Landmine Squat: How To, Form, Variations,…

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Squats can be done in many ways with many pieces of fitness equipment. Find you what landmine squats are and whether they are the right choice.

A landmine workout setup is a barbell anchored close to the ground on one side. You can then do exercises like landmine squats while holding the other end.

Landmine squats are mostly for beginners who want a back-friendly way to get used to the squat movement and individuals who want to train muscle power in their legs.

The main downside is that it is hard to get enough weight for leg muscle growth and strengthening to chest height and keep it there without fatiguing upper body muscles before your legs got a good workout.

One exception to this is if you have a landmine squat attachment and a landmine rack. In that case, you should be able to use landmine squats to grow and strengthen leg muscles.

If you like the more upright upper body position, holding the weight in front of you, and the lower back and shoulder comfort these offer, a safety squat bar can also be a good choice if you want to lift heavy.

Whether you should add landmine squats or alternatives to your routine ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do a landmine squat

As you can expect, you at least need a barbell, an anchor close to the ground, and enough weight plates to do this exercise.

Once you have these, take the following steps to do a landmine squat:

  1. Insert the barbell in the landmine anchor and put the desired amount of weight on the other end.
  2. Stand in front of the free barbell sleeve, put your two ends on it, and keep your spine straight.
  3. Raise the end of the landmine fast so that you can get it up to chest height. Move your feet to the squat position which means slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Slowly lower your upper body by folding your knees. Ideally, you would move your hips below knee height or lower. Keep your spine straight throughout this movement.
  5. Raise your body again in a controlled motion by stretching your legs. This gets you back into the position of step 3.

The main form attention points of landmine squats are keeping your spine straight and lowering your hips as far as you comfortably can.

Besides that, you can adjust your weight and speed of the walkthrough video for your training goals and what variations you want to do.

Landmine squats muscles worked

The main muscles used in landmine squats include your quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), calves, and lower back muscles.

Additionally, in the standard version where you hold the barbell at chest height with your hands, you also work your biceps, deltoids, and trapezius muscles to some extent.

The way you do landmine squats influences what way you work these muscles. By moving fast and using a somewhat lighter load (about 40% to 70% of 1RM) you can train muscle power.

Besides that, the main resistance training principles still apply. To grow and strengthen your leg muscles you still have to put them under enough pressure, do enough repetitions, and do enough sets.

As you get stronger from doing landmine squats, you will have to use more and more resistance to make this happen.

One downside of landmine squats is that it can be challenging to get enough weight up to chest height and keep it there long enough to train your leg muscles enough.

That being said, you still want to give your body enough rest and nutrients after your landmine squat workouts. These things are necessary to repair and grow the muscles you worked.

Landmine squats vs barbell back squats

Since it is such a popular exercise, many people wonder about the differences between landmine squats and back squats.

In terms of muscles worked, the differences come from the more upright body position of landmine squats.

This leads to slightly more focus on the quadriceps and less on the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back compared to back squats. Additionally, your upper body muscles have to work harder during landmine squats.

Another important difference is that it is easier to do barbell back squats with a lot of weight compared to the standard landmine squat. This may be needed to train the strong leg muscles.

You can resolve this somewhat with a landmine squat attachment and landmine rack but these are not ideal. A better idea if you like the more upright position but want to lift heavy is a safety squat bar.

Landmine squat benefits

This movement is not always ideal for growing and strengthening the leg muscles you work but there are still some valuable landmine squat benefits.

These include both relatively unique things and somewhat more standard positive effects of resistance training. Some of the most important benefits of landmine squats include:

  1. Powerful muscles: Landmine squats in combination with the right weight, reps, and sets can help you increase leg muscle power.
  2. Can help with losing weight: Landmine squats can help weight loss by increasing your energy usage during and after the workout. Building muscle mass does not always lead to losing weight but it does help.
  3. Can improve athletic performance: The leg muscles play an important role during running and other movements. Making them more powerful can lead to better performance in a variety of sports.
  4. Beginner-friendly squat: Because the barbell is anchored to the ground on one side, the landmine squat is relatively easy when it comes to balance. This can help beginners get used to the squat movement.
  5. Can improve mobility and flexibility: Landmine squats can help you push your boundaries in terms of mobility and flexibility. If you do this to a safe extent, this leads to a variety of other benefits.
  6. Back and shoulder comfort: By keeping your body more upright and holding the weight in front of you, the landmine version can be more comfortable on your back and shoulders than the back squat.
  7. Keeps things interesting: Switching up your workouts with different exercises and equipment can keep things interesting. In turn, these things can make your workouts more enjoyable and potentially improve consistency.

