When it comes to training, there is no single best piece of equipment.
All equipment is a means to an end, and that is to facilitate the goal of training.
Our goal with training is to find a means to encourage a stimulus to drive an adaptation that the person needs/wants.
While no single piece of equipment is inherently the best, there are times when some pieces of equipment work better than others in helping get the job done in training.
For example, a kettlebell is the best piece of equipment for a swing.
You can definitely do the movement with other pieces of equipment, but since we are usually using the movement to improve horizontal power production, the kettlebell flows best for it.
The landmine is an interesting piece of equipment.
Up until a few years ago, the landmine was relegated to T-bar rows and not much more.
However, in recent times we’ve seen a resurgence of it with the growth in exercise variation and creativity.
For those who are unaware, a landmine is where we set up a barbell onto an angle with one end fixated and the other side free to move.
This may be done with a specific device, such as a heavy plate that has a pivot point and end piece we slide the barbell into, or a device that slides into a stack of plates, or simply just a barbell placed into a corner.
Due to the set up, it moves in a different format than other pieces of equipment.
When the free end moves in a vertical format, it also translates horizontally creating an arc motion.
We can utilize this with certain movements to create a constraint and encourage different movements to happen more easily.
For example, if someone struggles with back squatting or front squatting but is quite strong and a goblet squat won’t suffice for them, a landmine squat can be a phenomenal movement as it often teaches someone how to perform a squat naturally with minimally cuing necessary.
This can also be applied to different lunging exercises, such as the reverse lunge with landmine goblet grip.
Or the landmine goblet lateral squat
As well, this arcing motion can be a great way to work on getting frontal and transverse plane efforts into a more sagittal based movement.
For instance, when we perform a single leg deadlift, the glutes are a primary mover in the act of hip extension, but they also function in a tri-planar motion.
Utilizing the landmine for the single leg deadlift can be excellent for adding in efforts to the glutes – specifically if we stand perpendicular as we have been for the other exercises.
In this position, as we go down the landmine arcs across our midline and we have to control our pelvis and trunk positioning, working our glutes to an even higher degree.
Similarly, for the upper body we can landmine for rowing – but not in the standard T-bar row format.
Instead, if we set up perpendicular like we did for the single leg deadlift, we can perform a row from this position that will allow us to work our upper back to a very high degree.
This row is a great option for those looking for build up their mid and upper back to a high degree without stressing their lower back as much.
Another benefit of the arcing motion is that we can utilize for creating a good progression from horizontal to vertical pressing motions.
For many trainees, horizontal pressing options become the standard – bench press, DB bench, push ups, cable or band presses, pec flys, etc.
You might see some incline here and there, but progressively there has been a big drop off in vertical pressing like the strict press and push press.
For people who are unaccustomed to them, jumping right into them can be very challenging and might lead to too much too soon of challenge for the shoulder and people my experience some sensitivity and discomfort.
The landmine can be a great between where when we perform a landmine press, we start off in a more vertical orientation, but as we finish the movement, we shift towards a horizontal press.
Usually we see the top position being the most challenging for people, so this can be a great entry-point.
As well, due to the one end being fixed and stable, it allows us to scale how much we lean into the movement and we can work to being more and more vertical over time – within the same movement.
A few excellent options that can be utilized are:
Half kneeling landmine press
Standing landmine press
The added benefit of the landmine being able to be pushed against for some stability can allow for it to be utilized in a range of different exercises.
One common is the landmine anti-rotational twist where we challenge trunk to resist motion and work on rotating around the axis point.
There are definitely more options out there that the landmine can fit in and be utilized for, however these are our top situations that we think it is best used for.
Try them out and let us know what you think of them!
If you have a few variations that you are a big fan of, send them to us!