8 Variations Exploring the Benefits of Landmine Squats: Lower-Body Development

A landmine exercise involves anchoring one end of a barbell to the ground and permitting the other end to move freely as part of the exercise.


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Do you have access to a landmine in your gym? If so, you are fortunate! The landmine is a great tool for getting a good workout and can usually be found in the corner of the gym. It may not seem like much, but it can be highly advantageous for helping you to become stronger and boost your athletic abilities.

Would you like to learn more about the landmine squat and how to maximize its benefits? Here is an article that will give you all the information you need to be able to do this exercise correctly.

The landmine squat is a specialized variation of the traditional squat, utilizing an angled barbell placed into a landmine device. This exercise can also be done with a one end of the barbell wrapped in a towel pressed into a corner of a room. The towels only purpose is to protect the corner and walls from damage. This can be a quick and simple way to perform the exercise if a landmine device isn’t available.

This exercise primarily affects the quads, glutes, upper back, and core muscles but doesn’t put as much strain on your joints; it’s a safer option than squatting. The goals of this exercise are to improve squat form, build muscle, and serve as preparation for Olympic weightlifting exercises. To perform a landmine squat, an Olympic barbell is loaded with weight plates, and one end is attached to a landmine attachment, or any barbell can be used.

Muscles Worked by the Landmine Squat

Performing a landmine squat is a great way to target the quadriceps muscles, especially in taller individuals who might have difficulty targeting that area with traditional squats. Working out with free weights is a great way to build and maintain lower body strength. But adding an anchor point adds a degree of safety to the lift that free weight alone can’t offer; not only is the landmine configuration safer, but it is also less impactful on your body than regular squats.

Landmine squats are an effective way to target multiple muscles in your core and lower body. The muscles that are worked the most during landmine squats are the quadriceps and glutes. The muscles most affected when doing a landmine squat are your quadriceps, but your hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, abdominals, and calves are also engaged to a lesser extent.

How to Landmine Squat

Begin your landmine squat routine with a range of 2-4 sets, each containing 6-12 repetitions. The load, number of sets, and reps should be determined according to your physical fitness and ability to maintain proper technique throughout the exercise.

Secure one end of the barbell in the landmine device, then take a stance on the other end of the barbell. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent.

Keep your posture straight and tall. Be sure that your shoulders are positioned directly over your hips, and keep your head and neck in an upright, neutral position. Pull your head back while keeping your chin tucked in as if you’re holding something under it.

Place your feet evenly on the floor and stand firmly in a stable position.

Using both hands, clasp the end of the bar. Keep your elbows close to your rib cage.

Don’t forget to engage your core. Keep your ribs down and slightly tuck your pelvis. Begin all repetitions from this starting position.

Slowly bend your hips, knees, and ankles as you go downwards. You should lower your body until your legs are parallel or slightly below parallel to the floor. Ensure the weight on your feet is evenly distributed when you reach the lowest point in the squat; pause for a moment or two.

Stand up by pushing your feet into the ground. You should try to push through your midfoot and heel while still engaging your toes.

As you stand, keep your chest high and squeeze your glutes. Straighten your knees so your hips can move forward. To finish the movement, squeeze your butt muscles and thighs and keep your spine straight.

Do this exercise repeatedly to achieve your fitness goals.

Benefits of Landmine Squats

Landmine squats offer an advantageous alternative to other squat variations due to the decreased mobility requirements and lower joint stress.

Landmine Squats Help You Maintain Proper Squat Form

Incorporating landmine squats into an exercise regimen is an effective method for enhancing lifting technique. This variant benefits strength coaches as it provides a restricted range of motion, facilitating the acquisition of other squats with resistance. Landmine squats are an ideal way to grasp the proper execution of front squats, barbell split squats, and back squats.

Landmine Squats Are Easier On Your Joints

Executing a correct independent barbell squat can be difficult, particularly if you are inexperienced with the movement and lack the appropriate knee flexion. Landmine squats present a better option as they allow you to minimize the risk of your knees caving in and keep them in line with your toes. This can minimize joint strain and decrease the chance of injury.

Landmine Squats Build Strength In Your Entire Body

Performing landmine squats correctly offers a comprehensive workout for one’s lower and upper body, as it engages several muscle groups. This exercise is particularly effective as it stimulates the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, abs, triceps, deltoids, and trapezius muscles, improving leg endurance and overall body strength.

Other Landmine Squat Benefits

  • Enhances muscular strength and stamina, promoting balanced muscular development.
  • It is an optimal physical activity for those dealing with physical limitations as it produces minimal strain on the body.
  • The Landmine Squat is an effective and low-impact squat variation.
  • This squat variation aids in developing the quadriceps, core, and overall physique.

Drawbacks of the Landmine Squat

Different Strength Curve

The barbell on a landmine is more vertical at the top than at the bottom, and gravity only exerts a force straight down to the ground. Even if two weights have the same mass, the one suspended higher will feel lighter than the one suspended lower.