Landmine squats are not the only exercise that offers these benefits but they can still make you consider this movement.

Landmine squat alternatives

Due to personal preferences, training goals, available equipment, etc., you may be interested in landmine squat alternatives. A few examples include:

  • Other weighted squats
  • Hack squat machine
  • Leg presses
  • Step-ups
  • Lunges

Which of these alternatives you will prefer depends on details like why you don’t want to do landmine squats.

5 Landmine squat variations

The walkthrough at the start of the article is the most popular way of doing landmine squats. There are also a few variations with their own advantages and disadvantages.

1. Landmine squat press

In the landmine squat press, you add a landmine press to the squat movement. This can be good for training muscle power in your shoulders and triceps on top of training muscle power in your legs.

You can also use lower weights and do more of a slow and strict landmine press. However, in that case, there is not much use for the squat movement besides improving flexibility and mobility.

2. Landmine squat with attachment

There are a variety of landmine attachments that you can put on the free end of the barbell.

One of these is a steel construction with shoulder pads and weight plate sleeves to use more weight. This can help you do landmine squats for muscle growth and strength.

Something to keep in mind is that you still need to get that extra weight high enough. For this, you likely need a landmine stand which requires an extra investment on top of the price for the attachment.

3. Landmine squat anti-rotation

In the landmine squat anti-rotation, you swing the barbell from one side to the other at the bottom of the squat movement. Keep your body upright during the swings.

The movement of the barbell can be great for training your core muscles but you can also do this standing up.

Squatting down engages your leg muscles a bit extra but this is likely not worth it. Both in terms of risking suboptimal form and saving your leg muscles for effective exercises.

4. Reverse landmine squat

In reverse landmine squats you do the exercise with your back towards the anchor and barbell on your shoulder.

This is similar in the sense that the movement focuses more on your quadriceps than regular squats. On the other hand, you do get more core muscle engagement and engage one leg more than the other due to the uneven load.

If you don’t mind these things, it does become easier to keep the barbell up since it rests on your shoulders.

5. Sumo landmine squat

In sumo landmine squats you put your feet wide apart and pointed outward. Additionally, you keep the barbell low instead of bringing it up to chest height.

The different feet placement puts more focus on your outer thigh and inner thigh muscles.

By keeping the barbell low it becomes easier to use a lot of weight but the landmine squat does become harder for your grip, lower back (muscles), glutes, and hamstrings.

Potential risks

It is worth mentioning that some people will find landmine squats too uncomfortable on their knees and back.

If you are weak or sensitive in these areas, it can be smart to start with other movements besides landmine squats first.

Something else to note is that you don’t have to start with the heaviest weights in the gym. Starting with light landmine squats and building up from there is often smart.

This allows you to watch out for any signs of overtraining in a somewhat safer way.

After one of these light landmine squat sessions, you may conclude the exercise is not for you (yet) or that your workout routine can use some improvements.


Landmine squats can be a good addition to your workout routine if you are interested in training muscle power in this somewhat unique upward position.

This exercise can also be helpful for getting used to the squat movement in a way that does not require a lot of balance.

On the flip side, you want to keep in mind that it can be challenging to get enough resistance up to chest height and keep it there during the landmine squat.

This makes this exercise less effective for growing and strengthening the main muscles involved.

One exception to this is if you have a landmine squat attachment and a landmine stand. These make landmine squats easier to do for muscle growth and strength.

Besides that, you want to keep in mind that personal preferences matter too. If you like doing landmine squats, you may find it easier to do them consistently.

If not, the alternatives mentioned and other exercises can offer many benefits too.

Lastly, no matter what resistance exercises you do, make sure you rest and eat enough so that your body can recover and become stronger.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.