“Landmine” exercises have become increasingly popular as we’ve realized that landmines can substitute for just about every major exercise. From landmine squats and lunges, to presses and rows, I’d argue (although I won’t today) that you could create a top-tier workout program with landmine exercises alone.
A landmine exercise refers to any exercise where one end of a barbell remains fixed on the ground and the other side moves as part of the exercise. The fixed side remains in the corner of the room or anchored by a landmine attachment. The other side is often plate-loaded. The OG landmine exercise was probably the landmine press, although it quickly spawned dozens of other creative exercises.
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Like any attachment, it’s like an add-on pack. Depending on your situation, you might not need ANY landmine attachments. If you have a solid corner in your home gym and some towels to protect the walls, that’s all you need in many cases.
However, like an add-on pack, the attachments can enhance the effectiveness, allow you to do more exercises, and keep you and your equipment safe. Of all the landmine attachments, we can split into two main categories.
The fixed-side attachments anchor the unmoving side of the problem, either to the ground, to a rack, or to some other stable apparatus. Without a fixed-side attachment, the barbell muscle rest securely in a corner. While this is fine, getting an attachment has a few advantages if you regularly do landmine exercises. Firstly, you don’t need to worry about finding a perfect corner. For group workouts, like team settings, this means you can set up the landmine anywhere, making it useful for organizing the logistics of groups.
Secondly, I admit even though the corner is fine, the fluidity improves when you have an attachment over just being stuck in the wall because there’s an extra hinge. You know, physics. Finally it protects your wall, or your gym’s wall. In either case we don’t want to be murdering walls out here. I’ve seen many a wall with a barbell-shaped hole in them from landmines.
Handle attachments are where we go from practicality, more towards fun. These you add to the end of the moving end of the barbell, and they can take a number of formations and positions. There’s probably a sex joke here, but I’m going to omit that opportunity.
From the two types, we have a bunch of subtypes. For the ground attachments there are three main categories. The standard ground attachment, the home plate, and the rack attachment.
Not if you have a wall corner you don’t mind banging up and that’s very sturdy and with plenty of space. However, even if this is the case, if you’re doing a lot of landmines, this will make the exercise more smooth and effective. So it’s up to you whether you’ll get enough use out of it to make up the cost.
This type is weighted on one side so the barbell is steady and then has a place to slide the barbell in. It’s the easiest to move around, the lightest, and often the least expensive. The gold standard for this attachment is the Rogue Post Landmine. I’ve personally had three for over three years and they’re still in perfect condition. They’re also convenient to place in a stack of plates if you need even more stability.
The home plate attachment, I’ll admit, is kind of a pain in the butt. No, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it just takes up a lot of valuable gym space. It’s also a pain to move. I worked in a gym that had six squat racks and six home plate landmine attachments and we actually preferred to just stick it into the corner of the squat rack because moving the home plate was that big of a pain.
Personally, I’m out on the home plate. The situation where I would consider grabbing one is if you never had to move your landmine attachment. If you have a home gym for example, and you plan on keeping it in the same spot, then the home plate makes more sense than a regular one. However, keep in mind that it’s the size of a home plate. I can attest to the quality of Perform Better’s home plate attachment
Finally, there’s the landmine attachment you screwed into your squat rack. If you have a squat rack already and know that’s the best spot to do your landmines, this is the most sturdy option. Make sure you get an attachment that matches the brand of your rack.
Rogue makes one for their rack. Many other major manufacturers do. But fi you’re not sure it’ll fit, just pick up one of the other ones.
When doing nearly any traditional landmine exercise without the attachment, you grip the barbell on the part that’s designed to have plates loaded on it. This comes with a few disadvantages. Firstly, the grip is wide like a fat grip. If grip strength holds you back, that means the limiting factor in your exercises might just be the grip. So, you can get a handle attachment that goes on the end, and you can grip the landmine with an easier grip.
Perform Better makes a simple, sturdy version of this.
This is most useful for many non-traditional landmine exercises. For example, a landmine row without the handle places a lot of the tension on the forearms. This is fine if I want to hit more forearms, but sometimes I’d prefer an easier grip for exercises like stiff leg deadlifts and landmine rows. For landmine presses, I don’t mind the wide grip as much because you’re just pressing up, so the grip isn’t as important.
If you like to explore with the landmine and use it all the time, this handle is a no-brainer. It’s also a no-brainer if you train others. Some people are just not going to be as comfortable grabbing a rusty end of a barbell like you.
The T-Bar Row Attachment is for exactly what you think it is: t-bar rows. It’s great if you want to do t-bar rows without a t-bar row machine.You slide this attachment on before you stack the weights, that way you can grip the handle instead of the bar.
Rogue has two options for this attachment, straight and angled. Personally from a lat training perspective, I prefer the angled one, but they will hit the back muscles slightly differently, with the former getting more rear delt and the latter more lats.
The angled one I also use for one of my favorite core exercises, which I creatively call “landmine core.” This one is actually not a Rogue one, it’s one from Perform Better, which is a bit less expensive and still high quality, you just don’t get the choice of angle.
The exercise might deserve it’s own article, but it speaks to the versatility of the attachments and with some creativity you can have fun with them and even invent exercises.
You can also get a close grip t-bar row attachment, like this one from Rogue. However, another option for this is to take a tricep rope and wrap it around the barbell. Personally I find that equally easy and comfortable, and great in a pinch.
If you follow a lot of fitness people on Instagram, you’ve most likely seen the the pentagon bar in action, because it looks really fucking cool. Ben Bruno is leading the charge in terms of experimenting with this attachment. They’re a fun, and easier to teach, substitute for cleans. You can do heavy split squats with them, reverse lunges, really I’m just going to show you Ben’s IG to check out some options.
This article on SimpliFaster outlines some great options for exercises with the Pentagon Bar.
As for brands, there have been a bunch of cheap knock-offs on the internet lately. Luckily, Perform Better has a great pentagon bar that I’ve personally used and loved. This would be a big investment, but has endless potential.
Finally, Titan makes a cool neutral grip attachment. This one would make pressing easier on the shoulders. I’m not sure it provides many benefits over the pentagon, because the pentagon bar also has neutral grip handles, but this comes at a much lower price point and is also super high quality, and will last a long time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list because I feel like every month I see a new one, so I will continue to add as we go along and as I personally experiment. If you have any questions about these types, what exercises they can be used for, and what specific product recommendations I have, then feel free to send me an Instagram DM and we’ll keep the conversation going over there.