If there’s one tool that more lifters after strength, muscle, and steering clear of new injuries (or aggravating old ones) should be using, it’s the landmine bar.
Old-school lifters will simply set up a barbell in any wall corner, but more sophisticated setups have landmine attachments that create a secure pivot point for various movements.
And I’ll be the person to say it: It’s a truly golden investment.
Why The Landmine Is So Great
With a landmine bar, you can duplicate most every basic movement pattern, while taking advantage of a different force angle that can help you avoid as many stress forces to key areas like the shoulders, knees and lumbar spine. What’s more is that it encourages a bit more stability and also incorporates a unilateral aspect for many lifts.
The landmine setup is a staple in many athletes’ programs for the reasons above, especially when coupled with leverages that may not be classic “lifters’ proportions”. A tall athlete with long legs may struggle to feel comfortable in a traditional lunge, for example, but a landmine reverse lunge creates an entirely different experience due to the geometry required and force curve.
Needless to say, if you fit this mould, it’d probably be wise to get some landmine training in your program. Especially if top tier athletes are relying on it too. But this won’t be covering classic landmine squats and deads – we already knew you could do that. We’re going to up the octane to bring things up a notch on the athleticism scale.
Here are some movements you’ve probably never seen, and definitely have never tried.
1. Landmine Pigeon Press
Lifters with a history of shoulder issues can benefit from this movement due to the fact that they’re no longer pressing directly upward with gravitational forces wreaking havoc on their shoulder joint. Long-armed lifters know the struggle of increased stress and time under tension, not to mention joint vulnerability due to the size of the lever arm.
Being able to duplicate an overhead position (with the spine under the load) by slightly changing the force angle is a saving grace to lifters with shoulder immobility or injury history. Adding a tall kneeling position to it increases the demand for core stability also, and makes this movement a worthy athletic opponent to strict barbell pressing.
2. Banded Landmine Push Press
Using a light band can completely up the ante on landmine single arm push presses since the tension of the band increases the further you stretch it. Now, we’ve created a safe way to hammer lockout strength and ensure that the body is transferring forces from the floor right into the bar in one smooth motion.
This also involves plenty of additional stability and eccentric strength and control since the bar will be much harder to lower to the shoulder. This is indeed a humbling movement that anyone looking for increased athleticism or to improve their explosive power shouldn’t avoid.
3. Landmine 2-1 Snatch
The most athletically demanding of the group, this combines a hinge pattern with a press pattern, relying on triple extension, posterior chain strength, core force transfer, coordination, balance and stability.
To do this, assume a landmine deadlift setup with an underhand grip on the bar. In one movement, deadlift the bar and project it up to the shoulder or chest level. At the same time you do this, “flip” the hands so that you’re ready to catch the load in a pressing start position.
Using one hand, press the weight to the top position. Lower the load slowly to the shoulder, and return to the start position. That sounds like a lot, and it is. So here’s a video to get the idea.
4. Landmine Single Leg Deadlift
Many people struggle with the mechanics of a single leg deadlift using dumbbells or kettlebells. It’s frustrating to fail at an exercise, not because your form is bad, nor because your loading is too heavy – but simply because you need to fumble for the right positioning to even make the lift possible and not lose your balance.
Using a landmine attachment allows you to place some of your weight into the banked portion of the machine. Regardless if you face forward or sideways to the bar (forward seen here), you’ve solved the balance issue, and can better focus on a proper hinge pattern and the ideal hamstring and glute activation of the working leg. Furthermore, adding a dead stop creates a tactile end point to get the stretch reflex out of the picture and re-establish a tight setup.
For this movement, I’ve found that making a fist with the free arm is also a smart way to improve balance and stability.
5. Landmine Bentover Row
If you have back issues like me, this can be a safer alternative to adding volume to the bentover row pattern, since the force angle is no longer directly downward. It’s easy to stand up a little taller during this movement and “pull backward” on the weight rather than pull directly upward, similar to using a T-Bar row machine.
Using a V-grip handle on a landmine bar makes for an even closer hand position than a T-bar provides, and can hit the rhomboids, lats and rear deltoids from a new and slightly different angle. For this movement, I recommend using higher reps (12-15 works great), with moderate weight, and don’t be afraid to boost your volume.
Standing and setting up closest to the plates is the most common practice (seen in the video), but setting up even 6 inches back from the plates massively changes the loading balance, and if you’re looking for a greater challenge to your lower back, there’s no harm in doing this, as long as your spine can handle it.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the landmine bar is a secret weapon to strength, power and size, without being a literal pain for using.
Even healthy people should apply this to their programs if they want to ensure health and change the angles up for a phase.
You’ll certainly be surprised at the challenge they can provide.