There I was several months ago looking at my legs in the mirror, (yeah I’m kind of a narcissist). “Man, I really need to work on them differently.”
I was having one of my typical conversations with myself. I have to confess but my legs are my weak points in my body. Luckily I have found exercises and workouts that work for me and have helped my legs grow. Exercises like bodyweight jump squats along with sprints have been a blessing for me and have given my legs a boost for several years now.
Although these exercises have been a part of my workout routine I figured I wanted to include a new element in my workouts and something that would target not only the lower body but the core as well.
One workout that recently caught my eye for its muscle building and fat burning abilities are landmine exercises. I have been doing these exercises for several months experimenting and looking for a way that would give me the best results possible. The explosive nature of these workouts specifically work fast twitch muscles and as a result helps the body get a lean look. This type of workout is one that can be done using only a barbell and some weight using very limited space.
What Are Landmine Exercises?
Landmine exercises are named after a piece of equipment that is ground based and is rotational in its design. A popular version of the landmine is made by Sorinex (see picture above). This equipment is designed in a way that a barbell can be attached from one end allowing for the bar to move in a circular range of motion. The opposite end of the bar facing the person can have weight attached and a handle for easier grip.
Because of the mobility of this device it makes it easy to get creative with workouts. By using a landmine you can work virtually any muscle group in the upper body, lower body and in the core. The flexibility in its design makes it easy for anyone to set up and use.
In the previous article we discussed barbell Russian twists. This exercise is a good example of one can be performed using a landmine setup. If you have not read it you should go ahead and do it now to get an idea on how you can work the core muscles using a simple twisting motion with a barbell.
Make Your Own Landmine
If you are looking to get one of these pieces of equipment you will see that they are not cheap and will set you back a few hundred dollars. If you are not interested in paying a good chunk of cash for this equipment you can simply make your own at your gym or even at home.
The simple way of making your own landmine requires having the following pieces of workout equipment:
- Weight Plates
- Weight Clip
Simply place a weight plate (preferably a 45 pound) on the floor, a weight plate on the end of the bar facing you (start with light weight) and the opposite end of the bar should fit in the hole of the weight plate on the ground. This setup allows for the barbell to move in a flexible and circular motion like the Sorinex device.
Why I Added Landmines As A New Element In My Workouts?
Well I think it is important to challenge your body to avoid having the same types of workouts. Sure, it helps from breaking a plateau but it is also good to keep your workouts interesting. The goal for me is always to keep my workouts interesting and as athletic as possible, incorporating multi joint movements in order to boost muscle building and fat burning qualities as much as possible.
Jump squats and sprints are still part of my workout routines and I use them twice per week but have added landmines once per week as part of my lower body strength training.
If you notice in the previous post on barbell Russian twists this exercise was pretty simple but was not very explosive. In fact, the exercise required very little mobility in the lower body thereby focusing all effort in the core and upper body. However, at the conclusion of the article I mentioned that there is a way to make this exercise explosive if done in a different manner.
Building Explosiveness With Lower Body Workouts
While doing research on using landmines for an explosive lower body workout I came across the following video.
The exercises used are:
- Landmine Deadlift Curl Rotate Press: set up your landmine and begin by holding the bar with one hand and with the knees bent. Come up in to a standing position, curl the weight, twist and press the bar up. This is a total body exercise working on the core, legs, lower back, arms and shoulders.
- Barbell Abdominal Rollout: focuses primarily on the abs. This can be done if you do not have lower back problems, otherwise skip it.
- Barbell Get Up, Get Down: this is an excellent core and leg exercise. Begin with a barbell with light weight resting on your upper back behind your neck. Come down on the right knee and place it on the floor, then bring your left knee to the floor, come back up first with your right leg then the left leg. This is one rep. Complete the desired number of reps then repeat the sequence this time starting with the opposite leg. Bring the left knee down first, followed by the right knee to the floor, come up with the left leg and finally bring your left leg back to the standing position.
- Hack Squats: The barbell is placed behind the feet and ankles. Grab the barbell with an underhand grip and come up by keeping the heels firmly planted on the ground and drive the weight up. Look straight throughout the motion.
- Clean And Press: Start with the barbell on the floor, hold the bar with a neutral grip and in one quick motion bring the barbell to your chest and drop down to a squat position. Come up to a standing position and press the barbell to a shoulder press.
- Landmine Barbell Twists: As you can see in the video this is like a Russian barbell twist but is done faster. When you twist to each side bend your knees as if you were doing a standing lunge, come up fast and repeat to the opposite side to complete one repetition. After completing the desired number of reps you repeat the same motion only this time much quicker and without pausing at the top of the movement.
In this video you can see that this simple set up works heavily on the lower body and core muscles but also the upper body thereby making it a total body workout. The explosive nature of the movements and the multi joint emphasis on the exercises makes it a perfect workout for developing fast twitch muscles which gives the body lean muscle and a more athletic look.
A Landmine Exercise Workout
Although the workout laid out in the video is extremely effective, it is one that is more for an advanced level of fitness. If you have never done exercises like squats, deadlifts or clean and jerk I recommend you first learn these exercises and develop good form before you attempt this workout.
Because of the high degree of athleticism and difficulty in this video I decided to create an easier version, yet still challenging version of the workout. The following workout incorporates power movements along with the landmine.
- Traditional Deadlifts- 4 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Get Up, Get Down- 4 sets of 5 reps per leg
- Front Squat- 3 sets of 8 reps
- Power Clean- 3 sets of 3 reps
- Landmine Barbell Twist- 4 sets (each set consists of 10 slower twists to each side and then 10 fast twists to each side as in the video)
- Rest one minute between sets and exercises
In this version of the workout a traditional deadlift is used rather than the landmine version as I wanted to focus more on the power movement of the deadlift. The emphasis here is not on the arms but strictly on engaging the legs and back muscles.
Also, instead of doing a hack squat I replaced this with a front squat. Although hack squats are a great exercise they can be difficult for someone not used to doing them. Hack squats require a lot of strength to drive the weight from behind the legs in to an upward motion. Front squats are easier than a hack squat, make it easier to do a deeper squat and can be easier to control the weight.
Power cleans replaced the clean and jerk. Again, the emphasis for me was in the lower body and not in a pressing movement which would also target the shoulders. Also, for someone who is not advanced the power clean is easier to do and is safer to do as long as you do not have a bad back.
The landmine barbell twist as done in the video is amazing in working the core and legs. By the time you finish the sequence of twists you should not be able to get on a treadmill due to the demand that is placed on the legs.
Since using the landmine barbell twists I have noticed more development in my rear delts and side delts. The twisting motion engages the arms, shoulders, core and legs in a way that I have not seen or experienced with other workouts. It is the combination of this exercise along with the barbell get up stand up that makes the legs work harder than they are used to.
This workout consisting of landmine exercises and power movements will take your body to a different level by helping it develop fast twitch muscle while getting simultaneous cardio benefits. In fact, if you are not sweating, breathing hard and feel like you can still get on a treadmill then sorry my friend but you are not doing it right.
Try this exercise if you are looking for a different way to get your body to look athletic. Let me know what you think.