If your gym has a landmine, you are one lucky lifter. There might not be a better piece of exercise equipment than the landmine to help you get a good quality workout. This simple-looking tool is basically a short tube that’s mounted to a swivel joint and it can be usually found in some corner of the gym. Yet, it’s one of the most effective and versatile pieces of equipment for boosting your strength and improving your athletic performance.
But what makes the landmine squat so special? Which muscles does it target, what can you do to get the most out of it and reap all the potential benefits it offers?
Here’s everything you need to know to master the king of leg exercises and experience royal gains in full body strength and form.
What Is a Landmine Squat?
The landmine squat is a lower-body exercise that’s typically performed with the help of an angled barbell that’s anchored in a landmine device on a floor level. It can also be done by putting a barbell in the corner of a room and wrapping the far end in a towel to protect the walls.
Landmine squats are a squat variation that primarily affects the quads, glutes, upper back and core muscles. It does not affect your joints as much, which makes it a much safer squat alternative.
Landmine squats are meant to help you develop proper squat form, build muscle and train for Olympic weightlifting exercises. To perform the traditional landmine exercises, you can load an Olympic barbell with weight plates on one end, and affix the other end to a landmine attachment. If you don’t really have an Olympic bar at hand, don’t worry – you can use any barbell you have.
Muscles Worked by the Landmine Squat
Landmines squats are great for targeting the quads, especially in taller people who might have a hard time targeting that area with normal squats. They are a great exercise for building and maintaining lower body strength. Plus, they’re a safer and lower-impact alternative to traditional squats.
When performing landmine squats, you target a variety of different muscles in your core and lower body. The primary muscles worked during landmine squats are quadriceps and glutes. Other muscles affected when doing the landmine squat are also known as secondary muscles and these include the hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, abdominals, calves.
How to Perform the Landmine Squat with Perfect Form
Landmine squats may seem to be a simple squatting movement, however, if you don’t do them with the proper squatting form, you might injure yourself. To do them with better posture, make sure to:
- Keep your spine in a neutral position;
- Start with a low weight if you’re new to the landmine squat;
- Inhale on the way up, exhale when lowering the barbell;
- Keep your neck neutral, do not bend it;
- Warm-up before doing a landmine squat.
- Inspect your equipment and set up before each exercise to make sure it’s safe to train with.
How to Landmine Squat
When doing landmine squats, start with 2–4 sets of 6–12 repetitions. Choose your weight, number of sets and repetitions based on your fitness level and ability to maintain good form and proper technique throughout all sets.
Put one end of the barbell into the landmine device and stand on the opposing end of the barbell. Spread your feet shoulder-width and keep your knees slightly bent.
Keep your posture straight and tall. Make sure your shoulders are over your hips and maintain your head and neck in a neutral position. Tuck your chin (as if you’re holding something under it) and keep it that way while performing this exercise.
Evenly distribute your weight and firmly stand on the floor in a stable foot 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.
When you start going downwards, slowly bend your hips, knees, and ankles. Go down until your legs are parallel or slightly below parallel to the floor. Ensure the weight on your feet is evenly distributed. When you come to the bottom position – pause a couple of seconds.
To perform the proper upward movement, push your feet into the ground to initiate the standing position. Try to push through your mid foot and heel while still engaging your toes.
As you transition into a standing position, keep your chest high, squeeze your glutes, and straighten your knees so that your hips can go forward. To complete the movement, squeeze your glutes and quadriceps and maintain your spine in a neutral position.
Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to meet your fitness goals.
Landmine Squat Variations
Landmine Squat Press (aka Thruster)
The landmine squat press is a highly effective exercise that targets almost every muscle in your body. It works your glutes, quads, core, triceps, shoulders, chest, serratus anterior, and even lats. However, it also targets all your other muscles to help stabilize.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a landmine squat press exercise that will help you strengthen your body, burn a lot of calories and get those good muscle growth hormones going, the landmine squat press is the one.
How to Execute It
Take the bar and hold it with both hands at mid-chest level. Tuck your elbows to your sides to support the movement and boost stability.
From a squat position, start lowering your hips and go as low as you can. Keep your knees behind your toes and try to keep the weight on your heels.
Once you reach the bottom of your squat, quickly go up. As you do this movement, press the bar up until your arms are fully extended.
Then, lower the bar back down to a chest level slowly, and repeat this squat as many times as you need to.
Tips for Proper Form:
- Keep your movements steady and controlled;
- Do not round your back when doing squats.
These are some of the other landmine squat variations that heavy lifters love experimenting with:
- Landmine Split Squat
- Landmine Box Squat
- Landmine Hack Squat (face away from the barbell and rest it on your shoulder)
- Landmine Split Squat Stance Hack
- Lumberjack Landmine Squats (start with the plates on a bench rather than the floor)
Landmine Squat Alternatives
There are many landmine squat alternatives that can also help you increase lower body strength and boost your athletic performance. Here are some of the most popular ones.
This exercise is loved by both men and women, especially men as it strengthens the core and legs, helping the body release more testosterone, boost muscle gains and aid in building strength. The barbell squat is the king of leg exercises – women love it because it helps tone their glutes and thighs.
Muscle Groups Targeted
Primary muscles: quadriceps and glutes.
Secondary muscles: Hamstrings, adductors, spinal erectors, abdominals.
How to Execute the Barbell Squat
Step on the rack and make sure the barbell rests on the back of your shoulders. If you’re using free weights, raise the barbell and step away from the rack.
