Learn the benefits, muscles worked, variations, alternatives and technique tips for the Landmine Squat, an underrated but effective and useful barbell strength exercise.
What is a Landmine Squat?
The Landmine Squat is an anterior loaded squat where one end of the barbell is fixed to the floor.
They can be performed in the gym/box using a landmine attachment or by placing the end of the barbell into the hole of a weights plate.
Table of Contents
How to do it
Landmine Squat Benefits
This Squat form has many benefits.
Landmine Squats are Excellent for Beginners
The movement teaches correct squat form in an easily accessible way.
The arc of the bar path on the descent forces the lifter to sit back, shift weight to the heels and maintain a vertical torso. This teaches and reinforces good squatting technique and strengthens the quads.
Landmine Squats Grease the Groove for Front and Back Squats
They also allow load to be added to the Squat. This allows an athlete to build up strength, mobility and confidence before trying heavier Front and Back Squats.
Landmine Squats are Easy on the Joints
This type of Squat is a great solution for athletes that struggle to Squat due to mobility problems or injury.
Landmine Squats add Flexibility into Strength Training Programs
Squatting heavy often is incredibly taxing. Recovery must be carefully planned in properly if it is to be effective.
LM Squats offer a lighter, less stressful variation that can augment and compliment regular heavy Front and Back Squats.
For example, most lifters can’t tolerate squatting heavy more than a few times a week. But two heavy Squat sessions could be interspaced with lighter work using the Landmine variation.
This can help to work the quads without destroying the lower back and knees.
Landmine Squats are Helpful for Taller Lifters
These Squats are great for tall lifters who may struggle staying vertical and hitting the quads with the traditional Back Squat.
Muscles Worked by the Landmine Squat
The Landmine Squat tests, challenges and improves the following muscles:
- Rectus Abdominus
- Scapular Stabilizers
Of these muscles, this Squat variation primarily targets the quads, upper back and glutes.
As with all Squats, it is also an excellent core exercise.
How to do the Landmine Squat
The first thing you must do is find the best way to attach the barbell into the landmine position.
Setting Up the Barbell
The Barbell can be placed in a landmine attachment, with the weights loaded on the opposite end of the bar.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a landmine attachment you can create a DIY version.
Place a bumper plate on the floor, rest the end of the barbell in the hole in the middle and fit a heavy dumbbell on top.
Another handy trick for your garage gym is to slice a tennis ball open and stick it on the end of the barbell. This will stop the metal sliding anywhere and also allows you to simply wedge the barbell into any convenient corner without damaging the barbell or your garage.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and establish a stable base
- Deadlift the weight up into the starting position. Both hands gripping the barbell and the end of the barbell at chest height
- Inhale and brace your core, grip and body
- Break at the hips and descend slowly
- Go lower than parallel at the bottom of the squat
- Pause for a second then explode upwards. Extend your knees and drive your hips forward
- Exhale at the top
- Reset the movement and repeat for the pre-determined number of reps
Landmine Squat Technique Tips
Try interlocking your fingers to create a stronger grip.
How Many Sets and Reps Should you Do?
This really depends on your personal goals.
- For strength, 5 x 5 is always an excellent starting point
- For hypertrophy (muscle growth) 8-12 reps over 3-4 sets is optimal
- For muscular endurance try 12-20 sets of 3-4 sets
These are meant as guidelines for you to adapt as you see fit.
Landmine Squat Alternatives
The Goblet Squat or any other kind of front loaded (anterior) Squat will serve as a effective LM Squat alternative.
Landmine Squat Variations
If you want to mix things up, try these Landmine Squat Variations:
- Landmine Split Squat (For a unilateral variation of the landmine squat, try performing the exercise in a split squat stance.)
- Landmine Box Squats
- Landmine Hack Squats (face away from the barbell and rest it on your shoulder)
- Landmine Split Stance Hack Squat
- Landmine Thruster
- Lumberjack Landmine Squats (start with the plates on a bench rather than the floor, see video below)
Try doing 10-20 reps of any of these after you’ve completed your heavier leg work and that will set your quads on fire.
If you need more answers, check out these FAQs.
Are Landmine Squats Harder?
No. This type of Squat has one end of the load resting on the ground. This means you aren’t shifting the same amount of weight. An 80kg Landmine Squat is less than an 80kg Back Squat.
Are Landmine Squats Better than Back Squats?
They do teach the Squat pattern and movement. However, they are not a complete substitution. If you can Back Squat you should, and you will get more benefit. When you understand the intricacies and benefits of the Landmine Squat then you can program it in effectively with your other exercises.
Landmine Squats are great for anyone with an injury that might otherwise prevent them from performing the full Front or Back Squat.
Will Landmine Squats Build Muscle?
Yes. This type of squat will build muscle when performed and programmed correctly.