The landmine pertains to an angled barbell movement where one end of the barbell is on the ground and the opposite end is held by the lifter. Because the barbell sits on the ground, either stuck in a corner or a landmine slot, it creates a wide range of motion that can use utilized for multiple variations of movements, from simple to complex, and hit just about any muscle group you want to train.
Possibilities are almost endless as you can train upper, lower, and total body as well as explosive movements. These landmine variations can be performed in the sagittal, frontal, or transverse planes of motion.
Here’s an inconclusive list of our favorite upper-, lower-, and total-body landmine movements. Use these as a starting point, and as you begin to familiarize yourself with the landmine, expand your exercise selection based on what adaptations you need for your athletes/clients.
Two-Hand Landmine Press on Knees
What it is: This simple upper-body exercise is perfect for athletes who have no previous landmine experience. It works in the sagittal plane to strengthen the chest, shoulders, and triceps while assisting in core stabilization.
How to do it: Kneel with two hands on the end of the barbell and push the bar away from you at about 45 degrees but maintain a strong posture. To progress this movement, perform it while standing.
One-Hand Landmine Press on Knees
What it is: Similar setup and muscle groups as the two-hand version mentioned above. This variation is useful for upper body unilateral work.
How to do it: Follow the steps above but hold onto the barbell with only one hand and rest the other hand on your hip. As with the two-hand landmine press, you can progress this movement by standing.
What it is: This is a core-focused movement that will feel like weighted Russian twists, with the added benefit of being able to perform it kneeling or standing. Landmine twists are useful for training in the transverse plane to strengthen the obliques and transverse abdominals.
How to do it: While kneeling or standing, hold onto the end of the barbell with both hands overhead. Bring the barbell down to one hip. Rotate it overhead and across the body to the other hip.
Landmine Squats (Farmer’s Squats)
What it is: If you’re out of dumbbells or barbells for weighted squats and have a large group, the landmine squat can be the perfect solution for a quick and efficient setup. This movement works in the sagittal plane working the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as core stabilization. It’s also a great entry point for beginners who are new to squatting with weight.
How to do it: While holding the end of the barbell with both hands close to your chest, set your feet in squat stance (slightly leaning against the barbell) and squat down similar to standard back squats.
Landmine Reverse Lunges
What it is: As important as it is to train bilaterally, unilateral work can be effective in conjunction. Like the landmine squats, this will work in the sagittal plane working the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core stabilization.
How to do it: While holding the barbell close to your chest with both hands, perform a reverse lunge and push off the back foot to bring your feet together again.
Landmine Lateral Lunges
What it is: If you’re looking to avoid overusing sagittal movements, landmine lateral lunges can be a useful quad and glute strengthener that works in the frontal plane.
How to do it: Holding the barbell close to your chest while leaning against it, step to the side with one foot. Squat that same leg while the opposite leg remains straight. Push that squatting leg back to standing position.
Total-body movements provide great value for your effort because you can hit more muscle groups in less time. Most human movements in sport require total-body movements that can be trained in the weight room. Understand that total-body movements require more effort and energy to perform them.
Landmine Lunge to Press
What it is: This movement combines the landmine press and the landmine lunge into one fluid movement. This will work in the sagittal plane for the quads, glutes, hamstrings, pecs, deltoids, triceps, and core stabilization.
How to do it: While holding the barbell close to the chest and leaning against it, perform a reverse lunge and finish with a landmine press. You can perform either with both hands or one hand holding the barbell.
Landmine Pull & Press
What it is: This is a complex movement that requires a solid base of experience in performing a landmine row and landmine press before attempting.
How to do it: The first half of the movement will look like an RDL. Face perpendicular to the barbell in a squatting position and hold it with your inside hand. Pull the barbell up with your hips (glutes and hamstrings), keeping your arms and back tight. After the barbell passes over your knees, transfer the bar from your inside hand to your outside hand and press while rotating your feet to face the barbell.
The 2009 Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year, Jeff is in his 16th year at Winona State University as Strength and Conditioning/ Director of Fitness. He is responsible for 10 Division II teams. Previously he was the head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Iowa State University, an assistant at the University of Memphis, and an assistant at the US Olympic training center in Colorado. Reinardy was part of two men’s basketball national championships in three appearances, numerous conference championships, and several individual national champions at both the Division I and II levels. He also holds club coach and sports performance certifications through USA Weightlifting, and is the former ADFPA American Squat record holder in the 148 weight class and four Minnesota state ADFPA championships.