Doing landmine rotations can be useful but they are not for everyone. Find out what alternatives to this movement offer similar benefits.
Landmine rotations, aka landmine oblique twists, mainly work the oblique muscles responsible for rotations. Additionally, you engage other oblique muscles, your abs, and shoulder muscles to some extent.
In turn, this means that landmine rotations can help you build muscle mass, burn calories, prevent back pain, and offer other typical exercise benefits.
Whether you don’t enjoy doing landmine rotations, you don’t have a landmine setup available, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these landmine rotation substitutes can offer you some or all of the same benefits.
1. Wood chop exercise
For the wood chop exercise, you will need some type of suited resistance. A dumbbell or other free weights like a kettlebell, sandbags, medicine ball, etc. are great.
You can definitely also use resistance bands at home or a cable machine in the (home) gym. Take the following steps to do a wood chop with a dumbbell:
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your arms with the dumbbell in your arms hang down for now.
- Bring up the dumbbell to one side while keeping your arms slightly less than stretched. If needed you can turn your hips too. For this, you will likely need to lift the heel of one foot off the ground.
- Swing the dumbbell down and to the other side, again keeping your arms slightly less than stretched. Make sure you can still control the weight at the bottom of the movement. Again you can twist your hips if needed.
Make sure you don’t twist too far and keep your back straight to avoid any injuries. Especially if you have a sensitive back you want to turn your hips to avoid twisting your spine too far.
When you first give the wood chop exercise a try, swing slowly to see where you are at in terms of being able to control the movement. After that, you can gradually increase the intensity of the exercise in safe steps.
Wood chops are a great alternative to landmine rotations with dumbbells or other free weights. They both focus on your rotation oblique muscles.
2. Medicine ball rotational throws
As the name of this next landmine oblique twist alternative implies, you need a medicine ball and enough room or a sturdy wall to do the exercise.
Once you have these, take the following steps to do a medicine ball rotational throw:
- Stand up straight with one side towards the direction you want to throw to. Put your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball in your two hands.
- Slowly move the medicine ball away from the direction you want to throw it to. Rotate your upper body and hips slightly to that side.
- Throw the medicine ball by rotating your hips and upper body in an explosive motion. Make sure you don’t rotate your upper body too far. If you want to throw the medicine ball against a wall and catch it, you likely want to throw it a bit upward. If not, you can throw it at your preferred height.
The arm movement of medicine ball rotational throws is different from landmine rotations but your core muscles go through more or less the same motion.
This makes it so medicine ball rotational throws are a great landmine rotation alternative for training your rotational oblique muscles in an explosive way.
3. Pallof presses
For Pallof presses, you either need a cable machine or resistance bands with a suited anchor. Take the following steps to do a Pallof press with a resistance band:
- Loop the resistance band through the anchor at about chest height. Hold the other end of the band between your hands and stand with one side toward the anchor.
- Step away from the anchor until you reach the desired tension.
- Slowly move your hands forward as far as you can without twisting your upper body.
- Hold that position for a few seconds.
- Return your hands back to the position of step two.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions with your other side while extending your arms about as much to avoid muscle imbalance.
Try to give each side about the same training (distance away from the anchor, seconds of holding, number of repetitions) to avoid muscle imbalances.
If you only have a few resistance bands and the ones you have are too hard, you can also do kneeling Pallof presses. These are generally easier than the standing version with the same resistance.
Pallof presses work your rotational oblique muscles in a more static, isometric way. Generally, the more dynamic landmine rotation alternatives will be more effective for muscle growth and strength progress.
That being said, Pallof presses can still be a great substitute for landmine rotations. One benefit of this exercise is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it.
4. Russian twists
The Russian twist engages the same oblique muscles as landmine rotations. On top of that Russian twists also engage your abs a nice amount.
Take the following steps to do two Russian twist repetitions:
- You start sitting down on the ground with your legs bent at the knees and your feet hovering above the ground. Make sure your back is straight and at about a 45-degree angle with the ground.
- Slightly twist your upper body to one side and then to the other.
- Return to starting position.
Make sure you don’t twist too far and keep your back straight to avoid any injuries. Even with the right technique Russian twists are not for everyone.
To make this landmine rotation alternative weighted you can use oblique workout equipment like dumbbells, a weight plate, a medicine ball, any compact and heavy objects you can find at home, etc. to make them more challenging.
Additionally, something like a yoga mat or other soft surfaces can make Russian twists a lot more comfortable.
5. Renegade rows
Take the following steps to do a renegade row with dumbbells:
- Place the dumbbells on the ground at about shoulder width and the grips at horizontal lines with each other.
- Get into the position where your face is facing the floor with your hands on the dumbbell grips. Your arms are stretched and your knees are on the ground.
- Move your feet back until your body is in a straight line. If you notice you need more stability during the exercise you can put your feet slightly more apart.
- Raise one dumbbell upward until it is at the height of your upper body. Keep your elbow close to your body and mainly use your back muscles for this movement.
- Lower the dumbbell back into the position of step 3 and raise the dumbbell on the other side in the same way.
Renegade rows are typically done to strengthen upper back muscles so at first, this may not sound like a great landmine rotation alternative.
However, you also work your rotational oblique muscles in a static way during renegade rows to keep your body in a straight line.
The upper back training can distract you from training your oblique muscles as much as possible. However, if you don’t mind this, you can work multiple muscles at the same time.