How to Build Strong Legs and Muscle Mass with the Landmine Squat

This complete guide to the Landmine Squat will teach you everything you need to know about this underutilised and tremendously effective exercise

What is a Landmine Squat?

The Landmine Squat is an anterior loaded squat where one end of the weight is attached to the floor through the barbell or landmine attachment.

They are a great introduction to moving beyond the Air Squat for beginner athletes. Alternatively, for intermediate and elite athletes, the arc of the bar path creates a completely new Squatting stimulus for the body.

What are the Benefits of the Landmine Squat?

There are numerous benefits to this helpful movement.

They Teach Proper Squat Form

Having the load supported out in front of the body forces the torso of the lifter into a vertical position. This establishes better Squat form in general.   

Gentler on the Joints

The Landmine Squat is not as taxing for the joints as a heavily loaded Front or Back Squat.

As a consequence, it can be an effective way to train around an injury or use during a deload week.

A Unique Bar Path

One end of the barbell is either fixed into the landmine attachment or the floor.

This means that the bar path itself is an arc. This creates a unique new stimulus for the body that cannot be replicated by any other type of Squat.

Variety will challenge, test and improve your body and fitness.

A Good Way to Enhance Mobility

No athlete will Landmine Squat as much as they can Back Squat. That is not the point.

The lower weights that are used allow you to concentrate on augmenting other aspects of your fitness such as lower body mobility. This variation will lend itself well to enhancing your hip, knee and ankle mobility.

Target the Quads

The arc of the weight forces the lifter to sit back and down as they move through the full range of motion.

This will place the quads under a lot of tension and help build strength and muscle.

Build strong quads ©Meghan Holmes

A Stepping Stone to a Great Front Squat

The Landmine Squat is a helpful way to build the necessary mobility, strength and confidence to progress towards heavier and more technically sound Front Squats.

Great for Taller Lifters

There is no doubt that Squatting is often easier for smaller lifters because the range of motion is shorter.

This variation will help teach taller lifters how to stay upright during the Squat movement.

Increase Squat Volume in Your Programming

Squatting heavy with Front or Back Squats takes its toll on any athlete and requires a decent amount of recovery time.

With lighter weights, the Landmine variation can be a useful tool to add squatting into another session, keep the legs moving and offer a variety of stimuli for the lower body.

What Muscles Does the Landmine Squat Work?

The exercise works the following muscle groups:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Obliques
  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Scapular Stabilizers
  • Trapezius
  • Deltoids
Woman doing pistol and landmine squat
Strong and athletic ©RX’d Photography

How to do the Landmine Squat

These instructions start from the point where the barbell is attached to an attachment, or fixed in place by another method. See below for how to set up the equipment in either of these methods.

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Deadlift the weight up to your waist
  • Press the weight up into the front rack position. Use both hands to hold the barbell at chest height
  • Inhale and brace your core, grip and glutes
  • Break at the hips and bend your knees
  • Squat down until you break parallel
  • Pause at the bottom
  • Push the ground away from you and drive through your heels. Explode upwards
  • Return to the full standing position. Exhale
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Landmine Squat Technique Tips

Interlock your fingers for a stronger grip.

Don’t let your knees cave inwards at any point.

How to Set Up the Equipment for the Landmine Squat

You can perform the Landmine Squat with the barbell in a specific landmine attachment or by creating a DIY version.

Lifting with the Landmine Attachment

Simply slot one end of the barbell into the attachment and you are good to go.

How to Create a DIY Landmine Attachment

Man setting up barbell equipment
Setting up the exercise ©Victor Freitas

Option 1

  • Place a bumper plate on the floor
  • Rest the end of the barbell in the hole
  • Place a second bumper plate over the barbell to secure it place
  • Perform the exercise

Option 2

Wedge one end of the barbell into the corner of the gym.

Cover with a cloth, if necessary, in order to protect the corner and the barbell.

Option 3

  • Cut a slit in a tennis ball
  • Affix the tennis ball to the end of the barbell
  • Perform the exercise from wherever you like

How Many Sets and Reps Should I Do?

That all depends on your goals.

To Build Muscle

Go for 3 – 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps. Rest for 30 – 45 seconds between each set and no longer.

With the weights, you should be close to fatigue at the end of each set.

To Develop Strength

Aim for 3 – 5 sets of 3 – 6 reps. Rest for up to 5 minutes between sets.

Use heavier weights than you would for hypertrophy training. They should be doable but highly challenging.

Landmine Squat Alternatives

If you want to achieve a similar stimulus to the Landmine Squat but need a different exercise then try these variations:

  • Goblet Squat
  • Front Squat with Barbell
  • Front Squat with Dumbbells
  • Front Squat with Kettlebells in the front rack position

Landmine Squat Variations

These variations will still offer the arcing bar path and spectrum of benefits in new ways. It is always a good idea to keep your body guessing and challenge it.

  • Landmine Box Squats
  • Landmine Hack Squats (face away from the barbell and rest it on your shoulder)
  • Landmine Split Stance Hack Squat
  • Landmine Split Squat (For a unilateral variation of the landmine squat, try performing the exercise in a split squat stance.)
  • Landmine Thruster
  • Lumberjack Landmine Squats (start with the plates on a bench rather than the floor)

FAQs

Got more questions? We have you covered.

Are Landmine Squats Harder?

No, the exercise is not harder than the traditional Front or Back Squat.

Having one end of the weight on the floor changes the bar path and makes the weight easier to squat as it does not need to be completely stabilised and supported.

Are Landmine Squats Better than Back Squats?

No, they are different.

It is difficult for making a convincing case that there are any other types of squat that are better than the correctly performed Back Squat.

Landmine Squats are highly effective in their own way. They teach good squat patterns and are a helpful alternative for anyone that cannot complete other squats due to injury of mobility issues.

Will Landmine Squats Build Muscle?

Yes, absolutely.

Programmed effectively, this type of Squat will build muscle mass. If you want bigger, stronger quads and a more muscular body then add this exercise into your hypertrophy training.

Learn More

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