Typically, barbells travel in two directions: up and down. But using a landmine—a hefty base on the ground with a sleeve to fit the end of a barbell—the heavy metal can move in more directions. “A landmine is more complex, allowing the barbell to move rotationally and around a person,” says Ryan Hopkins, founder of Soho Strength Lab in New York City. The base offers stability, streamlining movement patterns and allowing for safer high-intensity training.
So Hopkins invited us to his gym to show us how familiar moves can be done using a landmine to make them more dynamic. The first time, start with an empty bar—it already weighs 45 pounds. As you get more comfortable, increase the weight in increments of five to 10 pounds.
Pick 5 moves and do 10 to 12 reps of each, catching your breath between sets. Rest 1 or 2 minutes, and repeat twice. Can be done for time, performing each of 5 moves for 1 minute. Do twice a week, changing up moves.
Expert Tip: Stabilize the Shoulder Blade
Trainers are cautious when it comes to overhead shoulder exercise. That’s because moves like the overhead press are high risk for injury. But avoiding them erodes the shoulder’s biomechanics in terms of strength and neuromuscular performance—the joint’s ability to move in safe patterns when asked to—according to research in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. The landmine is the answer, since the platform provides some assistance. For every workout, include the snatch (3), standing reach (4), or bilateral overhead press (7). Start conservatively on the weight; when you can perform 3 rounds of 15 reps with ease, begin adding pounds.
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