The landmine row is an advantageous exercise, as it is already naturally harder at the top. This is not the case for squats, which are the opposite. The further you get into a squat, the more difficult it becomes. We can lift more weight in the top half of a squat than we could lift if we only squatted down the last half. As you squat down, a landmine progressively gets heavier.

This makes the landmine squat not ideal for squatting with a full range of motion. Instead, it will target the bottom half. It’s not a bad thing to just focus on the top part of your squat when working out, but if you want to get better at it, you should add other exercises to your routine. For athletes, you’d often want the opposite. If you want your workout to become more difficult as you progress, bands and chains can be useful tools.

Can’t Go Super Heavy

This exercise is not as effective for advanced lifters because it does not challenge leg strength as much as other exercises. It’s NOT a max strength exercise.

Landmine Squat Variations

The landmine is a highly versatile tool, evident by the range of options available. Each variation has its distinct strength and angle, while still adhering to the fundamentals of the landmine.

1. Classic Landmine Squat

This is the main variation. The split squat is an excellent option to progress from the goblet squat when you are not ready for a front squat, trap bar DL, or heavy single-leg training. You can also add variation to your program by substituting it for a phase or two.

2. Landmine Split Squat

The landmine squat is a unilateral squat done with a landmine. The landmine squat is a great way to improve your unilateral leg strength while getting all of the benefits of a traditional squat.

3. Landmine Sumo Squat

One of the problems with the classic sumo deadlift is that the weight has to be positioned slightly in front of your body because the barbell can’t go through your body.

If you want to get a squat pattern, it is best to have the weight in front of you to avoid placing unnecessary strain on your lower back. The landmine sumo squat solves this.

4. Side-Loaded Landmine Split Squat

Any Bulgarian split squat, where you hold the weight on the inside of the working leg, help you shift into a better posture. This is especially important if you’re having trouble with low back pain or can’t seem to get your glutes to work. The challenge with this variation is that one kettlebell is often not enough to provide a workout, similar to the goblet squat. The landmine solves this.

5. Side Landmine Reverse Lunge

This exercise was originally designed for hockey players, who have to move laterally across the ice. This exercise will work your leg muscles from new angles, challenging them in new ways while improving your athleticism and attacking movement weaknesses.

6. Landmine Lateral Lunge

This exercise also focuses on movement in the frontal plane (side to side).

Lateral lunges with dumbbells or kettlebells are challenging to load with a heavyweight. Heavy dumbbells are not enough for advanced lifters. This is a challenge for even some of the strongest athletes I know.

7. Landmine Cossack Squat

The goal is to improve your mobility on the side you squat to. The purpose of this exercise is to sink as deep as you can while maintaining proper alignment with your heel down and your back flat. The difference between flexibility and mobility is the ability to move a joint through its entire range of motion, while mobility is the ability to control that range.

The landmine is a challenging position to be in as it requires mobility and excellent strength.

Uses: this one is not for beginners. If you’re having trouble with mobility, start doing cossack squats with a kettlebell. Once you get used to it (it’ll take at least four weeks), you can try the landmine version.

8. 1-Arm Landmine Squat and Press

This exercise combines two major movements into one. This type of training not only has the benefit of increasing density but also increases IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which makes the body more sensitive to insulin.

If you make it easier for your body to use insulin, it will be able to use energy, making it simpler to burn fat better—hormones for the win.

This exercise is perfect if you don’t have much time and want to get a good workout. The following text contains an element that will test your ability to maintain a consistent equilibrium. -The weight will stay in one hand when you squat, so you’ll have to use your core muscles to resist shifting to one side.

Common Landmine Squat Mistakes

Knees Caving In

One of the most common mistakes people make when squatting is allowing their knees to collapse inward. This is usually due to weakness in the quadriceps or the muscles that rotate the hip outward. If your knees give in or buckle, this puts more strain on the knee joints, as well as the ligaments and connective tissue. This can cause an injury.

When performing a squat, ensure your feet are positioned hip-width apart and turned slightly outward (10-15 degrees). Once you have adjusted your grip, focus on driving your knees out and keeping them aligned with your second toe.

Coming Up Onto Your Toes

A situation like this is common among people who are just starting to learn how to squat but may have added too much weight to their barbell. As they struggle to get up, they transfer their weight toward the front of their foot, letting the heels rise off the ground.

This creates additional stress on the knee joint, which can easily lead to injury. To squat correctly, you should keep the pressure evenly distributed over the middle of your foot. To keep your balance and stay grounded, use your toes and heels.

Not Squatting

Squatting is an essential component of any strength training regimen. This basic human movement can be done in different ways, allowing for a range of variations to be incorporated into your workout. Squats are incredibly effective for building powerful legs. Therefore, it is important to include some form of squat into your routine, even if you cannot do a traditional barbell squat.

Final Word

Try these variations either as a beginner or as a finishing variation at the end of a session to fry your quads. If nothing else, the variation will help keep you growing in your fitness journey and hopefully stave off boredom and muscular stagnation.