The conventional deadlift is truly a great and effective exercise. It’s a great tool to increase your overall strength, build muscle, and to target and develop your posterior chain muscles. But the lift isn’t suitable for everybody. It can be quite a difficult movement to master for beginners. And it can be problematic for people with lower back issues.
The landmine deadlift is a great alternative for both. It’s great for people who have back problems and want to avoid overstressing their spine. Because it has a much more upright starting position, and it overall stresses the back and spine less than the conventional barbell version.
And for beginners, because it’s a really simplified exercise (compared to the conventional barbell version), and there isn’t much room for mistakes there. And that’s why the exercise is a good tool for any novice or beginner to learn to deadlift and to learn the crucial hip hinge movement
Muscles worked by the landmine deadlift
The landmine deadlift is a compound exercise that more or less trains every major muscle group in your body. The main effort in this effort will go on your posterior chain muscles (all the muscles on your backside).
The three primary muscle groups that are targeted here (and do most of the work during the lift) are your glutes, hamstrings, and your lower back (spinal erectors). The glutes are primarily used to extend your hips. The hamstrings play a big role in assisting your glutes to extend your hips, and they also help you stabilize your legs and the knee joints by countering the force your quads generate while extending your legs. Your spinal erectors help work on extending your back, and they keep your back fixed for the entire lift.
Primary muscles worked:
- Spinal erectors
Secondary muscles worked:
Benefits of the landmine deadlift
Benefits compared to the conventional deadlift
It’s a safer option. Compared to the barbell version, it’s a much safer variation, and it’s quite a simple lift, to be honest. In the landmine variation, the bar has a fixed path of movement. Because of the predefined motion, the weight will always follow the same path. You can’t really move from side to side with it, nor backward or forwards. So it’s much harder to “screw” this exercise up or to hurt yourself while doing it. That makes it a much better and safer option for beginners.
It’s better for your spine. This exercise is also a lot better for your spine and your lower back in general. In the landmine deadlift, you start off in a more upright position. Which means it places much less stress on your lower back and your spine. That makes it a good alternative for anyone who has or has had any lower back issues or injuries.
You can train at a higher volume. Because of the two previous points and the fact that its a really simple lift, the exercise will let you train with a lot more volume without you having to worry about over stressing your spine or making any “serious” technical mistakes that could injure you. So, it’s a great tool to use for muscle hypertrophy, overloading your muscles, and as an accessory lift to the conventional version.
It’s great for teaching hip hinge. This exercise is an excellent tool to both learn the proper hip hinge movement and to improve it. It’s an easy and safe exercise that really focuses on the hip hinge mechanics. It makes it an especially good exercise for beginners and a great lift to use and learn before progressing to the barbell variation.
It’s a compound exercise. Just like the conventional deadlift, it’s a compound exercise that basically trains your whole body. The exercise trains multiple of your muscle groups either directly or indirectly, at the same time and on different levels.
It trains your posterior chain. The main effort of this lift will go on your posterior chain. Your posterior chain is all the muscles that are on your backside, like your glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles.
It will help you improve your posture. The main cause of bad posture is weak or underdeveloped muscles in the posterior chain. Thanks to it being such a great posterior chain trainer, it will do wonders for your posture.
It increases your pulling strength. It’s a rather heavy pulling movement that can be performed using high volumes. That makes it a great lift to increase your pulling strength. Increasing your pulling strength will help you improve your deadlift and any other “pull” exercise like the clean and snatch, for example.
How to do the landmine deadlift
Step-by-step exercise guide
- Start off by taking a barbell and either placing one end of it into a specific landmine plate/ or socket or by placing the end of the bar in a corner. If you use a corner, then make sure the barbell is safely fixed there and won’t shift out of there. You can also put a weightlifting plate on the ground and place the end of the barbell in the center of it. When you do this, then keep in mind that this isn’t the safest option because the bar can easily slide out of it. Also, if you are using an extra plate for this, make sure it’s a heavy one!
- Next, load the other end of the barbell’s sleeve with plates. When adding weight, make sure you leave enough room at the end of the sleeve so you could grip it.
- Now stand in front of the loaded side of the barbell. The sleeve of the bar has to be between your feet. Ideally, when you grip it, your hands should be parallel to or lined up with your legs.
- Assume a shoulder-width stance whit your toes pointed slightly outwards.
- Next, grasp the collar of the bar. Start by sitting back. To do so, push your hips back and hinge your upper body forward at the same time while bending a little at your knees until you can reach the bar.
- Grasp the sleeve of the barbell with interlaced fingers.
- Brace and engage your core muscles and maintain it throughout the lift.
- Engage your upper back and lats. To do so, roll your shoulders back a little.
- Make sure your lower back is flat and straight, and your neck/ head is in a neutral position. Keep them like that for the entire lift. That will ensure you are keeping your whole spine neutral and won’t be placing too much pressure on it.
- Next, start lifting the weight up. Drive through your feet, just like you would be pushing the floor away from you, and extend your hips.
- Completly stand up with the weight. At the top, flex your glutes.
- Hold this position for a second and then slowly and in a controlled manner, lower the weight back down by pushing your hips back and sitting back.
- Repeat this movement for your desired repetitions.
Tips and recommendations
- Make sure the barbell is fixed. Before you even start the lift make sure the barbell is fixed tightly and won’t move too much. It is especially important if you are placing the barbell in a corner. You can badly hurt yourself if the bar shifts out of the corner while performing the exercise.
