If you’ve ever gone to a commercial gym, you’ll know that you can use the equipment in tons of different ways to train your muscles from all angles. The landmine is another one of them. The only explosive you’ll find in these landmines, however, is the pump you get after working out with them.
Most gyms have a landmine station, a barbell holder attached to the floor, but if yours doesn’t, they’re incredibly easy to set up! To make your own, all you have to do is place one end of a barbell against a corner with a towel or pad between the bar and the wall for protection. This unique set up provides a new way to train your muscles, making it a great addition to any program!
Below, I’ll go over 5 of the best landmine exercises you can do to shock your muscles like never before.
1. T-Bar Row
The T-Bar row has been used for decades by the world’s best bodybuilders to build well-defined backs. One of the reasons it’s such an incredible exercise is because it’s easy to do, even if you don’t have a dedicated T-Bar station. To perform the exercise, first put the bar in a landmine set up. You may also want to use a V-Bar attachment because it will give you a better grip and deeper ROM (range of motion) causing you to work your back more.
If you don’t have a V-Bar attachment, you should grab the bar with one hand and then put the other hand directly below the first. Once it’s all set up, face the direction the barbell is pointing out. Before you pull the bar off the floor you’ll want to ensure that your lower back is in a safe position to avoid injury, so assume the same position as you would in a deadlift: a neutral position without rounding your spine.
Now that you’ve done this, you can perform the exercise. Pull the bar off the floor, and lead the movement with your elbows. Try to imagine that your arms are hooks and they aren’t involved in the movement at all; this will increase the mind-muscle connection with your back muscles. It’s also important to keep your elbows tucked and avoid flaring them as well; this will make sure your latissimus dorsi muscles (the V-shaped muscles on each side of your back, aka “lats”) are fully activated during the exercise.
2. Chest Press
This exercise is my personal favorite of the list because it’s a great chest finisher and it really enhances your pump. This is a great exercise to target the upper chest. To perform it, set up the bar the same as you would a T-Bar row, but this time, get on your knees and face the direction the bar is pointing towards the wall. Then pick up the bar and make a firm base at the end of the barbell with your hands.
Next, lean into the bar slightly and push it away from you, focusing on your pecs. To increase activation, you’ll want to tuck your elbows and retract your shoulders the entire time, while keeping your chest tight. You can move closer or farther from the bar, depending on what feels best for you. If done right, you will really feel a burn in your chest and the pump will be insane.
The landmine squat is a great exercise because of its transcendence with the barbell squat. By doing the landmine squat, you will reinforce proper form for the high-bar squat. The landmine squat, like the goblet squat, follows the natural squat motion and can be done with very little weight, which puts less stress on the knees, so it’s virtually perfect for everybody.
To perform the exercise, load the bar, stand in squat form (heels in line with elbows or wider if you prefer, you’ll know what’s best for you), and balance the bar on your chest. Make sure that you keep your chest up and maintain balance so that your arms don’t have to hold all the weight on their own. Next, squat down and touch your elbows to the tops of your thighs, or just inside your knees, depending on how wide you’re standing. Push through your heels on the way up, lock out your legs, and squeeze your glutes at the top for a full ROM and activation of the entire leg. If you want to work only your quadriceps, you may benefit from not locking out so that the tension stays on the muscle throughout the entire set.
4. One-Arm Floor Press
The landmine floor press, when done with a single arm, can be a great way to isolate each side of the chest. To perform the exercise, you can either lay down on the floor perpendicular to the bar or parallel to the bar, whichever you think works best. Then, grab the bar with one hand; you can either grab the end of the bar or the end of the handle, right before the bearing. You’ll want to push the bar as if you were bench pressing from the floor.
Two things that are important to note are not to completely touch your triceps to the floor every time because this will shift the tension from your muscles to your joints, and also to imagine pushing the bar up with the part of your hand that forms a horizontal line under the thumb. This will make sure that you use your pecs instead of your triceps. With this exercise, you’ll want to try different configurations until you find what works best for you.
5. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
The single-leg Romanian deadlift is a great exercise for isolating your hamstrings and working your lower back, but unfortunately, many people struggle to perform it properly. They tend to either have a lack of balance or they focus too much on touching the dumbbell to the floor, instead of focusing on the movement, itself. By doing the exercise with a landmine set up, you solve both of these problems.
The bar provides slightly more balance and the weight touches the ground more naturally, so you won’t have to focus as much on it. To do the exercise, you should stand facing the bar and pick it up with the hand that matches the leg you will be moving (left hand: left leg, and vice versa). Next, while keeping your chest up, slowly lower the bar and move one leg backward. In this exercise, it’s critical that you keep your back parallel with your leg. To do this, imagine moving your whole body in a line, rather than moving just your leg. Additionally, you should keep your core tight throughout the movement to improve your balance and strength in your midsection.
It is important to supplement your training with the right nutrition. Try the following to enhance your training and optimize your recovery:
Muscle is built outside the gym. I know what you’re thinking, that’s not right? But it is. When you go to the gym and exercise you’re breaking down muscle fibers and for muscles to grow these fibers need to repair. This means you need protein. You should make Thewhey your go-to post workout shake. With 25g of protein and 5g of BCAAs in each serving, you’ll be on the road to recovery.
Creatine increases ATP (energy) to help you push out more reps and lift heavier weight, which in turn leads to more muscle growth. Taking just 5g a day can have a positive effect on your training.
There are 3 branched chain amino acids (BCAAs): Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. Supplementing with BCAAs are a great way to enhance your training and recovery. Sipping on BCAAs throughout the day can help protect your muscles from deteriorating and therefore aid recovery for tomorrows training.
Take Home Message
Trying a new set up can be a great way to add variety to your workout routine, and landmine exercises are a fairly unknown, but incredibly beneficial style of training. If you’re looking for some exercises to try out, you may want to throw in one of these five. Furthermore, there are a ton more landmine exercises out there, and if try them out, you may find that they really work for you. Ultimately, by changing up your routine, you can hit your muscles from different angles, and the landmine set up can be a great way to do that!