If you’re into lifting weights, you’ll never be short on options to get your sweat sesh in. There are dumbbells, weight machines, medicine balls, barbells, kettlebells, the list goes on (and on). One unsung hero that can take your training up a notch? Landmine exercises. If you’re unfamiliar, this form of strength training involves using one side of a barbell with the other resting on the ground to work your strength.
“Landmine exercises are single-arm barbell exercises,” says Nicholas Poulin, trainer, founder and CEO of Poulin Health and Wellness. “These are movements that can be done with a landmine machine or by placing one end of the barbell in the corner of a room where it’s stabilized by the two walls forming a right angle and bolstered with a heavy dumbbell.” Basically, you’re using one end of a barbell while the other is on the ground as a pivot point. “The freestanding end is used to do the exercises and can rotate freely through any plane of movement,” says Katie Kollath, trainer and founder and co-owner of Barpath Fitness.
Landmine exercises switch up your training and get you doing more lateral movements, which more realistically mimic real life (shout out: functional fitness). “Using landmine movements can bring about a change of stimulus, introducing variety and helping increase benefits from training,” says Kollath. “It’s a great way for people, especially those with injuries, to perform compound movements.” Plus, she points out that it’s an easy one-piece-of-equipment way to get a full-body workout.
All sorts of staple strength training moves can be done in a landmine format, including lifting, squatting, and pressing, all of which Poulin says are great for beginners. “[Landmine exercises] are a safer way to progressively move into free weights without going straight into a fully loaded barbell,” he says. Just stay consistent with the weight you’re using, and slowly build up to add more of a challenge as you get stronger. For three example landmine exercises to try for yourself, keep scrolling.
1. Landmine row
Poulin likes the row because it’s great for both your core and your grip strength. Start with your feet perpendicular to the bar in a shoulder-width stance, with a slight bend in your knees. Position your upper body so that your chest is just above parallel to the ground, and your back is flat. Use the arm outside the barbell to relieve pressure on the spine by placing your elbow on your outside knee and stabilizing your lower back and pelvis. Maintain a flat spine as you row the barbell up, driving your elbows up and controlling the movement back down into a stretched position at the bottom. “Imagine your arm is like a hinge and take your bicep out of the equation,” he says.
2. Landmine squat
Kollath recommends doing a landmine squat to upgrade your glutes workout. Hold the end of the barbell against your chest, then descend your hips down as low as they can go before standing back up. Make sure your feet stay flat on the floor the entire time.
3. Landmine press
Hold the end of the barbell with both hands, and proceed to extend the arms above the head and lower back down in a controlled manner. You can also do this movement with one arm at a time, says Kollath.
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