The landmine has got to be one of the most underutilized, but highly effective pieces of equipment for adding a challenge and variation into your core movements (push, pull, hip hinge, etc). Even if you don’t have a landmine available, you can use a corner of your gym (please use towels so you don’t scuff up the walls). Here is a list of our top five favorite landmine exercises.
Meadow rows have become one of my favorite exercises to incorporate into my backday. The meadow row, unlike other row variations such as the dumbell row, has a starting shoulder position that is further away from your torso (in more abduction). This upwardly rotates the scapula, putting the rhomboids on stretch and thus at a bit of a disadvantage via length-tension relationships (passive insufficiency). In this shoulder position closer to 90deg of abduction, we can get more MID TRAP activation as well as lats and post delt.
I’m performing the landmine meadow row in the mini-squat position for added core/torso work (anti-rotation) – one of the many benefits of performing landmine exercises. You can also perform this exercise in a split stance position. Try to lift the weight only with your back – don’t use momentum to lift the weight!
Landmine Single Leg RDL
The landmine RDL is a great way to develop the adequate balance and proprioceptive control needed to transition from a normal double leg RDL to a true single leg RDL. The single leg RDL is particularly challenging for many people because of the inherent BALANCE required to pull it off. If you’re having trouble balancing during the single leg RDL, then this landmine exercise variation will be perfect for you.
Because the bar travels in a fixed arc with landmine exercises, you don’t have to worry about proper arm position like with a dumbbell or barbell. Furthermore, you can reap the benefits of offset contralateral loading without worrying too much about balance as you are still “fixed” to a semi-stable surface (e.g. the landmine).
The landmine RDL can either be performed with the landmine directly in front (left video) or perpendicular (right video). Personally, I like the perpendicular configuration because it induces a greater anti-rotation component to the exercise. You must increase your glute recruitment and force your hip external rotators to fire HARDER to keep the exercise motion purely in the sagittal plane.
If you don’t have a landmine at your gym, simply place the bar in a corner at the gym (use a towel to prevent scuffing up the walls). Give it a try and let us know what you think! Tag a friend that likes RDLs as much as you do!
Standing Landmine Shoulder Press – Developing Overhead Control
Many individuals with shoulder impingement will get their symptoms at the end range. With the landmine press, the glenohumeral joint is NEVER AT END RANGE and therefore should be less symptomatic, or completely asymptomatic. Strengthening the serratus anterior and low traps is great, but wouldn’t it be even better to strengthen them in an overhead movement pattern (asymptomatically)?
You can work on grooving the overhead movement pattern in someone rehabbing from a shoulder injury. Because the landmine is attached to the ground, it gives this exercise more stability in comparison to a freeweight overhead press. Decreasing the degrees of freedom affords you the luxury to work on the overhead movement pattern in a more stable environment.
Work on developing explosive overhead strength with the explosive variation shown at the end of the video. Yes, were incorporating the lower extremity now, but that’s the whole point of this variation!
Half-Kneeling Landmine Shoulder Press
I love utilizing the half-kneeling variation to minimize any lower extremity compensation and truly work on the upper quadrant. You are essentially ELIMINATING ANY USE OF MOMENTUM from the lower extremities, forcing you to use less weight in the exercise as well. Furthermore, in order to stabilize the movement, you really need to engage your GLUTES on the back leg. And who isn’t looking for more glute love??
Lunge + Row + Press Landmine Combo
Occasionally when I workout I experiment with new/unaccustomed movement patterns. Today, I came up with this landmine exercise press variation and I absolutely love it. It’s a true FULL BODY exercise that provides a challenge in ALL 3 PLANES. I’ll break down some aspects of the movement and the key reasons why I love it as a great prehab exercise:
Ankle Stability: single limb stance stability during the backward lunge with the landmine press adding a unilateral frontal plane load. This is great prehab for ankle sprains.
Hip Stability: the backward lunge targets the hip extensors more than lunges in other directions. Again, controlling and preventing dynamic knee valgus with the unilateral frontal plane load from the landmine press adds further challenge. This is great prehab for ACL injuries.
Core stability: Based on where the landmine is; core stability first in the frontal plane -> then the transverse plane -> then the sagittal plane. This is great prehab for some nonspecific low back pain.
Shoulder stability: the row during the first part of the movement hits the scapular retractors, which are important scapular stabilizers. The transition from pull to push mimics the pull of a clean motion, which is important for performance for Olympic lifters. The push requires good scapular upward rotation, which is key in preventing shoulder impingement. And when my arm is fully extended its places a high level of demand on rotator cuff stability. This is great prehab for shoulder health.
Motor control: The most important thing to keep in mind is developing motor control/kinesthetic body awareness with a new movement, especially when it requires a great deal of full body stability in all 3 planes, hand eye coordination, AND motor planning.
Stay strong and promote gains by incorporating new movements into your workouts, but know your body and know your limits. That’s a warp with the landmine exercise series, drop a comment for what series you want next!