At STACK, we're big fans of landmine exercises. You can build lower-body strength and power with variations of your favorite exercises in ways that simulate how you use your muscles in your sport.
Landmine exercises involve loading plates on one end of the bar and anchoring the opposite end to the floor. On a traditional lift like a Squat or Lunge, the load is vertical. On many landmine exercises, the load is vertical and horizontal. Nearly all sports skills except jumping straight up have a horizontal component. Landmine exercises will make you stronger in that movement, directly translating to improved strength, speed and power in your on-field skills.
In some instances landmine exercises allow you to change an exercise or lift more weight, building more strength in a movement than you could with traditional lifts.
Ideally, your gym has a landmine machine—an anchor on the floor where a barbell can slide into, creating a pivot joint with the floor. If you don't have access to a landmine machine, you can set one end of the barbell in the corner of a squat rack and anchor it with a heavy dumbbell.
Here are six lower-body landmine exercises that have unique benefits over their traditional dumbbell or barbell counterparts. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each.
The Landmine Squat offers benefits similar to the Goblet Squat. According to strength coach Ben Bruno, the Landmine Squat is a great way to teach proper Squat technique, because, as he says, "the arc of the bar helps ingrain the idea of keeping an upright torso, because if you lean too far forward the bar jams into your sternum." Bruno notes that this is particularly beneficial for taller athletes, who tend to lean forward when they squat. It's great for teaching, but you can also load up this exercise with heavy weight.
Landmine Reverse Lunge
This variation of the Lunge offers a few different benefits. You're able to use a heavier weight than you typically can with dumbbells, and you don't have to have a bar across your back, which some people find uncomfortable. Also, when you drive up out of the Lunge, you work against both the horizontal and vertical load, which is more like how you drive off the ground when sprinting or when blocking or tackling an opponent. You can add a press to this move to strengthen your upper body.
Landmine Deadlift to Rotational Press
You can do a Landmine Deadlift, but there's not much reason to choose that over a Barbell or Trap Bar Deadlift. It's a case where if it's not broken, don't fix it. However, by adding a rotational press, you can turn a Deadlift into a full-body movement that improves rotational power and core strength.
Single-Arm Landmine RDL
Another landmine exercise recommended by Bruno, this variation of the Single-Leg RDL offers many of the same benefits as the dumbbell version. You train one side of your body at a time, focusing on your glutes and hamstrings. However, you're able to lift a heavier load, allowing you to build more strength in the movement.
Explosive Landmine Press
The Explosive Landmine Press is a full-body movement. Although it involves a press, most of the power is produced by your lower body. Your hips, knees and ankles extend to drive off the ground and propel the bar forward. The move trains for power like Olympic lifts, but without having to learn complicated technique.
Explosive Landmine Rotation Press
This move is similar to the Explosive Landmine Press, but it includes a rotational component. It confers benefits similar to the Med Ball Rotational Throw, but you can use more weight than you can with a med ball. Again, there's an upper-body movement, but the focus is to increase power in your lower body with a strong hip drive to propel the bar.
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