The “landmine” or angled barbell attachment is a hidden gem in many gyms. Look for a short piece of pipe on a hinge, somewhere near the floor (it’s often at the foot of a squat rack). Insert a barbell into the pipe, and now you can lift up the free end of the bar while the other end pivots in the attachment.
If you don’t have a specialised landmine attachment, you can still wedge the bar into a corner — the inside corner of the squat rack, the corner of a well-protected wall, or even the corner of some types of benches. (One notable DIY hack is to split open a tennis ball and use that to cushion the end of the barbell.) Here are some exercises you can do with that setup.
Half-kneeling landmine press
Because the landmine moves on an angle, a landmine press is a great way to push a weight upwards without having to stabilise it directly above your head. If you have shoulder mobility issues, this is likely to be a lot more comfortable than a standard overhead press. But because it’s a free weight, you still have to stabilise it side-to-side, which machines don’t require. For many folks, the landmine press gives you the best of both the free weight and machine worlds.
Because a landmine attachment is close to the ground, getting into a half-kneeling position puts you at a good height to press it upward. But because you’re half-kneeling instead of sitting, your core still has plenty of stabilizing work to do.
The Meadows row (named after John Meadows, who is demonstrating them in the video above) is a pulling exercise in the same family as barbell and dumbbell rows. The landmine setup is convenient, and once again, many people find it more comfortable on the shoulders than its non-landmine cousins. Holding the fat end of the barbell also gives you some extra forearm and grip training, but you can still use straps if your hands tire out easily.
The traditional way to do a T-bar row is with a T-bar machine, which has handles running perpendicular to the bar, like a letter T (hence the name). But if you don’t have a T-bar machine, you can do the same thing with a landmine. Use one of the V-shaped handles from the cable attachment bucket to give yourself a convenient handhold.
This move asks you to rotate the bar around its pivot, using your whole body. It works similar muscles as a woodchopper, while also requiring enough core stability to stop the bar from bending your body sideways. You can perform this one standing or kneeling.
Landmine belt squat
Normally you need a specialised belt squat machine to do this move, but you can also set up a belt squat with a landmine. Use a dip belt to hold the barbell, and prop your feet up on plates or blocks so you can get deep into a squat. Like a standard belt squat, this is a great way to work your legs without working your back. That’s helpful if you have a back injury or if you just want to give your legs some extra work at the end of your squat day.
Single leg landmine RDLs
The Romanian deadlift, or RDL, is a great exercise you can do with a barbell. The single-leg version (usually done with one or two dumbbells) gets more stabilizer muscles involved, but it’s tricky to balance. The landmine lets you go heavier without worrying about falling over.
Landmine goblet squat
A landmine is also a great way to do a goblet squat, which is normally performed with a kettlebell or dumbbell. Hold the end of the bar at chest level, and simply squat down and stand up. Because you’re lifting at an angle instead of countering gravity, your body angle will be a bit different than if you were using a kettlebell. This can be more comfortable if you have mobility limitations in your ankles or if you have trouble holding a weight in the standard position at your chest.
Landmine reverse lunges
Much like the landmine goblet squat, the landmine reverse lunge gives you a different way of loading an old favourite. Step a foot backward, keeping your body close to the end of the bar, and then return to standing.
Landmine press and catch
This exercise, shown here in a demo from the company that first marketed a landmine attachment, is like the standard landmine press, but with a twist.
Instead of just pressing the bar up and down, you throw it from hand to hand. Carefully, as the video shows (you do not want to lose your grip), you push it up explosively and then decelerate as you catch it in your other hand. You could gently transfer the bar from hand to hand if you want, but I’d recommend embracing the explosive nature of the way it’s shown here. This is one of the few upper body power exercises that is easy to set up in a normal gym, where chucking medicine balls across the room may be frowned upon.