Bend your knees and slowly lower your body while keeping your back straight and head up. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
When raising yourself up, use only the power of your thighs. Keep your back straight and your legs almost locked out.
Repeat this movement as many times as you want to meet your fitness goals and master your squats.
Tips for Proper Form
- For perfect squats, keep your torso upright, back straight head up, and feet flat on the ground.
- Depending on your fitness level, start with light weights and add more plates gradually. This will help your lower back and legs to adapt and prevent any injuries.
- Focus on having a correct squat form;
- If you want to lift heavy, to prevent unwanted injuries, use a squat rack, a power rack or have a spotter ready to help you out.
This is a great exercise to build and strengthen your thigh muscles and glutes. When combined with squats, dumbbell lunges are excellent for building strong butt muscles. To properly perform this exercise, you need good balance. Therefore, if balance is not your biggest asset, you can start with doing lunges without any weights so that you can first learn how to do the exercise properly.
Make sure that the knee of the leg that’s forward does not go past your toes as you step forward and bend your leg. This may lead to knee joint injuries if it’s done too often.
Muscle Groups Targeted
Secondary: glutes, hamstrings, adductors.
How to Execute Dumbbell Lunges
Take a dumbbell in each hand, keep your arms by your sides and stand upright.
Keeping your back straight, take a step forward all while bending your knees as close to the ground as possible.
Get yourself back to the starting position and repeat the movement with your other foot.
To continue with this exercise, keep on alternating the leg with which you do the lunge.
Tips for Proper Form
- Bend as far and low as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Keep your torso upright and while your head is facing forward.
- If you don’t have good balance, it’s best to avoid performing this exercise or use your own bodyweight instead of dumbbells.
Common Landmine Squat Mistakes
Squatting is one of the best lower-body exercises. Besides engaging the glutes and all of the front and back thigh muscles and calves, the traditional squat enables you to push a substantial amount of weight. However, the squat can be challenging to master, and having a poor lifting technique can easily lead to injuries and unwanted scenarios.
Let’s see if you are making one of the most common squatting mistakes and see how you can fix them.
Knees Caving In
One of the biggest mistakes associated with squatting is letting your knees cave in, which is typically a result of weakness in the quads or external rotators of the hip. When your knees cave in, they put extra pressure on your knee joints, ligaments and connective tissue and can lead to injury.
When doing the squat, ensure your feet are hip to shoulder-width apart and that they are turned slightly out (10-15 degrees). After that, concentrate on driving your knees out and inline with your second toe.
Coming Up Onto Your Toes
This scenario is usually seen among beginners who are just starting to learn how to squat but may have added more weight to their pole than they can bear. As they struggle to get up, they shift their weight toward the front part of their foot, thus letting the heels rise off the ground.
Again, this adds even more stress to the knee joint and can easily lead to injury. To maintain a proper squatting form, keep the pressure over your midfoot. To keep your balance and stay rooted to the floor, use your toes and heels.
The squat is a basic human movement that us humans do on a daily basis. Said in other words, some of the most rudimentary movements we make throughout the day involve squatting.
However, many people avoid doing squats and squat variations in the gym, usually because they are not sure how to properly do them or because they don’t have a strong enough work ethic or pain tolerance when it comes to training. Although not everyone can master squatting with a bar across their back, that doesn’t mean that they should not incorporate squats in their training routine one way or another.
One of the best things about squats is that they can be done in so many ways and come in endless strength training squat variation types. These include the goblet squat, front squat, back squat, landmine squats, hack squats, kettlebell squats, and split squats.
The truth of the matter is, you don’t have to back squat to build strong and big legs, but you do have to squat in one way or another for leg gains.
The Needed Landmine Squat Equipment
Typically, landmine squats are performed with the help of a landmine. This piece of exercise equipment is actually a barbell that’s anchored to the ground on one end. You might see a landmine anchored in the corner of a gym, or it may be attached to a power rack with the help of a landmine attachment.
Landmine Squat Benefits
The landmine squat is a totally different beast than other squat variations. It’s not overwhelming to beginner lifters and the benefits it offers are useful for fitness enthusiasts from all fitness levels.
So, the next time you’re training in the gym, why not give the landmine squat a go? I’m sure you won’t regret it. There is a wide range of landmine squat benefits, here are just some from all the benefits the landmine squat offers.
Landmine Squats Help You Maintain Proper Squat Form
This squat variation is one of the best exercises to help you develop proper form when lifting. Thanks to their fixed range of motion, many strength coaches rely on the landmine squat to teach lifters how to do other types of squats involving weights. Landmine squats provide a great basis for learning how to properly perform front squats, barbell split squats, and back squats.
Landmine Squats Are Easier On Your Joints
Performing free-standing barbell squats properly and with the right amount of knee flexion can be challenging. This is where landmine squats come in helpful – they don’t let your knees cave in and make it easier to keep them in line with your toes.
This, in turn, eases the stress on your joints and reduces the risk of injuries.
Landmine Squats Build Strength In Your Entire Body
You will quickly develop lower and upper body strength by doing landmine squats correctly. This is so because this excellent squat variation targets your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, abs, triceps, deltoids, and trapezius muscles, resulting in better legs endurance and overall body strength.
Other Landmine Squat Benefits
- Helps build muscle mass and muscular endurance and eliminates muscle imbalance
- It’s the ideal low-impact exercise for people working around injuries
- The landmine squat is a joint-friendly squat form
- It is the perfect squat variation for improving your quads, core and overall aesthetic