The 8 Best Landmine Exercises To Boost Your Squats and Press

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Beginners who have not spent much time strength training at the gym are often unfamiliar with the landmine exercise station or what landmines exercises are.

So, what exactly is a landmine exercise, and what are the best landmine exercises? What exercises can you do in a landmine workout besides the landmine squat press?

In this article, we will discuss how to put together a landmine workout based on your fitness goals and provide step-by-step instructions for some of the best landmine exercises for strength, power, and mass:

Let’s dive in! 

A landmine exercise.

What Is a Landmine Exercise?

A landmine exercise station has a regular long barbell with one end secured into an attachment or contraption near the floor. Landmines exercises are performed by holding onto the other end of the barbell at various angles.

Technically speaking, the landline is actually the sleeve or attachment that the barbell slides into rather than the barbell itself.

The beauty of landmine exercises is that the landmine swivels 360°, enabling you to perform all sorts of exercises throughout a tremendous range of motion and multi-planar movements.

People also do landmine exercises without an official landmine station by securing the barbell in a corner or in a towel in a corner by the wall to keep it in place if they are not using a functional exercise machine.

Beginners might perform landmine exercises using just the barbell, but as you get stronger, weight plates are usually added to the free end of the barbell to increase the difficulty of the landmine workout.

A landmine exercise.

The 8 Best Landmine Exercises For The Ultimate Workout

The best landmine exercises usually focus on fundamental movement patterns, such as the squat, hinge, lunge, press or pull, and rotation.

In this way, the best landmine workouts not only strengthen all of your major muscle groups but can also help establish the neuromuscular firing patterns and movement mechanics that you can use in all sorts of foundational strength training exercises beyond the landmine station.

When doing landmine workouts to increase strength, aim to complete 2-6 sets of 3-5 reps per exercise, using at least 85% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) for the load, or, for hypertrophy (muscle growth), perform three sets of each exercise, using 70 to 85% of your 1RM for 8 to 12 reps.

Here are some of the best landmine exercises to add to your landmine workout routine:

#1: Landmine Thrusters (Landmine Squat Press)

The landmine thruster or landmine squat to press is one of the best full-body landmine exercises.

This challenging, dynamic, and metabolic exercise will strengthen all of your lower body muscles, along with your core, shoulders, upper back, and arms, and can even improve your grip strength.

Here are the steps to perform this landmine exercise:

Load the barbell in the landmine with whatever weights you can safely handle.

  1. Bend your knees and hinge your hips to bend down and pick up the free end of the barbell, making sure not to bend your back.
  2. Press through your feet to stand up straight.
  3. Hold the bar with both hands, keeping your elbows tucked in along your sides. Your grip on the barbell should be around the mid-chest level.
  4. Begin your squat by sitting your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  5. Press through your feet to explode all the way up to the standing position while simultaneously pressing the bar all the way up overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  6. Reverse the motion by first bringing the bar back down to chest level and then squatting down to begin your neck rep.

#2: Single-Arm Landmine Squat Press

You can also perform a single-arm landmine squat press or thruster, which is essentially the same as the bilateral landmine squat press.

The primary difference is in the muscle activation.

With the bilateral exercise, you can use much heavier weights, so you will really load your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

With the unilateral landmine squat press, you will need to use a lighter weight. Because you are only doing the push press or overhead portion with one arm, there is much more core activation to provide anti-rotation stability for your spine.

The single-arm landmine squat press also can strengthen more of the upper body and help correct muscle imbalances in the shoulders and arms.

Follow the same steps as described above but use only one arm; make sure to actively engage your core to keep your hips and shoulders square as you press the unilateral load up.

#3: Landmine Front Squat

Most of the best landmine workouts also include plenty of lower-body landmine exercises. Arguably, the most important basic landmine exercise to master is the landmine squat.

The primary benefit of performing landmine squats versus barbell squats is that you are still loading your legs and adding resistance to the exercise without directly loading your spine with the weight itself. 

This can help back pain and is certainly a better option for weightlifters who already have back pain.

Another benefit of the landmine squat is that you can safely and easily drop the load if you are unable to come out of the squat once you’ve reached your deep position.

