Landmines are typically known for their leg and core movements. However, there are effective landmine back exercises for a variety of muscles too.
In some of these, the unique trajectory of a landmine setup offers benefits. In others, your equipment choice is a case of personal preference.
Lastly, there are exercises where you would preferably use other equipment but a landmine can help you out if you don’t have dumbbells available.
1. Bent-over landmine V-bar row
To do this first exercise, you need a double-D grip handle. This can be a specific handle made for the landmine setup but the same handle for the cable machine could be strong enough too.
Once you have the right gear, take the following steps to do a bent-over landmine V-bar row:
- Set up the landmine with the desired number of weight plates. Put the double-D handle on the barbell sleeve or if it is a cable handle, right before the sleeve.
- Stand over the landmine with the barbell between your legs and your feet at about shoulder width. Put your hands on the handles.
- Raise the bar of the ground with a straight spine. You want to be as bent-over as possible with the weight plates of the ground. Let your shoulder blades hang down for now.
- Slowly move your hands toward your body as far as comfortable by moving your shoulder blades back and folding your arms.
- Lower your hands back into the position of step 3 in a controlled motion.
Similar to regular bent-over rows, this landmine V-bar row mainly works back muscles like your latissimus dorsi and middle trapezius and arm muscles like your biceps and forearm grip muscles.
Besides that, you get some lower back, glute, and hamstring engagement to keep your body in position but you should not really expect any muscle growth from this.
Compared to a regular barbell bent-over row, the landmine version will require a bit less stabilizing because you are anchored to the ground through the bar.
This can allow you to focus more on your back workout and be more beginner-friendly.
2. Regular landmine deadlift
Take the following steps to do a regular landmine deadlift:
- Put the desired amount of weight on the landmine setup and stand right in front of the barbell sleeve with your face toward the anchor. Hold the end of the barbell sleeve with your hands or use a handle if preferred.
- Raise the barbell sleeve by stretching your legs and tilting your upper body back in one motion until you stand up straight. Keep your spine straight and shoulder blades somewhat back throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower your hands by tilting your upper body forward and folding your legs.
Deadlifts mainly work your glutes and hamstrings but your lower back and upper back muscles have to work a decent amount to keep your spine straight and shoulder blades back.
This exercise is an example where the landmine is generally not the best equipment choice to work your back muscles.
The landmine deadlift generally focuses a bit more on your quadriceps and less on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings and is more awkward to do with a lot of weight due to the “handle” (aka barbell sleeve).
That being said, if you really like the feeling of the landmine version or you are more of a resistance training beginner who can use the extra grip engagement, you could still consider this variation.
3. Bent-over single-arm landmine row
There are single-hand landmine handles that you can use for this next exercise. At the same time, the barbell should offer enough of a grip too. Take the following steps to do a bent-over single-arm landmine row:
- Set up the landmine with the desired number of weight plates. Stand beside the end of the barbell with your back toward the anchor. Put one hand on either the barbell sleeve or right in front of it.
- Raise the barbell sleeve off the ground while keeping your upper body tilted forward as much as comfortably possible without the weight plates touching the ground. Keep your spine straight and let your shoulder blade hang down for now.
- Pull the landmine toward your body as far as comfortable by moving your shoulder blade back and folding your arm.
- Lower the barbell again into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions with your other side.
In terms of the back and other muscles you work, this single-arm landmine row is similar to the V-bar row.
However, by working one side at a time, you avoid using the muscles on one side more than the other. This can help you avoid or resolve muscle imbalances.
The downside of this is that you have to exercise for longer to get a full back workout.
One-arm bent-over rows are typically done with dumbbells. A landmine setup is easier to load heavily but can also be a bit more awkward to use.
4. Bent-over landmine shrug
To do this next landmine exercise for your back muscles you can use handles, just your hands, or lifting straps. Once you made your choice, take the following steps to do a bent-over landmine shrug:
- Load the landmine with weight plates, put on any handle you want to use, and stand over the barbell with your feet at about shoulder width and hands on the sleeve/handle.
- Raise the weight plates off the ground while keeping your upper body tilted forward as far as comfortable and your spine straight. Really let your shoulder blades hang down.
- Pull your shoulder blades back as far as comfortable in a controlled motion.
