One of the many ways to do the classic squat exercise is the landmine squat. Find out what muscles this variation mainly works.
The main muscles landmine squats work are your quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), and calves.
If you do the more standard variation where you hold the end of the landmine barbell in your hands you also work your biceps (front upper arm), deltoids (shoulder), and trapezius (upper back/shoulders) a lot.
You potentially work these upper body muscles to a larger extent than the leg muscles above due to the strength differences.
On top of the muscles above, landmine squats also work your lower back, hip abductors (outer thigh muscles), and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) a decent amount.
Besides the different upper body muscle engagement, landmine squats tend to focus more on your quadriceps and less on your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back than barbell back squats.
Keep in mind that engaging your leg muscles enough is important to actually grow and strengthen them.
If your upper body muscles fatigue first, you may need to consider investing in a landmine squat attachment and landmine stand to see significant leg muscle growth and strength progress with this exercise.
Landmine squats muscles worked
An important aspect of landmine squats is that you can do them with or without a specific attachment.
The main muscles worked in landmine squats with a specific attachment and landmine stand are your quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), and calves.
Your lower back muscles, hip abductors (outer thigh muscles), and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) have to work to some extent too.
There is also the landmine squat variation without attachment where you hold one end of the barbell in front of your chest.
On top of the muscles above, this type of landmine squat also works your biceps (front upper arm), deltoids (shoulder), and trapezius (upper back/shoulders) a lot.
Since these upper body muscles are a lot weaker than your leg muscles, they could fatigue too fast or just not be strong enough to get enough weight up to chest height.
Lastly, you can also do a variation like a landmine squat press where you add a shoulder press after the squat movement. This will work your deltoids, triceps (back upper arm), and trapezius muscles a lot more.
Do landmine squats build muscle?
To build muscles you have to pressure them with enough resistance, repetitions, and sets.
These details are important for landmine squats because they help you understand that it is possible to grow and strengthen different muscles with the same exercise.
Before explaining this more, you want to do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 landmine squats with a weight where these numbers are challenging to build muscle.
Now, most people are interested in landmine squats because they want to grow and strengthen the leg muscles involved.
However, these are relatively strong muscles that need a lot of resistance. Likely up to the point where the upper body muscles you use are not strong enough to hold this much weight for long enough.
In turn, landmine squats may even become more of an upper-body exercise in your situation (if you don’t use an attachment).
In short, one of the benefits of landmine squats is that they can help you build muscle if you use the right weight, repetitions, sets, nutrition, and rest periods.
What muscles you will actually grow depends on a variety of details.
How heavy should the weight of a landmine squat be?
As briefly mentioned, to build muscle, the weight of a landmine squat should be so heavy that you can only complete 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 repetitions.
How many pounds or kilograms this comes down to depends on your current strength level. As you get stronger, you will have to increase the weight to keep making a lot of progress.
You can expect the most muscle growth in the muscles that fatigue first under this load.
On the other hand, you can also do landmine squats to improve muscle endurance. For this goal, the weight guidelines are less precise.
You want to use something lighter so that you can do more reps and sets than the ranges above.
Why are landmine squats so hard?
After giving this exercise a try you may notice that it can be very challenging. Not always in the right areas.
The main reason why regular landmine squats are so hard is that the upper body muscles that have to hold the weight are a lot weaker than the strong leg muscles you are trying to work.
Additionally, getting and keeping this weight up to chest height can be awkward in terms of balance and coordination.
For these reasons, many people prefer one of the landmine squat alternatives.
Muscles worked landmine squat vs back squat
Most people are also interested in the comparison between landmine squats vs barbell back squats. The barbell back squat is the most popular type of weighted squat.
From a high-level view, these exercises work the same quadricep, glute, hamstring, calf, and lower back muscles. However, the ratio you work these muscles changes due to the different locations of the weights.
More specifically, landmine squats will focus a bit more on your quadriceps and less on your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.
This is not necessarily better or worse for everyone. What muscles you want to work on the most depends on things like your training goals, personal situation, and preferences.
Muscles worked landmine squat vs front squat
Front squats are another squat variation where you put the barbell on the front parts of your shoulders.
This weight placement makes the exercise focus more on the quadriceps and less on the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back than regular back squats.
However, how landmine squats and front squats compare in terms of leg muscle engagement is hard to predict. This likely also depends on exactly how you do each exercise.
One thing you can say is that front squats will likely be more effective for muscle growth than landmine squats.
This is because it is a lot more challenging to use enough weight for optimal leg muscle growth in landmine squats.
Are landmine squats quad-dominant?
Yes, landmine squats are even more quad-dominant than back squats due to the location of the weights and the fact that you can lean forward.
Are landmine squats good for your glutes?
No, landmine squats are not good for your glutes and hamstrings. Even less so than regular back squats.