If you use the weight side of the gym at Spring Hill Fitness, you’ve probably seen the landmine apparatus over by the cross-fitness equipment. It’s basically a short tube mounted to the floor on a double hinge. You stick one end of a barbell in it, and the other end is free to move in different directions and may be loaded with weights. What’s the point of this mysterious piece of equipment, you ask, and what are the best exercises you can do with it? Fear not – I’m here to solve the mystery once and for all!
Three main benefits of the landmine
- Path of resistance is an arc. The limbs of your body move around their joints in an arc, making the arc a more natural path for the body than a straight line. You’ll find that many free weight exercises are more comfortable to do with the landmine for that reason.
- Two degrees of freedom. Traditional free weights offer three degrees of freedom of movement, meaning the weight is free to move in all three dimensions. That makes free weights a great challenge but also hard on the stabilizer muscles. In contrast, weight machines typically offer only one degree of freedom, meaning they lock you into a fixed path. That makes them easy to use but not very stimulating to the stabilizers. The landmine strikes a nice balance between freedom of movement and stabilization with its two degrees of freedom.
- Greater loading potential than dumbbells. You can load a landmine with more weight than you’ll find on a dumbbell, which for a proud meat head is useful on exercises like dumbbell rows.
Six excellent landmine exercises
- T-bar row – this is probably the most common exercise done with the landmine. Many lifters find it hits the upper back more effectively than a regular bent over barbell row and with less lower back strain to boot. At Spring Hill Fitness we have several different handle attachments to choose from, including one similar to that illustrated in the video below:
- Single arm shoulder press – a great way to work each shoulder individually, with more comfort and range of motion than a dumbbell. May also be done kneeling. Video:
- Squat – offers the benefits of a traditional squat or front squat but easier to stay balanced and keep a neutral spine. The arc motion also tends to feel more natural than the straight line forced by a smith machine. Video:
- Deadlift – safer and easier to achieve good form than a standard deadlift, as well as being superior for glute development due to the forward motion created by the arc. Video:
- Rotations – great for core strength and stability! May also be done kneeling. Video:
- Meadow row – similar to the dumbbell row but allows for more weight to be used. An optional handle or lifting straps are recommended to help keep your grip. Video:
The landmine mystery has been solved! Give it a try and let me know what you think. If you have a favorite that I didn’t list, feel free to post it below.