- Lower your shoulder blades again to the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.
The bent-over landmine shrug may not look the most impressive but it is a great exercise choice if you really want to focus on the middle part of your trapezius muscles.
Your erector spinae lower back muscles will also have to work to a small extent to keep your spine straight.
Most people will prefer doing this exercise seated with a cable machine or chest-supported with dumbbells on a weight bench but you can consider the landmine version due to personal preferences and the equipment available.
5. T bar row
The T bar row gets its name from the specific landmine handle you use. Once you have this, take the following steps to do a T bar row:
- Set up the landmine with weight plates, put on the T bar row handle, and stand over the barbell with your back toward the anchor and hands on the handle. Some gyms have elevated platforms for your feet to go through a bigger range of motion.
- Lift the weight plates off the ground but keep your upper body tilted forward as far as comfortable with a straight spine. Let your shoulder blades hang down.
- Raise your hands as far as comfortable in a controlled motion by moving your shoulder blades back and folding your arms. To work your back muscles you want to keep your upper arms relatively close to your upper body.
- Slowly lower the handle back into the position of step 2.
If you have the T bar handle available, this exercise is one of the best ways to work your latissimus dorsi and trapezius back muscles (and biceps) with a landmine setup.
Because of the shape of the T bar handle, you can really raise your hands a lot and go through a large range of motion under tension. This is generally beneficial for muscle growth and strength progress.
The main downside is that you really need the T bar handle and preferably the feet elevation platforms to get the most out of this movement.
6. Weight bench supported single-arm landmine row
As the name implies, this next exercise requires you to have a flat weight bench on top of a landmine setup.
Once you have these things, take the following steps to do a weight bench supported single-arm landmine row:
- Put the weight plates on the barbell and a weight bench beside the sleeve. Lean on the weight bench with the hand and knee farthest away from the landmine. Your other hand is free and your other leg rests on the ground.
- Reach down to grab the end of the landmine. Raise it and get in a position where your shoulders are horizontal, the shoulder blade with the barbell hangs down, and your spine is more or less straight.
- Raise the hand with the landmine as far as comfortable in a controlled motion by moving your shoulder blade back and folding your arm.
- Slowly lower the hand again to the position of step 2.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side.
The effects of the weight bench supported version are mostly similar to the bent-over single-arm landmine row.
However, by supporting yourself with the weight bench, your lower back and oblique muscles have to work to a smaller extent. This could help you focus on really working your back muscles with this landmine exercise.
The main downsides are that the bench-supported version requires more equipment, a bit more setup time, and potentially a somewhat more awkward movement.
7. One-legged Romanian landmine deadlift
Take the following steps to do a one-legged Romanian landmine deadlift:
- Set up the landmine with the desired weight. Stand right next to the end of the barbell sleeve with one side toward the anchor. Reach down to hold the barbell with one hand.
- Raise the barbell sleeve until you stand up straight. Keep your spine straight throughout this movement and the rest of the exercise.
- Lift the leg closest to the landmine anchor off the ground. The knee of your other leg should be slightly bent.
- Slowly tilt your upper body forward as far as comfortable or until the weight plates just don’t touch the ground while keeping your spine straight. Change the position of the leg in the air as needed to keep your balance. Keep your shoulder blade somewhat back.
- Return your body to the position in step 3 in a controlled motion.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side.
The first thing to note about this movement is that it is more of a landmine leg exercise than a back exercise. Your glutes, hamstrings, and forearm grip muscles will be the main targets.
At the same time, the one-legged Romanian landmine deadlift still works your lower back and upper back muscles a decent amount. They are responsible for keeping your spine straight and your shoulder blade back.
That being said, if you are interested in these secondary muscle engagement effects, you should likely do the two-legged barbell version since this allows you to put the lower back muscles under more pressure.
Do landmines work your back?
Landmines do not always work your back but there are definitely a few exercises that allow you to get in a good back workout.
How do you use a landmine for your back?
You can use a landmine for your back by doing row, deadlift, and shrug variations.
Are landmine deadlifts effective?
Compared to the regular barbell version, landmine deadlifts are generally not as effective. This is mainly due to the extra grip engagement and potentially due to the lack of barbell sleeve space to lift heavy.