- Start off with less weight and progress from there. When you are trying this lift for the first time, start with a lighter weight. That will allow you to get used to the exercise and learn the right technique. Also, it will give you a chance to try out different leg positions to find the one that suits you best.
- Leave enough room to grip the weight. Make sure you leave enough free space at the end of the bar’s sleeve so you could grasp it with both of your hands.
- If you want to lift more weight, you can saddle the barbell. If you want to load the barbell with more weight, you might need to saddle the barbell to grasp it from the bar itself. This way you can fully load the sleeve with plates. If you mount or saddle the barbell, then you should grip it just before the sleeve.
- Keep your core tight throughout the exercise. Keep your abs and your midsection in general tight and engages throughout the lift. It will help you maintain proper form, it will help decrease the stress on your spine, and it will help you avoid injuring yourself.
- Keep your spine neutral. For the entire exercise, your spine should always be in a neutral position. To keep it neutral you have to keep your back flat and your head/ neck in a neutral position (you can’t forcefully look up nor down). It will help you lessen the stress on your spine and avoid any possible injuries.
- Push through your feet when lifting the weight up. When lifting the weight up, push through your feet, and especially your heels. Imagine that you are pushing the floor away from you. It will help you utilize your legs more in the lift.
Just like there are many different types of deadlifts, there are many different variations of the landmine deadlift. Almost all of the major DL variations can be performed by using the landmine method. Below we will talk about a few more popular versions and variations of this lift.
landmine Single-leg deadlift
The single-legged landmine variation of the Romanian deadlift is another great posterior chain exercise. This exercise is a little bit more advanced and definitely a more challenging version of the original. What makes this lift even better are the facts that it’s a unilateral exercise and that it adds a balance element to the lift.
Because it’s a unilateral exercise, it will allow you to target both of your sides at a time. It can be a really helpful tool to fight muscle and strength imbalances.
Also, because you have to balance on a single leg while performing this exercise, it will add a rather nice balancing factor to it. That means it will force your stabilizer muscles and your core, in general, to work much harder and hence train it more. Also, your other muscles have to be more engaged and work harder to help you keep your body straight and not fall over.
How to do:
- Start by setting up the landmine setup just like you would normally.
- Next, stand perpendicular to the bar. That means you stand in front of the loaded end of the bar with your side facing it.
- The leg that is next to the bar will be your “moving leg”
- Now squat down, and grasp the bar from its sleeve with the arm that is next to the bar.
- Bring the bar up.
- Brace your core muscles.
- Push a little into the barbell with your arms. It will help you engage your lats and upper back more.
- Shift your weight onto the “non-moving leg”. Hinge your upper body forward from your hips while simultaneously extending your other leg behind you and lifting it up.
- Go down until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or until you are parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a second, then push through the floor, extend your hip and return to your starting position.
Landmine Romanian deadlift
The landmine Romanian deadlift is very similar to the normal one. The biggest difference is that this lift is done with nearly stiff legs. It focuses very heavily on your posterior chain whit the main effort going on your glute and hamstring muscles.
How to do:
- Just like in any landmine exercise, start by setting up your barbell.
- After that, stand in front of the loaded end with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Sit back and grasp the sleeve of the barbell with interlocking fingers. Then lift the weight up just like you would in the normal landmine deadlift.
- Now when you’re in an upright position, the real RDL starts.
- Engage your entire core. Then engage your lats and your upper back.
- While keeping your back straight and flat, start pushing your hips back and hinging your upper body forward. At the same time, bend your knees slightly (your legs should be almost straight).
- Keep lowering your upper body and the weight until you are nearly parallel to the ground or until you feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings.
- Hold for a second and then push your hips forward- extend them and return to the starting position.
Landmine sumo deadlift
As we talked about the landmine deadlift is a super simple lift, and compared to the barbell variation, it places much less pressure on your spine. Now, the sumo version of this exercise takes it even further. In this exercise, you are using a wider than shoulders stance called the “sumo stance”. Thanks to the wide stance you are going to be in an even more upright position. That means it places even less stress on your lower back and your spine, which makes it an even safer exercise to do.
How to do:
- Set your barbell up for the landmine deadlift and load it with weight.
- Stand in front of the loaded end of the bar with the barbell end between your legs. Take a stance that is wider than your shoulders (the sumo stance).
- Point your toes outwards (30-45 degrees). And make sure your knees are facing the same direction as your toes.
- Sit your hips back and grasp the sleeve of the barbell.
- Engage your abs and back muscles.
- Keep your spine neutral (your back flat and your head in a neutral position).
- Drive through your feet, extend your hips and lift the weight up.
Other landmine deadlift variations and modifications
A good way to make the landmine deadlift a little bit more challenging is to implement resistance bands to it. They are a really simple (and cheap) way to increase the load of the exercise (take into account that the sleeve of the barbell can fit a limited number of plates). Just take a resistance band matching your needs and place your feet through one of the ends and the barbell through the other.
Another way to spruce things up is to do iron grip landmine deadlifts. Iron grip refers to weight lifting plates that have holes in them, that are made for gripping the weight. The “iron grip” method doesn’t rely on your grip strength as much as the normal version where you grasp the barbell from its sleeve. That will allow you to use more weight and hold on to it in a more natural way. Also, it will place you in an even more upright position since the starting point of your lift is higher.
To perform this lift, you can use different gripping tools, bars, and handles to help you hold the weight and to target different muscle groups. For example, you can use a triceps pulldown handle or a seated row handle to grip the bar. Just place the handle below the barbell, near its sleeve, and grip it. There are also different specific tools and handles that are made for the landmine deadlift.
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