It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if you’re working out in a nontraditional space like a boutique training studio or your garage. If you don’t have the space or resources to add more equipment, then it’s time to get creative with what you do have.
The landmine setup — a barbell anchored at one end with either a special attachment or a sandbag — offers a unique stimulus that combines the unbound chaos of free weight with the fixed, predictable trajectory of machines. Plus, it is super easy to set up. All you need to get a total-body landmine workout is a barbell and a few plates and you’re in business.
Aside from alleviating boredom, getting creative with the equipment you do have has the added benefit of surprising your muscles with a new kind of stimulus. As IFBB pro and registered nurse Jaclyn Cordiero explains in The Full-Body Landmine Workout to Shock Your Muscles , a total-body landmine workout poses a greater neuromuscular challenge than your body is used to, leading to better coordination and balance.
“Whether your goal is to gain lean muscle tissue, lose body fat or improve strength, exposing your body to different training methods like the landmine will shock your body and create results,” she says.
This is a great move to get your body warm and work several different muscle groups at the same time. It combines elements of a squat, a clean, a shoulder press and a twist, and it is a great way to train rotational strength in your core and explosive power in your legs. Use it to develop strength and stability for kettlebell work or to build functional core strength.
How-To: Stand on the side of the bar near the end. Bend at your knees and hips in a squat position and reach across to grab the free end of the bar outside of your collar with your inside hand. Row the bar up to your shoulder, standing up as you lift the weight. As you come up, grab the underside of the bar with your other hand. Pivot your feet, twisting toward the bar as you release your first hand and press the bar up with your second hand. Lower the bar back to your shoulder, pivot back, grab the top of the bar with your first hand and lower back to the starting position. Repeat this sequence for 12 to 15 reps, then move to the other side of the bar and repeat on the other side. Repeat for three sets.
This is an excellent exercise for fixing one of the most common problems in squatting : not keeping your chest up. Holding the end of the bar up against your chest as you squat prevents you from leaning forward while simultaneously giving you something to hold on to so you don’t fall backward. It’s a great way to build up the muscles in your core and back that hold you upright as you squat.
How-To: Stand holding the end of the bar up against your chest with your feet shoulder-width apart in a squat stance. Keeping your weight in your heels, bend at the knees and hips to lower your body into a squat. Depending on your strength and flexibility, you may have to shift your feet back an inch or so to complete the full range of motion without falling over. Pause at the bottom of the squat, then push through your heels and extend your legs to stand up. Keep your shoulders back and your core engaged throughout the movement. Repeat for three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
The landmine allows you to load more weight than you safely could with a free weight, making this a great total-body strength-building exercise. Use this as an auxiliary exercise to build strength for kettlebell work or CrossFit lifts like the split jerk.
How-To: Face sideways and hold the end of the bar at your shoulder. Step your feet into a split-squat stance. With your body upright, lower down into the split squat, keeping your weight in your front heel and your back toes. Straighten your legs, pressing the bar straight up at the top of the movement. Lower the bar back to your shoulder with control. Repeat for the 10 to 12 reps with your feet in the same stance, then turn around and repeat on the other side. Repeat for three sets.
This exercise looks a lot like the T-bar row you’d see at the gym, only instead of using a wide grip, your hands are stacked close together gripping the bar. If possible, load the bar with smaller plates to give you more range of motion on the row. You also can add resistance with a band or chains if the plates get in the way.
How-To: Straddle the landmine. Hinge forward at the hips with your knees slightly bent and grip the bar, lifting it off the ground slightly. Hold this bent-over position throughout the movement, keeping your chest up and your core engaged to protect your lower back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and row the bar up to your chest. Lower the bar back down with control. Repeat for three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Although the get-up is notoriously tricky to master, building your ab strength with the landmine can help you through the toughest parts. The landmine teaches you to press up in a straight line, and you can practice your form using heavier weights.
How-To: Lie on the floor parallel to the bar holding the end of the landmine with your inside hand, arm extended. Have the same knee bent with your foot on the ground and the other leg straight. Rest your other arm on the ground next to you. Contract your abs and roll diagonally up onto your free elbow as you press the bar up. Extend your free arm and lift your hips to balance on your hand and your foot. Pause and then reverse the movement by lowering your hips and dropping back down to your elbow. Lie back to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps, then switch arms and legs and perform the same number of reps on the other side. Repeat for three sets.