Additionally, because the load is centered in front of your body, it is easier to get great range of motion to maximize not only your mobility but also your time under tension and hit all of the muscle fibers in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

The barbell position will not really change throughout the duration of the exercise; you will hold the weight around the center of your chest as you would with a goblet squat.

Here are the steps for this landmine exercise:

  1. Lift the loaded barbell up to chest level and use the same hand positioning as you did for the landmine press.
  2. Keeping your elbows tucked into your side, squat down as deep as you can, reaching your butt as close to the ground as possible.
  3. Hold the bottom position for 2 to 3 seconds.
  4. Explode through your heels to return to the starting position.

#4: Landmine Sumo Squats

You can also perform the sumo squat variation with the landmine.

To do so, follow the same steps as the front squat, but adjust your stance so that your feet are about 1-1/2 times as wide as shoulder-width, and have your toes pointed out at roughly a 45° angle.

The landmine sumo squat is sort of like a hybrid of a squat and a deadlift, but the movement pattern is that of a squat as you will have an equal balance of hip and knee movement, and you will be lowering your hips more straight down with your torso more upright.

#5: Landmine Reverse Lunges With Side Load

One of the best landmine exercises for the entire lower body as well as the core is reverse lunges, where the barbell is to your side. 

It requires a tremendous amount of core activation and balance and will also work your hip and ankle stabilizers. 

Here are the steps to this one of our landmine exercises:

  1. Stand to the left of the landmine and hold the barbell in just your right hand around chest level, gripping the bottom of the collar.
  2. Take a giant step back and bend both knees 90° to drop down into a reverse lunge.
  3. Explode through your feet to return to the starting position.
  4. Complete all of your reps on one side and then switch sides.

#6: Landmine Press

Any good full-body landmine workout should include some type of pressing motion, and the landmine press is certainly one of the best landmine exercises to accomplish this.

This foundational landmine exercise strengthens your pecs, triceps, and deltoids.

Make sure to aggressively squeeze the bar as tightly as possible throughout the duration of the exercise to really activate your pecs.

Here are the steps:

  1. Kneel down in front of the landmine, keeping your core and glutes tight, your chest up, and your shoulders down.
  2. Grip the barbell collar with one hand on each side and the bottom of your palms, just barely cupping the underside of the collar.
  3. Press the barbell upward into the full lockout position.
  4. Continue squeezing the bar as tightly as possible as you bend your elbows and lower your arms back down.

#7: Half-Kneeling Landmine Shoulder Press

Although you can do this exercise standing, the half-kneeling position makes the landmine shoulder press more difficult because the weight will feel harder to press the closer the landmine is to the ground because of the additional gravity acting upon the implement and the long lever length. 

For this reason, this variation is one of the best landmine exercises for strengthening the shoulders, arms, and upper back muscles.

The half-kneeling position also activates your core muscles and glutes.

Here are the steps to perform this landmine exercise:

  1. Kneel down on both knees with upright posture in front of the landmine, keeping your chest up and shoulders down. 
  2. Then, get into the half-kneeling position by bringing your right leg forward so that your thigh is parallel to the ground, your shin is perpendicular, and your knee is bent to 90° with your foot flat on the floor. The front leg should look like the front leg on a forward lunge.
  3. Pick up the bar with both hands and then hold it directly in line with your left shoulder because your right leg is in front. You will reverse this position when the left leg is in front.
  4. Using your left arm, press the bar all the way up until your elbow is extended. Note that the arc of motion will be angled so that the press will come across your chest rather than straight up as it would with a dumbbell.
  5. Bend your elbow to slowly lower the bar back down to shoulder level, keeping your elbow tucked into your side and not flared out.
  6. Complete all of your reps and then switch sides.

#8: Single-Leg Landmine Press

This landmine exercise increases scapular stability and triceps strength while challenging your core and balance.

Here are the steps for this landmine exercise:

  1. Stand on one foot facing the landmine station.
  2. Brace your core and lift the barbell up with the opposite arm so that it is positioned just in front of your shoulder.
  3. Press the barbell up and forward until your elbow is completely locked out.
  4. Slowly lower the barbell back down towards your body.
  5. Complete all your reps and then switch sides.

For more workout ideas, check out our guide to the best Smith machine workouts and exercises here.

A landmine exercise.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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