This exercise is a great finisher or can even be included into a HIIT circuit.
By grabbing a barbell wedged into a landmine set up, proceed to row one end of the barbell side-to-side from a standing position with your arms tucked in like a Venetian Gondola until you can feel your entire core set alight.
There really isn’t much more to say about this exercise other than to implement it.
You should, ideally, put it into your leg day or a core-demanding workout such as one that includes pullups, for example.
Try adding it at the end of your workout for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, starting with an unloaded barbell to begin before gradually adding weight. Do not ego lift on this exercise as the risk will be greater than the reward.
4. Meadows Rows
The Meadows Row is a great upper back builder you can add into your program or if heavy dumbbells are unavailable for single arm rows.
Named after the late great John “Mountain Dog” Meadows, this upper back exercise will humble you quickly.
By taking a landmine, adding weight, and rowing the tip, this one-arm row can pack on serious size to your upper back and arms.
Although it isn’t common to see this exercise done at a commercial gym, given its set up, you should definitely give it a go for yourself.
Why You Should Do The Meadows Row
The Meadows Row is a challenging movement that will give you a great lat stretch while activating the lats, rhomboids, teres major and minor, traps, rear deltoids, biceps, and forearms.
This exercise is highly stimulating while being easy on the fatigue, meaning that it is a great addition if you’re in a caloric deficit.
Also, since the landmine set up has a rigid range of motion, it’s difficult to cheat or ego lift on this exercise — we’ve all seen guys using their legs to kip the dumbbell up to their waist.
As it’s difficult to cheat on this exercise and you can put yourself in a more comfortable rowing position, it is easier on the lower back than the Dumbbell Row or Barbell Row.
You should typically add this variation after your primary upper back movements such as the Deadlift or Barbell Row.
In fact, the Meadows Row is the perfect finisher for your back or pulling day.
Try completing the exercise for 3 sets of 10-12 reps with a full range of motion and ensuring that you feel a stretch in your upper back at the beginning of each rep.
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