As a college strength and conditioning coach, it helps to be creative when dealing with a large team in a small weight room.
With a lot of my time dedicated to various sports performance internships, part-time positions, and my current graduate assistantship, I’ve borrowed some useful training tools along the way. One thing I’ve found to be tremendously helpful for training teams? The Landmine.
Landmine variations of your typical compound movements can be a staple in your programming. I have experimented with a lot of the exercises shown below to optimize the year-round programming for my sport teams. Most importantly, these landmine exercises have provided consistency and longevity of training throughout a long competitive season for my athletes.
What Is a Landmine and What Are the Benefits?
A landmine machine is a metal tube built on a pivot system that can move in any direction. Simply slide one end of the barbell into the tube, put the plates (if you’re using any) on the opposite end and you’re ready to go. But you don’t need an actual landmine machine to train with landmine exercises. You can approximate one using a 45-pound plate and a dumbbell (as detailed here), or you can even just stick the barbell at the base of the floor in the corner of a room.
Why would you utilize a landmine in your training? There are plenty of reasons.
Perhaps you don’t have a rack at your disposal, or you’re simply looking to add variety to your routine. Landmine exercises can also be very efficient and convenient, allowing you to perform a multitude of movements in a single area without moving from one piece of equipment to another. This can help you increase your training density within a short time frame.
Landmine exercises can easily be made more challenging by increasing the load, and the landmine allows for complex movement patterns to be adapted so they’re more specific to sport. The landmine offers a wide variety of open and closed chain exercises covering all planes of motion (frontal, transverse and sagittal).
The landmine can be used as both a progression and regression along with a “filler” when designing programming. For instance, a lot of my core work will consist of landmine exercises, but I may not necessarily make them a priority in the workout. Finally, landmine exercises are also quite safe, making them a great way to build foundational strength for youth athletes or to help an athlete who cannot axial load due to injury continue training.
How Can I Integrate the Landmine into Training?
The landmine workouts above provide functionality and cover the fundamental movement patterns (push, pull, hinge, squat, lunge) that balance a program and an athlete.
At times, I believe strength and conditioning coaches can get stuck in programming a training load based on a one-rep max percentage and overlook the purpose of providing a sound program that fits the needs of the athletes, especially in the midst of a season. With these landmine variations, you’re able to load quality movements and supply a demand for the athlete(s) to adapt in a safe and effective manner.
You can turn these workouts into “work capacity” circuits by picking one of the two following options.
Move from one exercise to the other and perform the workout within a time limit. For example, complete 3 rounds of 8 exercises with a two-minute break between rounds. Create a time limit to complete the exercises (20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes) and challenge yourself to reduce the overall time in small increments each week.
Perform a 30-seconds on/30-seconds off conditioning interval training session. Progress the sessions by moving to 40 seconds on/20 seconds off. Decrease the rest time and gradually increase the amount of work over time.
If you’re looking for some power alternatives, Landmine Split Jerks, Landmine Rotational Presses, Kneeling Landmine Incline Presses with Hip Drive and Single-Arm Landmine Hang Snatches are some of my other favorites.
You can also utilize a contralateral landmine circuit that sees the athlete train opposing muscle groups in a contralateral fashion, so muscles don’t fatigue and the athlete stays in the aerobic zone:
Prescribe a certain work to rest ratio (ex. 1:1 or 2:1). In this case, I chose 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. Perform for 3 rounds with a 2-minute rest break between each round.